SHUTING LI WRITES – As interracial marriages are increasing every year in America, Chinese women are getting more attention in the interracial marriage pool. American men can’t seem to get enough of their exotic, cute, and sweet image. However, American’s love of Chinese women may lead them into dealing with something they are not so familiar with – sajiao.
Sajiao is a part of dating culture in China that is the product of Neoconfucianism. Sa(撒) in Chinese means “to give expression to” or “to cast out and let loose,” and jiao(娇) means “lovely, “charming, and “delicate,” or “to pamper or spoil.” In other words, Chinese girls want their men to spoil them like little princesses.
As a way for Chinese women to present their overflowing cuteness and demand their boyfriends/husbands’ attention, a Chinese girl will act like a five-year-old child. Sajiao is often referred to as whining in the Western perspective; Americans would find it pretty awkward for a grown woman to stomp her feet or pout her lips or make an innocent puppy face in front of her man.
Chinese girls are taught by the Confucian doctrines and Chinese traditions that women should always act submissive and needy towards their men. Even though these women are actually independent and capable of doing anything a man can, they pretend they cannot accomplish a task by themselves, and search for help from her man.
Independent women who act in a way that is contrary to this are treated as undesirable women in China. They are taught that they should try their best to act as feminine as they can. In China, it is normal to see men carrying their girlfriend’s purse. In America, men would find this bizarre and wouldn’t be caught dead holding their woman’s bag – it’s not “macho” and would hurt his masculinity.
Although Western men may find sajiao quite annoying, Chinese men are definitely returning consumers. If his girl sajiaos, he will do everything for her. Chinese men believe if they can make their women sajiao to them, it fulfills the expectation of Chinese gender roles and makes them feel useful and manly in front of their lover.
Western men soon discover that their originally cute Chinese girlfriends are extremely materialistic and “high maintenance.” Western men may experience different degrees of frustration due to a Chinese girls’ constant testing of his commitment to her, and some may even think it’s too troublesome to continue the relationship. But here is a warm reminder: your girl just wants to give you a chance to show her how much you care for her, and in return she will appreciate you and show her gratitude for your strong male presence in her life. She wants to let you know you are her everything, and that she sajiaos to be the little woman in your big arms.