In China, influencers are helping to change the stereotype that elderly grandparents can only stay at home or take care of the family, circling daily with cleaning, cooking and taking care of grandchildren while the children go to work.
In a video titled “Spice Hot Pot Real Rap”, 65-year-old Guo Yifen is crouching in a field and holding a cabbage plant aloft. over the head. Behind her are friends also dancing: “The cabbage is ripe, harvest it, eat it and enjoy it freely”.
The group of 3 called “Wang Sisters Come Here” is famous for its funny videos on Douyin. Ms. Guo and her bandmates – Wang Shuping (64 years old) and Wang Xiurong (66 years old) own a Douyin channel with more than 500,000 followers. They produce music videos related to the cuisine of their hometown and feature popular songs such as “Fried Mushrooms” and “Rap About Country Food”.
They are one of a growing number of elderly Chinese who are widely embraced by the content they share about daily life on social media. Like the Wang group, 80-year-old men dancing tango, 70-year-old men and confident fashionistas striding the catwalk also posted similar content. Douyin even has videos of an 86-year-old man playing Call of Duty.
With more than 260 million people over the age of 60, China has the highest and fastest growing elderly population in the world. Nearly half of them are active on the internet. Some people do the work they dream of, while others simply have fun. Many receive companionship from fans, seen as a panacea for a lonely life. They are Chinese retirees, have fewer descendants than previous generations, and are financially free enough to pursue their hobbies.
In China, influencers are helping people to change the stereotype that elderly grandparents can only stay at home or take care of the family, daily around cleaning, cooking and taking care of grandchildren while the children. go to work. Some people don’t have to take care of their grandchildren because many young Chinese choose not to get married.
Sun Yang (66 years old) shared: “We look at our parents and think we have to live in a different way.” Ms. Sun is an English teacher who retired more than 10 years ago. She and her 3 friends, who are also fashion influencers, founded the group “Sisters with Beijing Taste”, sharing videos about classic and modern fashion styles, giving suggestions on how to Outfits and advice on everyday life.
“What we are doing is exactly what we dreamed of when we were young,” Ms. Sun said. Many of the more than 2 million followers of “Beijing Tasteful Sisters” are in their 50s and 60s. But there are also younger people, who often ask Ms. Sun’s group about dating or school problems. Ms. Sun said that one person said the sessions helped them overcome their fear of growing old.
The “stars” of “Beijing Taste Sisters” also sometimes introduce their families in their videos. The social media account is managed by Ms. Sun’s daughter-in-law, and her 6-year-old granddaughter often helps the ladies with filming. They often share travel, walking and rehearsals for fashion events.
In the music video, “Here come the Wang Sisters”, Ms. Guo and her friends run around in the fields, joking or lying on the grass dreaming. They rapped about their love for cooking and enjoying food. This is also a way for them to relax after a hard time taking care of their family.
Older people make a lot of money “making content”
China is facing a range of demographic challenges, including a plummeting marriage rate and a record low birth count. This is slowly changing cultural norms about what it means to go. Among the countries with the lowest retirement ages in the world – 60 for men and 55 for women, on average, Chinese seniors have plenty of time to create content on social media.
Bei Wu, professor of global health at New York University, said: “For previous generations, their lives revolved around taking care of the family, watching TV. But now, because they have less to take care of their children and grandchildren, they have more free time, their activities go beyond the scope and family. Therefore, the role of friends and social life with them is also greater.”
Ms. Guo said producing content helps the group exercise their minds. Thanks to the Douyin account, the “Wang Sisters come here” group earns about 1,400 USD/month. Although it is not enough to cover all living expenses, but because of the increasing number of followers, they have received advertising requests from many companies.
As for “The Sisters Association in Beijing”, making content on Douyin helps them earn a lot of money. They can earn more than 115,000 USD from advertising money and commissions through sales on each livestream.
However, every success has its challenges. Some older influencers who work with management companies are imposed very strict output and quality, and customers also make difficult demands. In addition, Douyin can also close channels that are too focused on selling instead of posting quality content.
Mr. Tang Shikun (86 years old) started recording a video of himself singing and playing in 2020 and has been watched by thousands of people. In recent days, each of his videos has only 20 followers. The reason is that his content is too simple and not recommended for users.
However, he remained undaunted because singing was his dream from a young age. Moving from northeastern China to Hainan province in 2019, he felt lonely living in a new city. “Now I play for everyone on Douyin and can make friends all over the world,” he said.
Mr. Tang said he has earned more than $68,000 in fan donations since posting his first video two years ago. He said: “I play and sing happily, the listeners can also feel the happiness from it. I think old people should have their own way of life, should not sit idle all day, but find their own hobbies to enjoy.”
Refer to NYT