What China's Talking About Today: Mocking Women's Day

A somewhat misogynistic spin on the international day of recognition.

sanba march7 p.jpg

Chinese women chat in the rural outskirts of Duolun, China / Reuters

Sina Weibo micro-bloggers had already posted over 3 million messages in anticipation of International Women's Day by 12am this morning.

Chinese often refer to International Women's Day as San Ba, the numbers thee eight, referring to the date, March 8. Over the years, san ba has become a pejorative term for a woman who runs at the mouth, spouting nonsense. It's a serious insult.

Once, at a clothing bazaar in Beijing, I heard a customer call a shopkeeper "san ba," in an argument over some unsuccessful haggling.  Clearly incensed and on the brink of a physical reaction, the shopkeeper responded, "I'm san ba?  Then you si ba." Si ba is a Chinese double entendre that can mean the numbers four eight, or Go Die.

The spirit of International Women's Day in China has long been marked by the disparaging san ba, but Chinese on Weibo are doing their best to take their misogyny with a dose of humor.  

User老亮孩wrote: "My mom is a San Ba! A chatter-box, a nag, a complainer, but to my most beloved mama, I love you <3 <3. Your child is now wishing you a great Women's Day."

Some female users seemed to re-appropriate the term.

juliaaaaa恩恩恩恩 wrote: "When shall we next san ba?" in response to her friend's comment, "One of the best things in life is to San Ba with a group of chatty San Ba-ers..."


Presented by

Massoud Hayoun is a digital-news producer for Al Jazeera America.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Global

Just In