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“FIGHT for Love,” the latest TV dating show, is stirring controversy about the value of love and relationships. The 10-episode, documentary-style reality show, the first of its kind in China’s mainland, challenges the traditional Chinese dating shows by setting up a "love training camp." Some regard it a how-to for the large number of “leftover women” (shengnu) in big cities, while others consider it just a show seeking high viewership that veers away from the essence of love.|
The series, which was aired on Shanghai’s News Channel, is now presented on iQIYI.com. Based on an original Hong Kong show called “Bride Wannabes” that aired in 2012, it boasts a documentary style of cinematography. But many viewers and netizens are questioning whether people really can be trained for love, relationships and marriage. They are taught to dress fashionably, appear elegant and feminine to male bachelors and to speak out courageously in front of a camera.
During the airing of the series, there were heated discussions on Internet communities, which attract many white-collar workers.
Netizen Angelcandice said blind dates are like sales pitches that requires skills and packaging. Vivian Song, a single human resources worker in her 30s, says“I’m impressed by the novelty of the love camp, which also presents extreme sports exercises and masquerade parties. The show encourages me to become better in life.”
However, some people think it is merely after high viewership ratings and that to attain them it contains overly dramatic scripts and exaggerated conflicts and acting.
“I don’t think one can find the right person in a short-term training,” says Jacky Zhang, an administration director and TV fan. “Too many love and dating tips may also mislead the ‘leftover women’ to act in sophisticated and even disguised way just to cater to the tastes of men.“All of them are trained as soft, tender and fair ladies. It is not true to themselves,” he adds.
Little Wolf said dating tips cannot fundamentally resolve the problem of “leftover women.” He said they need to change the traditional concept that a woman must choose a man who has a superior salary and wealth to her own.
Professor Gu Xiaoming, a sociologist from Shanghai Fudan University, says that relationship and marriage counseling is a necessary and creative part of matchmaking shows in China, but such shows should be produced with a lot more honesty.“Many domestic dating shows are just exploiting the economic values of ‘leftover women’ rather than sincerely extending care for them,” Gu says. “To grab the public attention, they depict these women as an odd group but in fact many of them are charming, independent and they live their lives with dreams and aspirations.”