First Monday

NoL, please be away from my life. Pejorative neologisms for attacking males in Chinese microblogging by Luoxiangyu Zhang and Yi Zhang



Abstract
This study investigates the use of an emergent pejorative “nǎn by Chinese micro-blogging users on Weibo. The phonetic part “南” nán (south) of “” (nymph of locust — NoL) is a homophone of “” (male) in Chinese with a dehumanized quality; hence “” was often used to devalue males, express discontent and counter gender issues, widely appearing on China’s social media with various associated neologisms. Data were collected from 898 unique Weibo postings included “”. The focal neologisms were coded according to six identified linguistic structures, including “” associated with identity pejoration, adjectives, affective terms, taboo terms, feminine gender markers and others. Underneath its superficial pejoration, we argue that “” can be adopted as contextual strategies to counter gender issues via the above-mentioned language play, projecting a shifting gender ideology in China’s cyberspace.

Contents

Introduction
Method
Findings
Discussion
Conclusion

 


 

Introduction

In much of China’s history, Chinese society is well-known for its ingrained patriarchal culture with women’s roles, experiences and status fluctuating over time (Bailey, 2012). The Confucian ethics (551–479 BC) originates the institutionalized sexist ideologies, maintaining the patriarchal social order in China (Li, 2000). Within such a context, gender inequality and stereotypes are discursively embedded in China’s culture and society, as well as its linguistic system. Regarding Chinese languages, although grammatical gender does not exist in Chinese [1], gender can be represented via written Chinese with different characters that refer to genders, thereby offering space for gendered language use. Various forms of gendered and/or gender-biased language practices were revealed in previous studies, such as gender asymmetry in the writing system (e.g., Ettner, 2002), gender modifiers in naming practices (e.g., Su, et al., 2021) and fixed address order of males and females (Ettner, 2002). Amid these identified linguistic asymmetries between (and among) genders, feminine gender is often the discriminatory subject, whereas masculine gender is rarely targeted in both off-line and online discourse.

With the flourishment of Chinese digital communication, online platforms such as Weibo (a micro-blogging Web site) create a relatively safe space for female users to connect with, exchange among and protest against patriarchal social orders (Han, 2018). Although gender inequality, patriarchal values and misogynistic culture are still evident in computer-mediated communication (CMC) (see Jing-Schmidt and Peng, 2018), the open architecture of the Internet offers marginalized groups with a public ground to express their discontents of lopsided power relationship and established gender stratification, showcasing a shifting gender ideology in online discourse. Previous studies have demonstrated how female users enact challenges toward normative gender rules through language play in the online community. For example, Lang (2020) investigated the neological cancer metaphors of “直男癌” (“straight man cancer” — heterosexual male cancer) created by female users in Chinese cyberspace, demonstrating marginalized groups’ (i.e., females and male homosexuals) revulsion at sexist acts by hetero-males who perceive their advantages in the patriarchal society as taken-for-granted rights (McIntosh, 2009). That being said, the emergence of this kind of verbal attacks rarely occurs within the existing gender hierarchy.

Recently, an emerging gendered label for devaluing males, “” (nymph of a locust), went viral in China’s cyberspace at the time of writing. At the first glimpse, “” seemed to be devised for degrading males. Unlike previously revealed sexist language practices in Chinese, “” is mainly adopted to degrade males via replacing the orthographic character “nán (male) with its homophonetic substitution “nǎn. Its written character “” combines a radical for insects “” (insect) and a phonetic part “” nán (south). The written form “” stylizes the character “nán (south), which serves as a homophone of “nán (male) and therefore indexes the referential meaning of male(s) in online communication.

Within Chinese societal patriarchy, this uncommon yet under-studied pejorative epithet, “”, garnered our attention. This study attempts to analyze “” and its variations on Weibo, the most popular microblogging Web site with a large number of active users in China [2], to investigate the usage patterns of “”. By exploring the linguistic features and communicative functions of “”, we hope this study will provide a window into the ongoing gender issues and ideologies in contemporary China. To establish the background of this analysis, we begin by providing a brief history of women’s status in China and an overview of sexism in Chinese and cyber neologisms.

Women in China

Societal gender attitudes and women’s status have experienced dynamic changes over the course of history in China (Shu, 2004). For a substantial period of time, with values enshrined in Confucian gender ethics, one may consider Chinese women confined by “three obediences” and “four virtues” [3] with an inferior status in both public and familial domains. Yet, it is necessary to note that various societal factors, such as age, class, ethnicity and the participation in family and social life, contribute to shaping women’s status. In other words, rather than being a passive, submissive and exploited victim of Confucian patriarchy, many Chinese women had considerable control over their personal finances and household properties in early imperial China (Bailey, 2012). When the People’s Republic of China was founded, gender equality became an essential socio-political task. The well-known quote from Mao, “women can hold up half of the sky”, suggests the importance of women’s participation in production for improving national status (Liu, 2014). A solid body of legislation such as the 1954 Constitution and Marriage Laws stipulates that women and men, at least in legal terms, enjoy equal rights in various domains, including political participation, labor market and education (Attané, 2012; Liu, 2014). However, these political efforts have not put an end to traditional gender stereotypes and inequality between genders (Attané, 2012), and the promotion of gender equality may also serve for other socio-political purposes. For example, the equal right between genders in participating in production was considered as a prerequisite for improving national status (Liu, 2014). Since the late 1980s, influenced by the consumer market and mass media, females were encouraged to pursue “feminine beauty”, resulting in re-emphasis on unique female qualities in line with Chinese tradition (Moeran, 2004). An ideal female’s role was expected to be dutiful, caring and hard-working (Hung, et al., 2007) with elegant appearance and extensive commercial choices (Andrews and Shen, 2002). Although Chinese females’ status has been improved by political agenda after reforms, those deep-rooted sexist ideas and discrimination against women persist in China’s society. From a linguistic perspective, such unequal situations can be observed in Chinese languages, which reflect, construct and reinscribe systematic gender inequality and normative gender order (Hellinger and Bußmann, 2002).

