2012 Student-Faculty Program: Benedictine College

“Modern Beauties, Marriage Markets, and Emergent Individualism in Contemporary Chinese Society”

Mentor: Steven Day, Department of Language and Literature
Students: Adam Baldocchi, ’12, Kathleen Thomas, ’12, Shelby Workman, ’13


Three Benedictine College students will conduct independent research in the area of Beijing. Adam Baldocchi has noted that whereas in the past traditional matchmakers were utilized to help unite couples in marriage, today parents, who personally involve themselves in finding partners for their children, increasingly rely upon online dating and local “marriage markets” to find partners for their children. His study will examine the attitudes of youth toward parents who are making use of “marriage markets” to find suitable spouses for them. Kathleen Thomas will utilize interview and survey techniques to examine the impact of sweeping social reforms in contemporary China and the increased access to Western culture on the attitudes and behaviors associated with individualism in China. Shelby Workman’s research will focus on traditional standards of female beauty in China and how the Chinese revolution and globalization have changed traditional notions of beauty and the degree to which women now feel empowered to define femininity and beauty for themselves.