Vanity Economics
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Vanity Economics

An Economic Exploration of Sex, Marriage and Family

C. Simon Fan

This book presents an accessible and sometimes controversial economic exploration of numerous issues surrounding sex, marriage and family. It analyzes the role of ‘vanity’, defined as social status and self-esteem, in social and economic behaviors.
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Chapter 6: Vanity and virginity

C. Simon Fan


Story 1 1 January 2012 was the first day of the Year of the Dragon, and was supposed to be a very happy occasion for the Chinese. However, on this day, major Chinese newspapers and websites reported a tragic story. A beautiful 23-year-old bride named Shan-Shan Guo was seriously injured by her husband. Even more surprising, the couple were still in their honeymoon period, having been married for only four months. He attacked her with a kitchen knife with apparent hatred, seriously wound- ing her. Guo suffered more than 40 wounds, including some to her face and hands. Pictures of her taken before and after the attack were released, showing that the scars left on her face from the attack seriously damaged her physical appearance. Guo's husband had discovered that she had lost her virginity before their marriage, and burst out in fury at the thought that he was not his bride's sole sexual partner. Story 2 A similar story, perhaps even more tragic and shocking, occurred at one of the best universities in China. On the evening of 29 October 2008, Cheng-Li Fu, a 23-year-old male undergraduate student, burst into a classroom where a professor of the university, 43-year-old Chun-Ming Cheng, was delivering a lecture. Fu chopped Cheng in the neck with a meat cleaver, and Cheng died immediately. The tragedy stemmed from an obsession with female virginity. Not long before the incident occurred, Fu had dated a girl he fancied very much. When the girl began to accept Fu as her boyfriend, she confessed that she was not a virgin and had in fact lost her virginity to Cheng.

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