Sexism in Chinese and cyber neologisms

Sexism in language as a symbolic manifestation of societal gender inequality has attracted diverse scholarly attention. Mills (2008) defined two types of sexism in language: “overt sexism” and “indirect sexism” [4]. Overt sexism is often presented in the “masculine generics”. In Chinese, “ (he) as the masculine third person is adopted in “他们tā mén (“mén” as a Chinese particle) for indexing others (i.e., they/them) regardless of the subject’s gender. Meanwhile, some terms are overtly marked feminine gender with gender bias, such as “女司机” (female driver), which implies the perception of a female driver as less capable than a male driver via explicitly marking the feminine gender in this term (Su, et al., 2021). Additionally, the address order of two genders is also defined as overt sexism, which can be identified in a conventional order for denoting males and females (e.g., Romeo and Juliet). On the other hand, indirect sexism is created in certain social contexts and words that only become meaningful in local communication with a specific interaction (Mills, 2008). For example, in Chinese society, females’ sexuality is relatively questionable compared with males. It is especially evident in two gendered terms, “处女” (virgin female) and “处男” (virgin male). The indirect gender bias is embedded in differentiated connotations of “处女” and “处男” in China’s society in the way that a female is demeaned if she has premarital sex, whereas a male is humiliated if he has reached social maturity yet is still a virgin (Farris, 1988).

While the above studies have revealed various forms of sexism in formulaic Chinese, researchers rarely scrutinize the newly invented sexist language practices in digital milieus. Against the backdrop of China’s rapidly developing Internet communication, a few studies have showcased Chinese online users’ plethoric linguistic resources and their complex literacy practices in digital discourse (e.g., Author, 2017a, 2017b; Li and Zhu, 2019; Lang, 2020). Thus, online platforms, such as Weibo, can serve as a vibrant space for investigating emerging expressions and neologisms from a gender perspective, and exploring the socio-cultural influence underneath those practices. For instance, Jing-Schmidt and Peng’s (2018) research of Chinese popular cyber neologisms related to a traditional feminine term “” (female prostitute) on Weibo reveals that there is a high spontaneity among bloggers to coin diverse new items within the category of [X — “”]. In the case of “”, it is originally adopted as a derogatory name of female prostitute and has been widely associated with other seemingly “neutral” and negative terms to contemn Chinese females as a pejorative gendered suffix. Specifically, “绿茶婊” (literally, green tea slut) was coined to condemn females “perceived as a seductress under the disguise of sexual purity” [5]. Furthermore, “” as a misogynistic symbol became a common and consensual expression in the way that both females and males adopt this gendered label to “sluttify” females in online discourse. The ubiquity of gender-biased neologisms associated with “” identified in Weibo suggests a tendency of online misogyny, which perpetuates females’ status of being oppressed through a collective literacy practice (Jing-Schmidt and Peng, 2018).

While the digital platform offers a dynamic environment for misogynistic neologisms, the expansive, accessible and decentralized features of Internet can also be utilized to break down traditional inequality between genders (Wajcman, 2004). Ubiquitous wireless communications enable female users to actively engage in discussions about gender issues and counter gender discrimination via their linguistic practices. For example, Lang’s (2020) study investigates the neological language use of “直男癌” (literally, straight man cancer) in Weibo, indicating a new social dynamic of gender discourse on China’s digital space. However, unlike the popular misogynistic label “绿茶婊” (green tea slut) that is less questioned by females, the pejoration “直男癌” is deprecated by Chinese hetero-males. They recreated “straight man cancer” as “直女癌” (straight woman cancer) and “女权癌” (feminist cancer) to condemn female counterparts who label them as “straight man cancer” and those who call for gender justice, showing males’ discontents at the use of this derogatory metaphor. However, such dissentient reaction seems less likely to be enacted by females who rarely lead gender discourse within a male-dominant social hierarchy. Furthermore, Lang (2020) regards the emergence of “直男癌” as an unprecedented literacy practice in the context of China’s digital communication. To some extent, this metaphor awakens female awareness of existing gender inequality and demonstrates females’ collective protest on gender bias in contemporary Chinese society via registering Chinese straight men’s sexism in online communication.

Creating NoL as a pejoration on Weibo

With increasing public attention on gender issues, Chinese online users recently coined a new gendered label “” (nymph of a locust, hereafter NoL) which stigmatizes Chinese males in online communication. Different from “直男癌” that presents females’ irritation through a somewhat humorous way, NoL explicitly devalues males and is often perceived as a symbol of projecting offence to males in online discourse. As discussed in previous sections, linguistic sexism in Chinese has normally targeted females to differentiate females from males who are placed in a dominant position in society. Interestingly, NoL has been adopted to replace normative character “” (male), whereby deriving various pejorative expressions as a gender-biased language play in China’s digital space. The readily understood meaning of NoL and its associated concise expressions with various language play are closely related to the spread of this male-specific pejoration in Chinese digital spaces. As a gendered label for stigmatizing males in Chinese socio-cultural context, the dissemination of NoL simultaneously offers marginalized groups a tool by which they can pour strong emotions, such as anger, in the public sphere.

Very often, anger enacted by marginalized groups is presumed to be counterproductive and opposite to rationality (Srinivasan, 2018). When viewed as counterproductive, anger is assumed as a catalyst that exacerbates the situation and invites further retrenchment. Thus, it is not surprising that people, especially victims of injustice, are exhorted not to enact their anger. Paradoxically, the marginalized group - people who have the most reasons to act their anger — are least suggested to becoming angry. Because in doing so, they are often perceived as threatening the established regimes and social order. Therefore, by excluding and stigmatizing this emotion, the status quo can be effectively maintained, along with those systematic inequalities. While anger is often regarded as counterproductive, Srinivasan (2018) argues that “anger is also a form of communication, a way of publicly marking moral disvalue, calling for the shared negative appreciation of others” [6]. Grounded in the context of systematic inequality among genders, as we will argue in our later sections, NoL may potentially function as a power device available to the oppressed, by which females are able to voice their discontents and register the injustice of the existing gender bias.

Meanwhile, with the flourishment of CMC in China, it seems that digital affordances enable users to express their anger and discontent strategically and effectively in online communication. For instance, while taboo language is often used to showcase strong emotions, Chen’s (2014) study demonstrated that expletives and sexuality-related expressions are extensively used in the form of Pinyin acronyms in Chinese online communication for efficiency and speech indirectness. This finding echoes Author’s (2017a) observation of the adoption of non-standard characters in taboo terms for indirectness by Chinese online users. The accessibility, anonymity and playfulness of online communication not only offer users a vibrant space to constitute their discontent, but also extend the usage of offensive languages, which are no longer only treated as explicit affronts but embark on new functions in Chinese online communication (see Li, Dou, et al., 2020).

