Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jenny Zhan

Second Advisor

Wendy Simmons

Third Advisor

Dan Pasciuti


This study examines a popular TV show about heterosexual dating in contemporary China, entitled Chinese Dating. This television show provides an ongoing social forum on self-articulations of gender identities and intergenerational interactions regarding dating and spouse selection expectations of the participants. Using grounded theory to guide the data analysis, the findings of the gendered differences of spouse-selection criteria in contemporary China denote deep social and cultural expectations for young men and women in a rapidly changing China. The findings of the negotiation process of the two generations indicate the continuing cultural influence of filial piety, which provides a contrasting understanding for Western readers who have long held individual rights and decision-making as a top priority in spouse-selection. Finally, this study presents a variant of the modernization theory, which argues that industrialization and modernization result in individualism that increases the power of the young and decreases the influence of the aged.