Between Traditionalism And Modernity: Changing Values on Dating Behavior and Mate Selection Criteria

Renxin Yang, Northern Michigan University


This research addresses the rapidly changing values and behaviors concerning male/female relationships and family dynamics during China's economic reform. In-depth interviews were conducted with eighteen women ages 18 -- 29 from various backgrounds. Subjects reveal a mixed picture of their values and behaviors concerning intimate relationships in dating, criteria in mate selection, the value of virginity, and views on non-traditional alternative lifestyles such as extra-marital sexuality and cohabitation. Although there is not a consistent pattern that can capture all of their micro-situations, findings suggest that significant generational shifts away from traditional values and behaviors are occurring. Such shifts reflect the influence of changing childhood socialization practices, the importance of evolving ideological and religious beliefs, and variations in the individual's opportunities and life-chances. (Adapted from the source document.)