In this paper, we attempt to analyze this emergent yet under-studied pejorative epithet, NoL, to investigate its usage patterns, functions and potential contextual strategies that underlie its dissemination on Weibo. Against the patriarchal context in China, we started this research hoping to understand what made this transgressive male-specific label a productive pejorative in Chinese microblogging. While previous studies have demonstrated that Chinese females’ increased gender-equal awareness can be reflected in their literacy practices in online discourse, we continue to explore this new “sexist” language play in Weibo, aiming to identify the nature of these aggressive expressions in gender discourse via examining NoL and its variations within corresponding postings on Weibo. Thus, we propose to answer the following questions: (1) What are the usage patterns of NoL in Weibo? (2) What contextual strategies underlie the adoption of NoL and its associated neologisms?

 

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Method

Data collection

Building on previous studies of Chinese cyber neologisms in media discourse (e.g., Jing-Schmidt and Peng, 2018), we investigate online data relating to “” from a Chinese micro-blogging Web site, Weibo (weibo.com). Weibo is a popular micro-blogging platform with social networking functions, allowing a vast number of users to post information, engage in discussions and share messages. According to Weibo, active Weibo users have reached 523 million by September 2020 with 54.6 percent female and 45.4 percent male (Weibo Data Center, 2021). This social networking site provides publicly available records of users’ posts, allowing access to a large amount of online language use in the focal Web site. Target data were collected from blogposts via Weibo’s keyword search engine. Data retrieval was conducted on 22 June 2021 to collect user posts that included the target character “” as the searchable keyword. To investigate and present more comprehensive usages of “”, search filters provided by Weibo were applied for collecting only original blogposts to avoid reduplicative contents. With the text query of “”, the search returned 900 original blogposts across 50 pages, which were posted between the time period of 21 March and 21 June 2021. Although the amount of sampling postings seems not proportionate with the number of active users (over 500 million), the size of posting data is still worth considering in that it reached the retrieval maximal prescribed by the site (50 pages), which in fact indicates the popularity of NoL usage. Furthermore, the search suggests users’ intensive engagements with the focal character within a relatively short time frame (900 original postings within three months). We excluded the posts that are not relevant to “” as a gender marker but refer the expression literally as insects (e.g., “蚊蝻” mosquito). After eliminating irrelevant items, a total of 898 unique Weibo postings were examined in this study. Moreover, identifiable information such as user IDs and avatars were blocked when presenting specific postings in analyses to safeguard user privacy and ensure anonymity (Markham and Buchanan, 2012).

Data analysis

nǎn originally refers to nymph of locust in Mandarin Chinese. In the recent context of Chinese digital discourse, “” was created as a gendered label that has often been adopted to stigmatize Chinese males. Its written character “蝻” combines the radical “” (insect), and the phonetic part “nán (south), which serves as a phonetic substitution of “nán (male). Despite the third tone of “” (nǎn), it stylizes phonetic component “nán in online discourse. This orthographic form happens to be results of a feature of “” for degrading males. On the other hand, “” is a homophone of “”, adopted to signify the male gender. In the focal Web site, “” and its variations derived various expressions and functions, which are often adopted to differentiate Chinese males into negative social categories with pejorative connotations.

First, we retrieved neologisms that included the character “” from every blogpost. To observe different types of these newly invented expressions, we thematically categorized them by linguistic features of terms combined with “” in each instance. For example, in the first category identity pejoration, “” is associated with characters that illustrate identities such as “蝻性” (“NoL sex” — the male gender), “txl” (“NoL txl” — male homosexuals) and “guo蝻” (“guo” as the Chinese Pinyin of nation/country with NoL — Chinese males [7]). Finally, we analyzed each type of neologisms within its context provided by its corresponding post to identify the usage patterns, contextual meanings and discursive strategies underlying the coined words or phrases. This close examination allows us to see how these seemingly offensive neologisms of “” are used in context and scrutinize critical gender issues reflected by them. In the next section, we begin by presenting the type of meaning-making strategies of “” adopted by Weibo users.

 

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Findings

As shown in Table 1, six types of meaning-making strategies were identified, including identity pejoration, NoL associated with adjectives, affective verbs, taboo terms, feminine gender markers and others. Building on a substitutional function of “”, NoL has been disseminated on Weibo via various linguistic strategies such as combining it with terms that represent identities, embedding it in fixed expressions and even adopting it to attack females who share empathy with NoLs. Apart from presenting “” in the above-mentioned ways, creative spelling strategies were also adopted by Weibo users when utilizing the sensitive character “” in their postings, which will be further illustrated in the following analysis.

 

Table 1: Adopted meaning-making strategies of NoL in Weibo.
TypeOccurrences
1. Identity pejoration
(e.g., “蝻性” “NoL sex” — the male gender, “蝻txl” “NoL txl” — male homosexuals, “guo蝻” “guo” as the Chinese Pinyin of nation/country with NoL — Chinese males)
472
2. NoL associated with adjectives
(e.g., “恶臭蝻” — stink NoL, “普蝻” — ordinary NoL, “阳刚蝻” — masculine NoL).
147 (negative)
35 (neutral)
43 (positive)
3. NoL associated with affective verbs
(e.g., “恐蝻” — fear of NoL, “厌蝻” — disdain NoLs, “媚蝻” — allure NoLs)
115
4. NoL associated with taboo expressions
(e.g., “sb ” — stupid NoL, “屌蝻” — penis NoL, “蛆蝻” — maggot NoL)
79
Others
(e.g., “疑蝻杂症” — terminal NoL illness)
8
NoL associated with female gender markers
(e.g., “媚蝻女” — allure NoLs female)
4

 

NoL as identity pejoration

Neologisms that involve sexuality, nationality and occupation of males with reference to a certain social group were identified in this category. For this category, our coding criterion was based on whether the words or phrases involving the target character were used to refer to an actual group of males (e.g., male teachers, male celebrities and male colleagues) without any descriptive characterization. Building on the preliminary function of “” for describing Chinese males, the most frequently observed type of neologisms was used for referring to identity and social roles possessed and performed by males. A total of 472 instances of identity pejoration were identified. The highest-frequency item in the first category is “蝻的” “NoL de” (de as a Chinese particle) (56.78 percent), which was adopted by users to represent a male instead of using the normative Chinese characters “男的” “male de” (see Figure 1).

 

replacement
 
Figure 1:蝻的” as the replacement of “男的”. “What? Who want to chat with you if there is not a necessity? NoLs please stop fantasy [Emoji: feel joyful], I am really speechless.”

