Female dating show host
The official message is clear: the Chinese people need the freedom to love and marry—provided it doesn’t cross the boundary of socialist values.
Just like yin and yang in traditional Chinese thought, the juxtaposition of neoliberalism and state authoritarianism might seem contradictory, but essentially they complement each other by creating a space for discussion among opinion makers, elite groups, scholars, the media, the government and the masses.
Dating shows began emerging as a new form of marriage matchmaking in China in the late 1980s.
The first dating program, , aimed to ‘serve the people’ by helping individuals, especially males of rural and low socioeconomic backgrounds, to find a partner.
Audiences were also able to watch imported shows such as, from Taiwan.
The commercialisation of the television industry in the 1990s thus nurtured an intersection between love, romance and entertainment, and motivated mass audiences to also participate in dating shows.
Facing strong competition, media outlets were under pressure to produce programs that not only had commercial value but were also entertaining.
The audience voted on which date they thought was the perfect match and the contestant would reveal his/her choice.Comments such as ‘I’d rather weep in a BMW than laugh on a bike’, ‘I won’t think about it if your monthly salary level is under RMB 200,000’, and ‘I won’t consider those who come from the countryside’ have been strongly condemned for their materialism, self-centredness and discrimination by the younger generation against the poor, and for commercialising and stigmatising the ideal of love and marriage held by earlier generations.In 2010, SARFT—the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television—intervened for the first time to curb dating and love-themed programs in an effort to reassert of the state’s right to control and censor private intimacy in ‘neoliberal’ China.Love, marriage and commerce have never been brought so closely together.