As part of their ongoing #changedestiny philosophy, renowned beauty brand SK-II released a new short film, “Meet Me Halfway” that shines the spotlight on three young single women in China who reach out to their estranged parents. They have avoided contact in the past because they can’t stand the pressure to get married that comes with every family reunion, especially during the Lunar New Year.
The moving film showcases how marriage tends to be regarded as a women’s greatest accomplishment in the Chinese society.
The pressure to settle down can be so pervasive and suffocating that many single Chinese women refuse to visit their families during the festive season.
“When I go home, it’s no longer about reunion…it’s only about marriage, marriage, marriage,” mall planner Duan Yu Li says in the video.
Even though this video is set in China, the pressure to marry can be painfully real amongst women everywhere.
In Singapore, women have more options than ever. Though we are still not close to equal pay (the median monthly salary of a woman in a full-time job is 9 per cent ($410) less than a man in a full-time job according to the latest official data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), women can be economically independent.
That is why some women might choose to prioritise their careers over marriage and starting a family.
Like women in Singapore, a new generation of young Chinese women are defying societal and cultural norms and embracing their independence.
“I really hope to have a family too, but I’m not ready to be a wife yet,” radio jockey Lin Yan says in the video. “There are other things I want to accomplish first,” she added.
Even though the expectation for women to marry is something that is still deeply embedded in most Asian societies, perhaps with time, a woman’s choice to embrace singledom will not be so stigmatised.
That’s the hope of “Meet Me Halfway.” In the short film, the three young women, Yang Yang, Duan Yu Li, and Lin Ya, write letters to their parents, taking the brave first steps to meet them halfway, both figuratively (by understanding their perspectives) and literally (in a location halfway between their homes and their parents’).
When the daughters and parents meet in the middle, they come to an understanding, with both sides promising to try to see from the other’s perspective.
Through this 4-minute clip, the Japanese brand that is synonymous their iconic Facial Treatment Essence, hopes to provide a middle ground to empower women to make a choice on their own.
This is not the first time SK-II has tackled taboo topics such as the pressure to conform to societal norms as faced by many women in Asia.
In 2016, SK-II released a short film “Dream Again,” highlighting how young women often have had to sacrifice their dreams due to external factors like a lack of financial support or fear of stepping out of their comfort zones.
“We want to tell women worldwide: Destiny can change, when you have the courage to take the first step to meet halfway,” shares Sandeep Seth, Vice President of Global SK-II.
We hope the stories of these three brave women can inspire other women to take the first step, start a conversation with their families about marriage pressure and in the process, empower them to live life on their own terms and shape their own destinies,” he said.
In light of International Women’s Day, we’d like to remind you that you should never ever feel pressured whether to be in a relationship or to marry.
What a good reminder to all of us to live on your own terms. Happy International Women’s Day!