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Shanghai has China's most henpecked husbands?
Publication Date : 21-08-2014
A recent online post about men who are afraid of their wives has stirred up a hot debate among netizens.
The authors say the cities with the highest number of henpecked husbands are Shanghai, Chengdu in Sichuan province, Wuhan in Hubei province, and Chaozhou in Guangdong province.
According to the post, Shanghai men love their wives more than themselves - making Shanghai women the most envied in the country.
Chengdu men are not only bread-winners but also cook and clean and are good fathers.
China has a long history of henpecked husbands, even though it is a patriarchal society. Some emperors were afraid of their wives, such as Emperor Yang Jian, founder of Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618).
"It's not 'henpecked', but showing respect for women," said 26-year-old Chen from Shanghai, who gives only his surname and was married last May.
Shanghai men are well known for being good husband, said the post. They are good-tempered, gentle and family-oriented and like to spoil their wives.
Many do the housework or cook for their wives, who often hold the purse strings in the family.
"It's important to be a good listener and communicate with each other in marriage," said Chen. "If there are quarrels, the husband should compromise first and the wife should give him a way out."
In Sichuan province and Chongqing, the henpecked culture is so deep-rooted that there is a special term, "soft ears", in the dialects referring to such husbands. Wives often tweak the ears of their husbands when they quarrel.
In a survey of more than 1,500 Chongqing netizens by Tencent.com, over 75 per cent said they do not care about being called "soft ears" and are afraid of their wives.
About 54 per cent said being afraid of their wives has both pros and cons, while 40 per cent said it is good.
"I think if you indulge your wife, you are 'soft ears'. Many men I know are like that," says Pan Feng, 34, from Chongqing, who lived in Chengdu for 10 years.
Most Chinese men like to save face and want their wives to be obedient if there are others present.
However, Pan says if a wife in Chengdu disagrees with something, the husband will not argue against her even if they are in public.
"Being afraid shows that men respect and care for their wives," said Ming Li, Deputy Director of the China Marriage and Family Counseling Center. "It's actually a kind of wisdom."
She said henpecked husbands have more say on major family issues, though they listen to their wives on less important matters.
"I refer to those who are refined and considerate and don't quarrel with their wives even when there are conflicts," she added.
"The more civilized a city is, the more henpecked husbands there are. Henpecked husbands are often modest, and the divorce rate is low."