 

Apart from denoting a male by using “”, it was widely utilized for describing males’ personal identities such as sexuality (e.g., “蝻txl” — NoL homosexuals) and nationality (e.g., “guo蝻” — Chinese NoL). While NoL is adopted to contaminate males’ social identities, various spelling strategies are involved in presenting these pejorative neologisms. Previous studies have revealed the ludic and creative nature of language use in Chinese digital communication (e.g., Author, 2020a). Similarly, as presented in two exemplified neologisms, Weibo users often use creative orthographic styles, including Chinese Pinyin, Pinyin acronyms, similar Chinese characters and homophones, when writing blogposts involving sensitive identity pejoration associated with “”. For one identity term, there may emerge numerous variations by adopting creative spelling strategies. It is especially evident in one example, “国蝻” (Chinese NoL), a sensitive term that has been censored by Weibo, whereas NoL itself was not subject to censorship at the time of writing. While the focal Web site provides a public space for discussion, it is also under constant surveillance by Chinas Internet censorship; in particular, gender issues are among the most sensitive subjects in China’s online censoring system (Han, 2018). Since “” indexes verbal attack towards males, it is no surprise that Weibo’s censorship has targeted this seemingly male-specific label when it explicitly directs disrespect to Chinese males (i.e., “国蝻”). To circumvent the censorship of “国蝻”, nine variations with the adoption of three spelling strategies were observed in the posting dataset, including Chinese Pinyin (e.g., “guo蝻” — “guo” as the Chinese Pinyin of nation/country with NoL), similar Chinese characters (e.g., “囯蝻” — “囯” as a variant form of the character “” “nation/country”) and homophones (e.g., “帼蝻” “guó nǎn” — ancient women’s headgear NoL). See Figure 2.

 

variations
 
Figure 2:国蝻” and its variations with adoption of different spelling strategies. (a) orthographic style; (b) Chinese Pinyin; (c) similar Chinese character; and (d) homophones.

 

Chen’s (2014) investigation on the usages of Pinyin acronyms on the Chinese Internet suggests that insults and sexuality-related expressions typed in Pinyin acronyms are used as a strategy of circumventing Chinese Internet censorship. In the case of NoL, we observed that varied linguistic strategies were utilized to replace the sensitive character “” when presenting it combined with “” for passing the heavy-handed Internet censorship. In addition, Chen (2014) suggests this kind of wordplay, such as Pinyin acronyms, serves for speech indirectness; however, such an effect may be less visible here. Although Weibo users adapt the sensitive term “国蝻” via orthographic strategies, it seems that bloggers did not aim to mitigate the force of “国蝻” or conceal the referent groups by utilizing aforementioned strategies. As seen in Figure 3, the blogger used “郭蝻” (“guō as a homophonetic substitution of “guó — Chinese NoL) to substitute “国蝻” in the posting though, the juxtaposed textual contents, “中华男性” (literally, Chinese nation males), serve to denote the referents — Chinese males.

 

Chinese NoL in posting
 
Figure 3:郭蝻” — Chinese NoL in posting. “lol. Contemporary NoL. #Charming moments of Chinese men.”

 

By examining the usage in users’ postings, it appears that the users must devise the “mitigators” such as Pinyin and similar characters when involving “国蝻” in their postings so as to express their disagreement with certain Chinese NoLs successfully. Underneath this superficial compromise, this finding suggests that the stylization of offensive expressions does necessarily directly mitigate effects but may be adopted to present confrontation within a specific Internet context through partially involving different linguistic systems in sensitive expressions.

Additionally, occupational terms associated with “” were also observed. As discussed previously, since genders are distinguished in written Chinese, the use of gender modifiers creates space for gendered language use (Su, et al., 2021). In Chinese, as in English, many common nouns with reference to persons in various occupations latently bear a semantic feature for denoting masculine gender (Su, et al., 2021), whereas intended feminine references are normally overtly marked with “” (female) with covert gender bias (e.g., “女博士” female with a doctoral degree). Conversely, males’ occupations are marked with “”, including “蝻老板” (NoL boss), “蝻司机” (NoL driver) and “蝻作家” (NoL writer). Contrast to previous marked uses of gender modifiers, here “” functions as a denormalized marker for highlighting conventionally invisible masculine gender in those “male-dominant” occupational terms. The marked use of “” challenges those gendered expressions, which problematizes and neutralizes those normative “masculine generics” in Chinese languages. In addition to contaminating males’ identity and occupation by using “”, various adjectives have been associated with NoL which further characterize males with negative features.

NoL associated with adjectives

Associated adjectives were divided into three subcategories, including negative, neutral and positive. Overall, negative terms account for 65.33 percent of this category, whereas neutral terms and positive terms make up 15.56 percent and 19.11 percent respectively. This distribution may suggest that bloggers tend to associate “” with derogatory terms when labeling males with different negative features. Figure 4 illustrates an instance of “” combined with a negative term “恶臭” (stink). This is the most frequent negative term associated with “”, which was observed in 48 instances in our dataset. The expression “恶臭” as an existing noun and an adjective in Chinese is originally adopted to modify “having an unpleasant smell”. Influenced by a Japanese adjective “臭い” (“くさい” — fetid), its Chinese counterpart “恶臭” was popularized in domestic digital communication. In Japanese, barring means “a very strong unpleasant smell”, and this adjective can be used to express a repugnant attitude towards someone or something. It has been extensively adopted in Japanese cyberspace to deride a Japanese male actor and his deplorable acting in films. Thus, the meaning of “恶臭” has been expanded to convey a distasteful attitude in Chinese online discourse. Furthermore, “恶臭” appears to be more frequently adopted by users while discussing gender issues in online platforms such as Weibo compared with other negative terms in our sampled postings. It not only functions as a signifier of aversion but also constructs a fuzzy category for sexuality-related degradation (particularly for males) in gender discourse. As such, “恶臭蝻” (stink NoL) forms a prototypical category of males in which members more or less share common characteristics. In Figure 4, “恶臭蝻” was adopted to describe a male stalker who followed the blogger, whereas Figure 5 illustrates that “stink male” refers to those who have sexual offenses and/or assaults toward females [8]. Although this category may be fuzzy, it still demonstrates some collectively perceived qualities of “恶臭蝻” in Weibo, featuring NoLs as males who perform offences or harassment towards females.

 

An example of negative terms associated with NoL
 
Figure 4: An example of negative terms associated with NoL. “cnm (Pinyin acronyms of a Chinese expletive caonima similar to the meaning of the f-word) stink NoL, (I) was stalked again.”

 

 

Male who is regarded as a stink NoL
 
Figure 5: A characteristic of a male who is regarded as a “stink NoL”. “There is no perfect victim, stink NoL who sexually harasses others are stink NoL.

