Monday, January 20, 2014

Parasite Single Women

You thought I was talking about American women, didn't you? I am. Since men created nearly everything in the world, in a sense all women are now parasites.

In the past the deal was that men were protectors/providers/repairers/discovers/creators/inventors, and women had the kids and took care of the home. No more, buster! The deal is off!

Many women now, instead of marrying men, marry the State. Many of these women - no surprise here - rationalize this, or simply don't believe it, since they are Strong Independent Women™. And Japan, just like the U.S., has a whole slew of problems.

This article is from Wikipedia.

"Parasite single (パラサイトシングル parasaito shinguru) is a single person who lives with their parents beyond their late 20s in order to enjoy a carefree and comfortable life. In Japanese culture, the term is especially used when negatively describing young unmarried women.

"The expression parasaito shinguru was first used by Professor Masahiro Yamada of Tokyo Gakugei University in his bestselling book The Age of Parasite Singles (パラサイトシングルの時代 parasaito shinguru no jidai), published in October 1999. The catchy phrase quickly found its way into the media and is now a well-known expression in Japan.

"Professor Yamada subsequently coined the related term parasite couple to refer to married children living with the parents of one partner. However, this situation occurs less frequently and the term parasite couples is less well known. This is a traditional Japanese living arrangement, though its prevalence has decreased in recent years.

"While some adult children help with the household chores or pay a share of the rent, the vast majority do not. According to some statistics, about 85% of the children do not help with shared living expenses, but instead receive free housekeeping, laundry services, and meals from their parents. On top of that, about 50% of the children receive additional financial assistance from their parents.

"This situation allows the children to live in considerable comfort, and while many save money, others spend all their income on luxury items, traveling, and other non-essential expenses. Many children wish to live with their parents until they marry.

"The parents, for their part, often enjoy living with their children. Many parents want to protect their children and offer them the best possible start in life. Parents also enjoy the company and the social interaction and try to maintain the relationship. The additional expenses for the parents due to the additional household member are usually small, as the fixed costs such as rent must be paid regardless, and the additional cost for food and other consumables is sometimes negligible. Many parents also see this as an investment in their future, as the children will be more obliged to take care of their parents in their old age (in Japan, it is traditional that children nurse their elderly and disabled parents. In some countries in South America, this is one of the reasons why certain families grow numerous).

"As for women, a growing number of young women are remaining unmarried in Japan today, a development often viewed as a rebellion against the traditional confines of women's restrictive roles as wives and mothers. In 2004, 54% of Japanese women in their 20s were still single, while only 30.6% were single in 1985.

"Young women are instead indulging in a lifestyle centered on friends, work, and spending disposable income; unmarried Japanese adults typically live with their parents, and thus save on household expenses, and increasing the amount of money available to spend on their own entertainment. Sociologist Masahiro Yamada gave these young adults the label 'parasitic singles'. Some young women reacted by creating business cards with their names and the title 'Parasite Single' on them. Japanese media has given heavy coverage to the decline in Japan's birthrate, but the trend continues.

"The housing costs in Japan are notoriously high, especially in or near large cities. A parasite single who chose to live independently would on average lose 2/3 of his or her disposable income. Furthermore, they would also have to do the cleaning and cooking for themselves. Finally, establishing a household has a large up front cost for durable items, e.g. a refrigerator, furniture, washing machine, and other items. The security deposit, traditional monetary gift for the landlord ('key money'), and the housing agent fee can also easily reach six months' rent; this is non-refundable and must be paid in advance. In summary, becoming independent involves large expenses, work, and a significant drop in living standard. Furthermore, as the vast majority of the Japanese population is concentrated in cities, all the employment and entertainment options desired are within reach from the parental home.

"The economic advantages are enjoyed by all types of parasite singles, although there are different subgroups within the group of parasite singles. Career-oriented young salarymen and office ladies could afford to live on their own, but prefer the additional financial benefits, and perhaps the company and security, of living at their parents' homes.

"Often, they can only find part-time and low-paid jobs, turning into underemployed so-called freeters who cannot afford to live independently, regardless whether they would like to or not. Finally, some adult children just do not want to face the competition of the outside world at all, and do not seek work at all, and in extreme situations, they do not even want to leave their parents' house. These children are referred to as hikikomori (people who withdraw from society, literally to 'withdraw into seclusion').

"Genda Yuji, associate Professor of the Institute of Social Science (University of Tokyo), widened the perspective from the rise of so-called 'parasite singles' through proposing a socioeconomic driven view, strongly connected to the collapse of bubble economy and the inability of the country's employment system to react after the crisis:

"'As the unemployment rate soared in the 1990s, the number of unemployed went up sharply not only among middle-aged and older workers but among young people, as did the number of young people known as 'freeters' who do not work as full-time employees but move from one part-time to another. The increase in these two groups was seen as the result of a change in attitudes toward work among young Japanese. Young adults who continue to live at home with their parents were labeled 'parasite singles' and ridiculed as symbols of a weakening sense of self-reliance among Japanese youth, or a growing dependence on their parents. What lies behind the change in Japanese young people's behavior, however, is not simply a change in the work ethic or a rise in dependence. Rather, these are the by-products of the confusion in the Japanese employment system, which is unable to deal adequately with the new age. Japanese companies still lack the flexibility to adjust employment, and this defect has manifested itself as a reduction in job opportunities for young people. Reduced to the status of social underdogs, Japanese young people have had no alternative but to become economically dependent on their parents.' — Genda Yuji

"'Contrary to the belief that parasite singles enjoy the vested right to live at their parents' expense, the real parasites are the parents, the generation of middle-aged and older workers on whom society has conferred vested rights and who make their livelihood at the expense of young people.'" — Genda Yuji

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