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I’d like to start by congratulating everyone on surviving Halloween. The keen eyed among you may have noticed I was absent last week, the reason being I was trapped in a crowd of girls dressed as cats, slowly suffocating and immobilised by a fear of Alice bands with poorly designed cat ears stuck on the top.
Moving on though, I’d like to remind you all that I’m currently a month and a half into a four year degree in Chinese, loving every minute. There is, however, one thing that has caught my attention: there are a lot of homos on my course. Way above national average, I reckon we may rival Musical Theatre Studies in terms of boy loving. Then the reason hit me – Chinese is actually a really woman hating language. (Please note I do really love women, but the ancient Chinese obviously didn’t.) Here are a few examples:
妨 fáng – to obstruct. The left half means woman, the right half means ‘direction’ or ‘method’ (amongst other things). Perhaps a literal description of something obstructive – a woman standing in the way – or a metaphorical depiction of how women’s ways can be obstructive. Let’s all cast our minds back to all those arguments we had with our mums about going out after 10pm/ going to clubs underage/ using hard drugs in the house. It was always dear old Daddy who deflected the question and Mum who put her foot down. Obviously it was the same during the Tang Dynasty.
奴 nú – slave. Again, the left hand side means woman. This is one I really have to disagree with. If the ancient Chinese think that women made good slaves, they should see what I can get some Lithuanians on Grindr to do for me… #SUGARDADDY
妖 yāo – evil spirit. This time the right hand side means ‘died young’. Obviously drawing inspiration from mythology, I can only assume this character depicts a tragic tale. Scarier though, is that 妖术 means seductive. I can only ask for the homo nation to pray for me as I move to Nanjing next year.
There we have it boys, an ancient Chinese justification of sexism and boy loving. Whilst I do disagree with just a few (read: all) of the points raised above, I do think it’s important to recognise the sexism in our everyday language (and the flippancy of my criticism of women.)
All that’s left to say is that women are 仯, but boys are more 仯.
(All translations are from Pleco. Blame them for any mistakes.)