 

In this subcategory, “” has been discursively utilized to describe conventional activities and situations in which males engage. A male user in the online community who participates in digital activities may be called “微博蝻” (Weibo NoL), “手游蝻” (Mobile games NoL) and one who is in favor of ACG (animations, comics and games) may be branded as “二次元蝻” (two-dimension NoL); a male smoker could be labeled as “抽烟蝻” (smoking NoL). Nonetheless, it is noted that this expansion of referential reach does not necessarily mean that “” is maintained as a generic, equal “” to all Chinese males; rather, many Weibo users made a clear distinction between two appellations, an important point to which we will proceed later. In addition, “” has been associated with neutral items such as “普蝻” (ordinary NoL). These terms contain neutral modifiers on the surface; however, they do not suggest a “neutral” stance. Instead, they are utilized as another way to devalue males as NoL. For instance, though a neutral term “” (ordinary) combined with “”, it was adopted to frivolously emphasize that those males are mediocre, with no reason to be confident or proud of their qualities. Meanwhile, the popularity of a cyber lexicon “普信” (ordinary yet confident) may be related to the expression of “普蝻”, as we will explain later.

Regarding positive terms associated with “”, only two instances, “普信蝻” (ordinary yet confident NoL) and “阳刚蝻” (masculine NoL) were observed. The newly invented expression “普信” (ordinary yet confident) is an emergent lexicon in Chinese cyberspace, which was created via integrating two Chinese adjectives “普通” (ordinary/normal) and “自信” (confident). This descriptor originated in a punchline performed by a Chinese female comedian, as presented below:

Original quotation: 为什么/看起来/这么/普通, 但是/他/却/可以/这么/自信
Literal meaning: Why/looks/so/ordinary, but/he/yet/can/that/confident
Intended meaning: Why he looks so average but full of confident.

The whole expression presented above has frequently been abbreviated as “普信” (ordinary yet confident) by online users, working to intensify the effectiveness of this expression in online communication. Coined with gender stigmatization underlying a seemingly positive expression, “普信” has often been attached with “” (males) to highlight the referent’s gender; thus, the expression “普信男” is widely used to condemn males who are egotistical and over-confident in digital communication. In this way, “” as a pejoration substitutes “” in the expression, reinforcing a negative image to those males who are “ordinary yet confident”. Regarding another observed positive term, “阳刚” (masculine), it often conforms with the conventional male quality in the context of Chinese. However, this gender-specific admiration was still skewed as a contempt to males, as shown in Figure 6. What is socio-culturally relevant here comes down to the reconstruction of Chinese masculinity since the early economic reforms (Zhong, 2000). Males, especially intellectuals, argue that the strengthening of women by the state emasculated men and their manhood (Xiao, 2011). The renewed Chinese manhood was featured by virility, toughness and achievement of wealth (Liu, 2019), whereas lack of toughness and capacity to gain economic power could trigger a “masculine crisis”. Despite this masculinist backlash, in the case of NoL, those valued qualities of Chinese men, such as “阳刚” (masculine) and “自信” (confident), were problematized by online users, which question those traditionally valued masculinity via labeling some Chinese males as “阳刚蝻” and “普信蝻”.

 

Positive terms associated with the focal character
 
Figure 6: Positive terms associated with the focal character. The highlighted section included “阳刚蝻” (masculine NoL) in the posting: “Even this does not dare to account for? This is masculine NoL?

 

Although we categorized adjectives associated with “” into three different subcategories, all these coined words which are still used as pejoration, which generates male visibility in a negative light within different categories via tagging the biting label of NoL to males.

NoL associated with affective verbs

As seen in previously exemplified postings, it is not uncommon for Weibo users to express their affections, attitudes and moods by using “” in postings. Nonetheless, in this category, those affections towards NoLs have been explicitly marked in these “affectively-loaded” neologisms [9]. A total of 115 instances were identified in the data, which blatantly articulate bloggers’ affections and moods such as fear, hatred and resistance towards NoLs. One typical case is “恐蝻” (fear of NoLs), as exemplified in Figure 7.

 

Negative reaction towards NoLs
 
Figure 7:恐蝻” as a negative reaction towards NoLs. Highlighted contents in the posting: “What is the good of being a woman? (I’m) in fear of marriage, reproduction and NoLs. Please let me be a man in the next life.

 

In the posting above, while “恐蝻” (fear of NoLs) suggests the potential threat of NoLs, establishes other social relations, such as matrimony, may become hazardous when involved with NoLs. The text, “Please let me be a man in the next life”, perhaps suggests that males are somehow “indulged” with a relatively prior status in both public and domestic spheres, whereas females are more likely to be placed in an inferior position. Though NoL is an expression for rejecting males, such repulsion may not br based on natural sex differences, but rather a projection of discontent on established gender order and power relations between genders.

Nonetheless, some affective terms were attached with NoL to attack females. As seen in Figure 8, the focal character is combined with an affective term “”. According to the Xinhua Dictionary, historically, “” was defined as a woman who fawns on a man. Likewise, “媚蝻” (allure NoLs) refers to females who, consciously or subconsciously, allure and attract NoLs. For example in Figure 8, it seems that if a female performs traditional femininity, such as looking sexually attractive, she was then considered as alluring NoLs. However, by criticizing females displaying feminine qualities as “媚蝻”, the user delivers an intentional admission that “the binary relation between male and female positions as active subject and passive object, the male as the owner of the gaze and the female as the image” [10]. On the other hand, this usage suggests that NoL may not be a “male-exclusive” stigma but also a verbal attack towards female counterparts, a pragmatic usage of NoL on which we will expand in the last category — NoL associated with female gender markers.

 

allure NoLs
 
Figure 8:媚蝻” “allure NoLs”. “Low level of alluring NoLs: expose (body).

 

NoL associated with taboo expressions

Taboos result from “social proscription of individual’s behaviors where they can cause discomfort, harm or injury” [11], which often lead to constraints on certain linguistic practices (Chen, 2014). Allan and Burridge (2006) framed taboo expressions as “bodies and their effluvia, the organs and acts of sex, diseases/death/killing, naming/addressing/touching/viewing persons and sacred beings, objects/places, and food gathering” [12]. Yet, as Allan and Burridge point out, taboos and taboo languages have often varied in communities and different societal, historical and cultural contexts. For instance, in Chen’s (2014) study of taboo words used by Chinese Internet users, Chen categorized taboo language as “insults, sexuality-related phrases and politically sensitive phrases” [13]. There are differences between established categories of taboo words; Chen (2014) suggests that it is because taboo languages are largely culture-bound, with little consensus on a formulaic categorization of taboo expressions. Therefore, to classify taboo terms associated with NoL, we considered taboo terms as expletives, sexual organs/acts and dysphemistic animal names. Additionally, though NoL could be regarded as a taboo expression, we focus on terms associated with “”, rather than NoL itself while coding. In this way, neologisms that fell into these features were categorized into this theme.

