An American Lean-In Guru in China

时间:2018-07-01 单词数:6320

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Joy Chen got a glimpse of the limelight as a Los Angeles deputy mayor two decades ago, but it was nothing like the fame she has found in China urging women to forget what they’ve been taught about matrimony.

二十年前当上洛杉矶副市长时,陈愉(Joy Chen)一度成为众人瞩目的焦点;现在她因帮助中国女性摆脱被灌输的陈旧婚姻观念而声名鹊起,风头远远胜过当年。

Her 2012 best-seller, “Do Not Marry Before Age 30,” became a touchstone for young Chinese career women chafing under family pressure and age-old convention to find a husband, and launched Ms. Chen on an improbable journey as an American self-help guru in China.

她2012年出版了畅销书《30岁前别结婚》(Do Not Marry Before Age 30) ,中国那些迫于家庭和传统习俗压力找对象的年轻职业女性将此奉为圭臬,陈愉也因此在中国开启了一段不可思议旅程,成了一位励志自助领域的美国专家。

At a women’s leadership forum in Beijing in March, young women who had sat texting idly during a venture capitalist’s presentation sprang to attention when Ms. Chen strode on stage in a red dress. Smartphones rose in unison above a sea of ponytails, “record” buttons switched on.


“She changed my life,” said Lingxiao He, 28. “Usually, women are encouraged to take responsibilities in the family—to be a good mom, a good wife,” Ms. He said. “Seldom do you get the education that you must be a leader.”

“她改变了我的生活,”28岁的何凌霄(Lingxiao He, 音)说。“人们一般都鼓励女人承担家庭责任——做个好妈妈,好妻子。”她说,“很少有人会教育你去做一个领导者。”

Ms. Chen, 48 years old, now derives most of her income from paid appearances in China, along with promotion of Procter & Gamble Co. beauty products here. She loves to write, but finds herself at a crossroads. Her latest book, “How to Get Lucky in Your Career,” sold fewer than 10,000 copies. To remain a force in the world’s biggest consumer market, Ms. Chen is changing tactics.

现年48岁的陈愉如今的大部分收入都来自于受邀参加中国的各类活动,此外,她还承接了宝洁公司的美妆产品在中国的推广。她热爱写作,同时也意识到,自己正处于一个选择的十字路口。她的新作《30岁趁势而为》(How to Get Lucky in Your Career)销量还不到1万册。为了保持在中国这个全球最大的消费市场上的影响力,陈愉不得不改变策略。

So a day after her star turn before fans, Ms. Chen showed up in jeans and no makeup at the offices of a paid-content firm in Beijing, looking to turn “Get Lucky” into a 10-episode course to be sold on WeChat , Tencent Holding Ltd.’s ubiquitous smartphone app, which has 1 billion users.


The daylong session at Xiamen Shidian Cultural Communication Co. turned into a bit of digital schooling for Ms. Chen.

陈愉在厦门十点文化传播有限公司(Xiamen Shidian Cultural Communication Co.)待了一天,接受了一天的数字化知识洗礼。

While Ms. Chen charmed her fans with Oprah-like warmth, Liao Shijian, Shidian’s 28-year-old chief operations officer, wasn’t so easily dazzled.


When Ms. Chen said she wanted each video segment to be no more than 10 minutes. Mr. Liao shook his head, insisting on 25 minutes—as well as charts, graphs and practice assignments.


“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” Ms. Chen said, lapsing into English. “I’d rather make it short and not boring.”

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” 陈愉一连串英语脱口而出,“我宁愿长话短说,不要无聊。”

Mr. Liao was firm. “Every minute must have value to people,” he said. “It’s different from free video. It’s different if you pay vs. not pay.”


Ms. Chen also pushed back eight years ago when a Chinese publisher approached her to write a book for China’s “leftover women”—those who aren’t married by their late 20s. “I hadn’t spent much time in China,” she said. “I didn’t speak Chinese well at the time. I thought, how could somebody like me understand Chinese women’s lives?’”


An executive recruiter at the time, she had gained a following with a career-advice blog for Chinese college students studying abroad. She resisted the publisher’s overtures for a year, but after the birth of her second daughter, she agreed.


The book hit a zeitgeist moment, leading to TV appearances and magazine cover stories (and, for a time, a column by Ms. Chen in the Chinese edition of The Wall Street Journal).


“She’s achieved a level of recognition that no other woman as an American Chinese has achieved,” said Virginia Tan, 34, president of Lean In China. “She’s an icon for them. They mob her.”

“她获得了美籍华人女性从未获得过的认可,”励媖中国(Lean In China)34岁的总裁陈玉馨(Virginia Tan)说,“她成了大家的偶像,大家崇拜她。”

Born in the U.S. to Chinese immigrants, Ms. Chen lives with her husband and two daughters in the Los Angeles suburb of Altadena. She says her life experience—including marriage at age 38—serves as a role model for many young women in China.


“They don’t see women my age who have great careers and are in happy marriages,” she said. “They look at their mothers’ lives and they say, that’s not the kind of life that I want.”


At an informal gathering at a Beijing restaurant, fans talked about how Ms. Chen’s first book showed them a new path.


“Joy talks about herself. She shares problems,” Mi Lu, a 27-year-old financial analyst, said later. “I thought, ‘OK, I can think things like this. I can do things like that. Everything can be different.’”

“陈愉会讲自己的经历,她向读者分享遇到的问题。”27岁的金融分析师卢米(Mi Lu, 音)后来说,“我就想,‘OK,原来我可以这么看问题,我可以这么做事情。一切都可以不一样。’”