Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
In Phase 0, I chose a few topics and broke them down in detail about why I chose it and how it interested me. In Phase 1, I will soon begin researching and coming up with questions to lead my project, love and marriage, and help it flow.
What do I already know?
I know that the Chinese culture believes that if women does not get married before age 28, then they are known as "leftovers." Women in China feels pressured because nearly all their friends are married or maybe even became a mom already. Time knocks on their pride, and their minds continously reporting their age and unconsciously compare themselves to others just because they are not married. It is awful in my eyes to see that abundance of women are married to marriage. As for love, it is a heavy word. How do you know if you love a person? Does that mean you are willing to sacrifice your life for them? What is love? All humans and animals express love in a diverse range of ways. Some could go as simple as a hug or a kiss, some is a straightforward "I love you." Whether the words and actions were genuine or not, it normally engraves in the mind of the person who received it. I know that, because whenever negativity crawls in, those three simple, but strong words like a reminder set on a phone brightens the room. It tells me I am loved and appreciated. It gives me the strength to continue my day with a smile. It helps me see the positive side of people and situations and makes me feel grateful. Thank you! Thank you for loving me.
Where did I learn these things?
Most of the knowledge I currently have of my topic are simply just the basics. All information mentioned above are from personal or someone else's experience. It is also some observations in my daily life. I have lived in Shanghai for a very long time, so the culture here is pretty clear to me. I also watch drama or TV shows with my family and watching those really helps you understand the Chinese culture. Going to an international school does not prevent me from interacting with some of the local Shanghainese here. I also like to pick up knowledge wherever I go, whether it is relevant or not. Who knows if it might come in handy one day.
What do I want to know more about this topic?
I would like to know how the citizens of Xizhou think of marriage and whether love is an important key to their lives or not. I would like to see and connect whether the responses of the Xizhou citizens are different based on their age and gender. Love is a word with multiple meanings and ways of expression, it would be interesting to know how the Xizhou citizens express their love to their family, friends, or lovers. I also wonder if the Xizhou parents would allow their children to date in their teenage years. Teenagers dating is definitely not something uncommon in the bubble I live in.
To be able to have a deeper understanding of my topic, love and marriage, I have done some research. These research can help me throughout my project and guide me with the ten major questions in the future. To see my work, you can click on Phase 3.
The next 10 questions below would be the fuel for my project. They would be guiding me throughout my research, and the statements in italics right below the questions are some of the possible answers. My 10 major questions are in sections which I think they belong to. The top two headers are obviously related to love and marriage, but the last one is a bit more connected with the older generation and how they think about the current generations.
1. What is the definition of love?
I personally believe that the definition of love is one word. Unconditional. When I love someone, I want to share all of my happiness and success with them. When I drown from depression or negativity, the person I love would be the one I would want to run to. When you love someone, it is so powerful and impactful, that you would be willing to sacrifice your life for them. Love is strong, because it can push out hate, and bring in light to the dark.
1. What do you see/feel/imagine when I say the word love?
2. What is the Xizhou perspective on LGBTQ?
I am a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, because I have family member/friends that are a part of it. I feel like you would be a LGBTQ+ supporter if you believe that love is love, and it means no race, gender, nationality, age. Love means no barrier. I know China is against the LGTBQ+ marriage, but I just heard that a Chinese gay couple was officially married in China. I am currently pretty confused...
2. What is the Xizhou perspective of gay marriage?
3. How would children my age in Xizhou think about love and marriage?
Personally, I like the idea of marrying someone I admire, and have kids of my own and grow old with my partner while watching our kids. I am not exactly sure how a teenager from Xizhou would think...but according to some of my research above, dating is normal at the age of 13.
Marriage in General
4. What are some reasons of why a marriage could be cancelled?
There are common reasons I know of why a marriage is cancelled. It could be because the couple was not ready, or one of them cheated on the other. It could also be that the parents do not approve of their child's girlfriend/boyfriend, or maybe an emergency just came up and the wedding could not be held.
4. What could be come reasons that could lead to a failed marriage?
5. What is the process of a divorce and how do the parents see about it?
I am not exactly sure of the process of a divorce, but I know that parents tend to be extremely worried of their child during that divorce phase. If the parents do not like their child's other half, of course they would support the divorce, but things would be so much more complicated if their grandchildren are involved.
5. How do parents see about a divorce with the marriage of their child?
6. Are children expected right after the marriage?
I do not think that children would be EXPECTED right after a marriage, but I know the parents would be excited to be grandpa/grandmas. They might be like: "no worries, do not rush," but, deep down, especially when the people around them have grandchildren, they would want one too. It somehow tends to be better if the first born was a son.
7. Why do people in Xizhou decide to get married?
People get married for basic reasons like maybe they want to officially start a family of their own. Without a marriage, everything seems unofficial (in my opinion, at least). Sometimes people get married, because they feel like they are ready and it is about time, or it could be peer/family pressure.
7. Under what circumstance would Xizhou people feel like they are ready to enter the gates of marriage?
8. What do husband/wives value in their relationship or each other?
I feel like people should value their relationships with other people, because out of the 7 billion humans in this world, you met this specific person. You learn their personality and limits, and different actions lead to different paths. Even if this marriage was unsuccessful, I think that the husband and wife should still be grateful (depending on the reason why they got a divorce), because they both once deeply loved someone.
Older Generations' Perspectives
9. Would the older generations (grandpa/grandma) be more biased towards their grandchildren depending on their sex?
My grandpa is 100% more biased towards my brother (not just because he is the first born grandchild), and my other cousins that are boys. I do not really mind, but I notice that he is trying not to make it as obvious now, because I am a young woman who knows how to observe her surroundings. My grandma is not as obvious as my grandpa, but I know deep down she still prefer boys over girls, but they are trying not to make me feel left out or not loved...so that is the good side I guess. The older generations tend to be biased to the male sex, because they were taught that boys are better than girls. It was only during these years that women begun to have more power in their voice. It is definitely hard to try and change someone's opinion on something that is a major factor in their lives.
10. Would parents feel awkward or uncomfortable to live with their child and his/her spouse?
I can feel that my grandma feels a bit unnatural when she lives with my family. I normally thought that this only happens to the son's wife, not the mother! I am not sure if it is the same with the Western culture, but in the Asian culture, the relationship between a mother and a wife is usually very odd for some reason.
I am interested in knowing the LGBTQ stories/opinions, and what it takes for a divorce to be official. I also wonder what husband/wives value each other about, because this could be a key to the reason why opened the door of marriage.
I am now at the end of Phase 1, and I would move on to finding helpful resources for my project in Phase 2.