Regarding expletive terms, “垃圾蝻” (trash NoL) accounts 47.8 percent of this subcategory; by combining expletives with NoL, users’ negative emotions and feelings may be intensified while giving offence to males who were tagged as NoL in postings. For sexual organs/acts-related taboo terms, 16 identified instances associate virilia with NoL. In Chinese, one usage of the male genital term is to vent one’s resentment. Similarly, the expression of male genitalia was utilized here as an insult to condemn males online (Figure 9). Similarly, combinations involving female genitalia were also observed. As a homophonetic substation, the character “” () is often used as a euphemism for indexing females’ sexual organ (Author, 2017a). Resemblance to the male counterpart, “” was used to degrade males in postings (Figure 10).

 

male genitalia
 
Figure 9:” associated with male genitalia. “Today is also a day to be riled by pe**s (male genitalia) NoLs [Emoji: hee].”

 

 

Use of feminine genitalia
 
Figure 10: Use of feminine genitalia. The highlighted section included “逼蝻” in the posting: “Who is so brainless to set this kind of bi (female genitalia) NoL with innocent, childish and naivete characteristics?

 

Regarding animal names, they are not taboo terms per se unless the referent is human (Allan and Burridge, 2006). Since NoL clearly denotes human subjects, online users widely associated it with various animal names for dysphemistic purposes. Twenty-nine instances were identified in this subcategory, the most frequent expression is “蛆蝻” (maggot NoL), followed by “蝻虫” (NoL worm), which compose 17.2 percent and 13.8 percent of the dataset respectively. The high frequency of these two expressions may result from the derogatory sense of a Chinese expression, “蛆虫” (literally, maggot worm), which has a metaphorical usage for describing ignoble people with distasteful emotions.

While these examples mainly associated various individual terms with NoL, in the next category, NoL is embedded in fixed expressions, further demonstrating online users’ creative wordplay on NoL.

Other meaning-making strategies of “

This category of neologisms exploits the phonetic feature of “” to remake various Chinese idioms. For example in Figure 11, the blogger adopted “蝻上加蝻” as a metaphor to describe a male coupling in the posting. The original four-character idiomatic expression in Chinese is “难上加难”, meaning “very difficult”. Though “nǎn substitutes “nán instead of “nán here, the blogger still intended to devalue the males s/he mentioned in the posting as “”. Regarding the second instance presented in Figure 12, the normative typography “疑难杂症” (difficult miscellaneous diseases) was exchanged as “疑蝻杂症”. Originally, this Chinese four-character idiom can be adopted as a metaphor to describe questions that can hardly be answered. In this case, “疑蝻杂症” was used as a metaphor but with reference to those questions or problems specifically triggered by NoLs. On the other hand, this finding suggests that the usage of “” was not limited to coin new words or phrases but can also be applied in fixed Chinese expressions as language play to highlight that the causes of certain issues originated from a specific gender.

 

phonetic substitution
 
Figure 11:” as a phonetic substitution in the phrase “难上加难”. The highlighted section included “蝻上加蝻” in the posting: “congyoubing (an epithet of two Chinese male celebrities) can be regarded as an NoL plus another NoL.”

 

 

phonetic substitution
 
Figure 12:” as a phonetic substitution in the phrase “疑难杂症”. “Most difficult NoL diseases can be answered by saying what the (hell) are you.

 

While the above-mentioned neologisms mainly direct condemnation to males, however, as noted already, NoL may not be a “male-exclusive” stigma. In the final category, we will illustrate how females are contaminated by NoL via pragmatic uses.

NoL associated with female gender markers

NoL has been associated with feminine gender markers, such as “” (female) and “” (mother), to attack female counterparts. For instance, if a female is thought to be catering to male gaze, no matter via speech or appearance, she may be regarded as “媚蝻女” (allure NoLs female). A more aggressive form of “媚蝻女” is “舔蝻女” (literally, lick NoLs female). Its associated term “舔蝻” adapts a Chinese cyber lexicon “舔狗” (lick dog), which refers to one who is seen as overly attentive to the object of his or her affections, aiming to gain sexual attention. Here, “舔蝻女” was adopted to stigmatize females who are submissive to NoLs for winning their affections. Additionally, females may be categorized into the group of “蝻味女” (literally, NoL odorous female — female who shares resemblances of NoLs) if they present some shared characteristics of “”.

These expressions may be coined to perform an “othering” function (Weis, 1995). By marking the feminine gender in these neologisms, females who favor, defend or agree with NoLs (i.e., the stigmatized males) are perceived to be different and linguistically “othered” within female groups (Figure 13). Yet, by creating expressions such as “媚蝻女” and “舔蝻女” to counter females who appreciate NoLs, the critics seem to omit the normative gender values, ingrained patriarchal confinement and the systematic inequality which co-contribute to those enactments by females.

 

NoL associated with female gender marker
 
Figure 13: NoL associated with female gender marker. “The two genders I hate the most: allure NoL female and pe**s (male genitalia) cancer male.”

 

Through this analysis, it becomes clear that online platforms such as Weibo provide grounds for creating new items of “” with various user-generated meanings and usages via socio-pragmatic uses of NoL in online discourse. In the analysis that follows, we will focus on the context of use to identify potential contextual strategies underlying these offensive expressions with corresponding postings.

Adopting NoL as contextual strategies in Weibo

Li, Dou, et al.’s (2020) investigation of the adoption of swearwords on Chinese social media suggests that the uses of sex-related slang words, in some ways, project a unique kind of discourse, identity and subculture in online communication. Despite these language uses often being impolite and offensive from a traditional viewpoint, they are often accepted as in-group acts for narrowing social distance and increasing solidarity in certain media contexts. In the same vein, it can be argued that the dissemination and community practices of “” showcase a certain degree of fluctuating gender attitude, identity and ideology among female users. Beyond the pejorative, confrontational and offensive usages, NoL and its variations may also be adopted as contextual strategies, enabling female users to construct a counter-discourse with solidarity enhancement on Weibo.

