“NoL, please be away from my life.” - Pejorative neologisms for stigmatizing males in Chinese micro-blogging
Keywords:Neologism, Verbal attack, Gender, Micro-blogging, Chinese
This study investigates the use of an emergent pejorative “蝻” nǎn by Chinese micro-blogging users on Weibo. The phonetic part “南” nán (south) of “蝻” (nymph of locust - NoL) is a homophone of “男” (male) in Chinese with a dehumanized quality; hence “蝻” was often used to devalue males, thereby churning out various associated neologisms in cyberspace. Data were collected from 898 unique Weibo postings included “蝻”. The focal neologisms were coded according to six identified linguistic structures, including “蝻” associated with identity pejoration, adjectives, affective terms, taboo terms, feminine gender markers and others. Underneath its superficial pejoration, we argue that “蝻” 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.
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