Colloquium in Dec. 2018

Qian, Yue (Professor, Dept. of Sociology at Univ. of British Columbia, Canada)

Based on the data of 3,000 female and 3,000 male users of a popular Chinese dating website living in Shanghai, China, this study analyzes how their preferences for age hyper-gamy (male partner older than female partner) differ by their gender and age. According to the analysis, for the male online daters the more aged, the more likely they prefer to date women younger than themselves and the bigger the desired age gap for their potential younger partners. On the other hand, for the female online daters, the more aged, the less likely they wish to date men older than themselves and the smaller the desired age gap for their potential older partners. In addition, the study conducted semi-structured interviews with 29 online daters in Shanghai, China, and analyzed why they chose to date partners with specific age ranges and how their mate preferences were associated with their gender and age. Based on these analyses, the study points out that internet dating may reinforce preexisting social boundaries and norms such as gender roles, instead of diminishing family’s influence and thereby promoting diversity in the marriage market.

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