As noted earlier, some bloggers have clarified the difference between the two appellations (i.e., “(国)男” — Chinese males vs. “NoL”). The phrase, “男蝻有别nán nǎn yǒu bié (NoLs are different from males), differentiates NoLs from general Chinese males (see Figure 14), suggesting that this gendered label is not devised to derogate all Chinese males; instead, it constructs a specific gendered social category to centralize discontent. On the other hand, this highlighted difference by users softens the aggressiveness of these expressions, avoiding attacking the whole male population.

 

Clarification of NoL differentiating from males
 
Figure 14: Clarification of NoL differentiating from males. “Once again, NoLs are different from males, please don’t assume that it’s about you [Emoji: grinning face with sweat] [Emoji: worship].”

 

In addition to condemnation, the creation and adoption of NoL provide females with tools to voice their legitimate grievances. For example, as shown in Figure 15, NoL de (NoLs) was used to disparage a male who flirts with the blogger by verbally harassing her, intruding on her privacy. Alongside the pervasiveness of NoL in online platforms, adopting this superficial “misandric” symbol invites a new means for females to discursively counter, or at least reveal, sexual harassment caused by males in the public sphere. In this regard, NoL can function as a consensual symbol among female users to resist potential or ongoing sexual violence.

 

Adoption of NoL de as a response to verbal harassment
 
Figure 15: Adoption of NoL de as a response to verbal harassment. “[Emoji: Doraemon shocked] ewwwww, an NoL was hitting on me while I was browsing my phone in the subway. he asked which school I study in, whether I could befriend him and kept snooping on my phone [Emoji: Doraemon shocked].”

 

Another typical example is illustrated in Figure 16. The blogpost in the figure contains two variations of NoL, including “蝻生” (young NoL) and “恶心蝻” (nasty NoL). These pejorative epithets were used to describe a male deskmate who sexually threatens, intimidates and assaults the blogger, leading to her suffering. As such, it is no surprise that the blogger adopted the pejorative epithet NoL while sharing her indignant experience. Simultaneously, though involved NoL in the text, this posting is still recognized and empathized by the readers, which can be seen in the comments [14] that followed, as listed below.

 

Contextualizing NoL in the posting
 
Figure 16: Contextualizing NoL in the posting. “I was a transferred student in my third grade of primary school. I sat with a young NoL who do not have a deskmate. It’s the beginning of my nightmare. This nasty NoL watched many porns and kept saying foul language like ‘wanting to touch your hip’. I was so frightened every day in the school. Sometimes I just wanted to jump from classroom’s window. I was so suffering.”
Reply 1 (User 1): Hug.
Reply 2 (User 1): yue (an onomatopoeic expression of vomiting).
Reply 3 (User 2): I want to hug you when you were suffering these.
Reply 4 (User 3): He actually began watching porn in grade three. I want to break his legs [Emoji: fist].

 

A closer look at the posting and its corresponding comments allows us to see how NoL raises attention to, communicates their empathy with, the blogger’s aggrieved experience. Instead of criticizing the offensive language in the text, all of the replies were empathetic in tone, demonstrating a rejection of the perpetrator. By suggesting rapport between the blogger and readers, this posting illustrates how NoL functions as a communicative tool that contributes to reinforcing a solidarity in online discourse. In this case, NoL does not merely serve to attack the male; more importantly, it works for expressing opinions, venting anger or seeking resonance among other netizens (Li, Dou, et al., 2020). In some cases, NoL could be regarded as an innovative language practice that embarks on a new social function of countering sexual assault.

The contextual strategy of NoL not only lies in a call for justice. As presented in Figure 17, “sb” (stupid NoL) was adopted to counter some males who attacked a male video-uploader by calling him a “sissy” when the uploader introduced how he cared for his skin. Unlike previous cases, the victim here is a male, illustrating that this pejorative label can also be applied to defend males. While platforms such as Weibo provides grounds for females to network and express discontent, it also offers an inclusive space for negotiating and justifying new social meanings of femininity and masculinity.

 

Adopting NoL to defend a male uploader
 
Figure 17: Adopting NoL to defend a male uploader. “I have watched a video at Bilibili (a Chinese video-sharing Web site) that introduces how to refine appearances and care skin by a male uploader. A crowd of sb NoLs commented that the uploader is a sissy. Sissy your mom’s c**t (female genitalia).”

 

By contextualizing NoL in Weibo users’ postings, we argue that the hatred, dissent and anger reflected in the adoption of NoL resonate with the point made by Srinivasan (2018) that suggests the superficial “hatred of men” may also be reinterpreted as a fitting responding strategy to reject the rules of mainstream discourse through highlighting those aggrieved, wrathful and resentful affections in the public sphere. The expression, NoL, fosters a new counter-discourse, in which users are able to initiate bottom-up discussions about sexual harassment, assault and “toxic masculinity” by sharing their aggrieved experiences and exposing perpetrators. Meanwhile, this kind of discourse also benefits from the creation of NoL and its associated neologisms in online communication, thereby forming the genesis of a counter-discourse.

 

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Discussion

Creative language play via NoL on Weibo

The focal character, “”, originally refers to a kind of insect without other referential meanings in Chinese. As a user-generated expression, the meaning and usage pattern of NoL are discursively negotiated by online users from the ground up without being influenced by popular or mainstream culture that values patriarchal structure. Online users creatively adopted it to stylize other characters’ phonetic and orthographic features, inscribing new meanings with a distorted tone of “”, and forming a gendered label to degrade Chinese males. While previous studies have shown online users’ playful and subversive linguistic creations, such as linguistic re-inventions (e.g., Author, 2020a), relocalization of globalized cultural elements (e.g., Author, 2020b) and responses to socio-political issues (e.g., Li and Zhu, 2019), our investigation of NoL demonstrates that such playfulness and resourcefulness of Chinese online users’ language can also be equipped to challenge normative gender values by generating new socio-pragmatic and semiotic functions of “”. Building on the shared meaning of NoL in Weibo, bloggers deployed various linguistic resources such as the Pinyin system, phonetic substitution and analogous characters in creating innovative and provocative neologisms related to NoL. While Chen’s (2014) results suggest orthographic strategies such as the utilization of Pinyin acronyms in sexual-related phrases may be caused by users’ intention of speech indirectness, the findings in this paper demonstrate that the function of these spelling strategies were not limited to the mitigation of the derogatory force of NoL, but alluded to the construction of counter-discourse under the watchful Chinese authorities in digital space (Li and Zhu, 2019). Owning to those linguistic resources, such gender discourse can be established in China’s microblogging communication, which imbues real-world hierarchies, gender order and norms (Han, 2018).

