“Do not approach men. You will be miserable”-Misandry memes in Chinese microblogging


4:00 PM - 5:00 PM



  • Time: 16:00-17:00
  • Date: Wednesday, 8 December 2021
  • Venue: HS436


This paper investigates the use of emerging humorous misandry memes curated in Chinese online discourse. As a new form of online humor, misandry memes incorporate online users’ affections, resistance and disparagement toward males in a hilarious and sarcastic way, widely disseminated in Chinese digital space. This study focuses on the popular Chinese micro-blogging site -Weibo to analyze the patterns of misandry memes. Based on the identified linguistic features and communicative functions, we thematically classified the data into six categories as condemning males, reinforcing male-stereotypes, self-distancing (from males), sexual objectification, expressing female superiority and threat/mocking of male-genitalia. Grounded in these themes, an in-depth analysis reveals the Chinese online users’ creative and strategic adoptions of linguistic, visual and cultural resources in structuring and re-structuring genders in digital space, and how such humorous practices disrupt the hetero-masculine dominance in digital discourse and challenge the patriarchal gender norms. We argue that the negativity reflected in these misandry memes functions as a “respond-hatred” for subverting a phallocentric discourse instead of merely disparaging males in a jocular way. On the other hand, the digital affordances of online platforms facilitate online users to engage in such playful and subversive language play, leading to the construction of misandry discourse and women’s empowerment in online communication.


Dr. Yi Zhang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics. He currently serves as the Program Director forthe undergraduate program of English and Communication Studies. His main research interests include sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, multilingualism, language and globalization, and computer-mediated communication. His work appears in international journals such as International Journal of Multilingualism, English Today, International Multilingual Research Journal, Language@Internet, and Discourse, Context and Media, as well as book chapters (published and commissioned) on topics of translanguaging, L2 teacher education and digital communication. He currently serves as an editorial board member of the SSCI journal Discourse, Context and Media.

LuoxiangyuZhang is a Year-2 M.A. TESOL student at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. She is interested in investigating language and gender, and digital communication. Her work with Dr. Yi Zhang entitled "She cannot play basketball well": A critical investigation of gender representation in China’s English textbooks(with RongnanCao as the second author) has been invited for individual presentation at the 2022 American Association for Applied Linguistics Conference (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US).

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