NoL as a linguistic device for revealing gender issues

Grounded in China’s socio-political context that often rejects the empowerment of feminist activism, challenges toward systematic gender inequality are relatively difficult to tackle in both off-line and online discourses, especially when social media are characterized by intensive surveillance (Shao and Wang, 2017). The promotion of so-called Western feminism on Chinese social media has been regularly stigmatized and attacked by anti-feminist, masculinist and misogynic voices (Han, 2018). Together, enactments such as exposing injustices, advocating women’s rights and deconstructing the patriarchal structure via new media technologies have become risky endeavors in Chinese online communication recently. While launching social-mediated feminist activism is often repressed, online users, who were not necessarily feminist activists, have adopted pluralistic linguistic strategies to circumvent heavy-handed censorship, meet their invisible audiences and create resonances (Yang, et al., 2022). Tracing back to the neological cancer metaphor of “直男癌” (straight man cancer), the expression seemed to be more of a form of entertainment and sarcasm. In contrast, NoL constitutes a more confrontational discourse in which females boldly expose gender oppression by males and vent their strong emotions in online communication. Different from a traditionally apologetic, communicative and polite feminine linguistic style (van Zoonen, 2002), NoL is naturally considered to be a verbal “attack” on males. However, against the backdrop of Web 2.0, the use of slang words by online users can also be viewed as an attempt to redefine social conventions (Li, Dou, et al., 2020). In terms of NoL and its associated neologisms, these pervasive, efficient and effective neologisms incorporate a novice gender ideology, inviting joint discussion of gender inequality, misogyny and male gender privileges in the public realm. Without an effective device that allows females to utter their grievances, anger and needs in traditional media, NoL constitutes collaborative and bottom-up activism based on technological affordances online, resulting in a productive pejoration on Weibo. Building on the very function of venting strong emotions, our analysis shows that the focal gendered label can also be applied to expose males who may have committed sexual harassment (e.g., “恶臭蝻” — stink NoL) and demonstrated toxic masculinity (e.g., “阳刚蝻” — masculine NoL), enabling marginalized groups to share their experiences with NoLs in online discourse. Faced with political surveillance on public discussion and restrictions on feminist activism, the popularity of NoL in Chinese digital space may be related to its forthright connotation and transgressive nature, which cater to females’ desire to release their oppressed emotions and experiences in an effective manner. In this way, NoL can function as a power device by which females can temporarily reject dominant gender norms and values. However, some instances of NoL such as “媚蝻女” (allure NoLs female) go beyond critiques towards traditional stereotype of females, to an extremist point that attributes the enactment of “媚蝻” only to females. Because patriarchal gender norms appreciate females who maintain male superiority, foregrounding females rather than the patriarchal logic of such traditions in the pejoration does more damage than support for gender equality movements. Thus, the effect of NoL is complex and requires further examination.

 

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Conclusion

This study investigated an emerging pejorative gender label NoL that stigmatizes males on the Chinese microblogging site, Weibo. The findings resonate with previous studies that showcase Weibo users’ complex linguistic repertoire in devising expressions in online discourse (e.g., Author, 2020a). Coined as a gender-specific epithet by Weibo users, the usage patterns of NoL were discursively constructed via adopting various linguistic strategies to extend the referential reach of NoL, responding to sexual harassment and creating space for bottom-up discussions on gender issues. Underneath its superficial misandry, our analysis suggests that NoL undermines the normative gender order via subversive linguistic practices. On the other hand, this study demonstrates that Weibo users’ linguistic resources can be applied to construct a counter-discourse, contributing to research that focuses on Chinese online users’ various literacy practices in cyberspace. Meanwhile, NoL and its associated trendy neologisms reflect “an instant changing in society and its zeitgeist” [15]. The creation, adoption and dissemination of NoL indicates the beginning of a shift in gender realization and ideology among Chinese females alongside an increasing gender-equal awareness. Whether such an aggressive way of voicing gender injustice is truly effective for redressing gender issues within the existing socio-cultural context requires further research.

 

An online meme
 
Figure 18: An online meme. “Do not approach men because you would be miserable.

 

The present study shows Chinese females embarking on creating a counter-discourse via NoL in the digital world. Interestingly, the representation of such discourse is not limited to literacy practices such as NoL and other gender-(un)specific expressions. For example, “表情包” (stylized memes in Chinese online communication) for resisting males are also celebrated in Chinese online discourse. Unlike the explicitly pejorative connotation conveyed by NoL, this kind of “表情包” softens the force of disparagement in the sense that they are adopted to express offenses and discontents in a humorous way (see Figure 18 as an example). Thus, we call for more research in this playful and critical language play to explore different ways of voicing gender issues in digital space. End of article

 

About the authors

Luoxiangyu Zhang is a doctoral student in the Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (LALS) program at the University of South Florida.
E-mail: luoxiangyuz [at] usf [dot] edu

Yi Zhang (Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of ESL Programs in the Department of Languages and Literatures at Delaware State University.
Send comments to: yzhang [at] desu [dot] edu

 

Notes

1. In this paper, we discuss “Chinese” with reference to Simplified Chinese adopted in modern Chinese society after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

2. Weibo’s active users have reached 523 million by September 2020 (Weibo Data Center, 2021); we will further elaborate on this online platform in terms of its popularity and functions in the following sections.

3. Liu, 2014, p. 19.

4. Mills, 2008, p. 10.

5. Jing-Schmidt and Peng, 2018, p. 391.

6. Srinivasan, 2018, p. 132.

7.” was emerged from the slur “国男(蝻)” “Chinese males (NoL)”; it can also be applied to describe males from other nations when attached with terms with reference to other countries or regions (e.g., “东亚蝻” “East Asia NoL”).

8. Males can be, and are, victims of sexual harassment. Considering that female bloggers wrote postings noted in this work, we focused on female victimhood here.

9. Lang, 2020, p. 265.

10. Schuckmann, 2008, p. 671.

11. Allan and Burridge, 2006, p. 1.

12. Ibid.

13. Chen, 2014, p. 3.

14. The comments were collected on 27 October 2021 via accessing the same blog posting on Weibo.

15. Jing-Schmidt and Hsieh, 2019, p. 398.

 

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Editorial history

Received 10 December 2021; revised 6 July 2022; accepted 17 August 2022.


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“NoL, please be away from my life.” — Pejorative neologisms for attacking males in Chinese microblogging
by Luoxiangyu Zhang and Yi Zhang.
First Monday, Volume 27, Number 9 - 5 September 2022
https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/download/12402/10697
doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v27i9.12402