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Found in Translation Episode 17

ShanghaiCityGirl Apr 16.2015 20:52 Comments (2) + Add your comment
Tags: Language & Culture Category:My Blogs

Tea – the 5000-year-old staple of Chinese culture. Engine of economic development. Embodiment of the spirit of civilization, and the spirit of Chinese ideological form. Since 2737 BCE, when first discovered by the legendary Chinese emperor Shennong, it has gained popularity in its various types, colors and smells. Tea, or maybe its resourceful producers, has also kept up with the times, becoming an essential element of ‘forever young recipe’ beauty products, promising women worldwide to keep their 20 – something look intact as well as save their bodies from dreaded gain weight. I – personally – have become addicted to rose bud tea and I hadn’t been able to imagine that this magical, timeless drink might have any conceivable negative connotations. I couldn’t be more wrong.

Chinese netizens will spare no effort to change everything you could believe in. Including innocent tea. And in 2013 , between March and April ,they marred the flawless reputation of green tea by coining the term ‘green tea bitch.'

In Chinese 绿茶婊 - lǜ chá biǎo. 绿 stands for lǜ – green, 茶 – chá – tea and 婊 – biǎo – bitch or slut.

Why did green tea ‘deserve’ to be defiled as such? Lǜ chá has always had the reputation for being’ clean, pure, quiet and sophisticated’ and the ‘green tea bitch’ , in general, pretends to be pure and innocent but in fact is manipulative and calculating .That’s in general , of course, because as all Weibo – based neologisms, there is a long list of conditions to be fulfilled , where the top 3 factors to recognize lǜ chá biǎo are as follows: ‘Normally keeps long straight hair with bangs or parted in the middle’, ‘Skin color tends to be on the paler side. Most of them aren’t drop dead gorgeous but not ugly either’ and ‘Their favorite expression is to open their eyes wide and look at people ( especially men) cluelessly.'

When it comes to typical behavior, here are some top items on the check list :’ When at a dinner party, always sits next to a male friend, after 3 rounds of wine or beer, always has an arm around her waist, and still has the most innocent look on her face as if she has no idea what happened’ ; ‘When eating out, she takes 2 bites and says: "OMG I'm such a pig!’’ You suddenly realize your boyfriend somehow friended her on Facebook, they follow each other on twitter, he has her phone number... and they actually have a lot of chats and you have no idea how they even know each other, congratulations, you have a GTB friend’’ She speaks softly and weakly, as if she hasn't eaten for 3 days and ‘Their favorite lines: "Oh I'm so stupid!", "Oh I'm so clumsy"’.

The phenomenon is so serious that netizens even pointed out the archetype of ‘green tea bitch’ - Lin Huyin – a famous Chinese poet, architect and writer from the beginning of 20th century. Allegedly, Miss Lin , despite plain looks, was successful , ambitious and managed to conquer the hearts of quite a few rich and talented men.

My further studies led to a discovery that next to ‘lǜ chá biǎo ‘ , China 'proudly' sports at least 3 more types of ‘biǎo’ :’coffee bitch’ 咖啡 婊 kā fēi biǎo – for ‘high end office ladies who constantly mix English with Chinese, dress only according to the latest fashion and love to snap selfies in fancy restaurants or at sunny beaches’; ‘red tea bitch’红茶婊 hóng chá biǎo – a promiscuous girl who smokes, drinks , overuses eyeliner and wears low cut clothes showing her cleavage’ ; ‘milk tea bitch’ - 奶茶婊 - nǎi chá biǎo – ‘ a kind of woman who talks in a girlish voice and has extremely sweet looks, always kind to everyone around but the reason behind it is to attract men who will give her presents that she will kindly accept’.

Turns out that just like tea, Chinese feminine roles and images have undergone a significant revolution. In Mao’s China they were supposed to be asexual and serve the collective but with the 1990’s came a drastic change. China’s social environment was, and still is, more than willing to change and Western influence played major role helping women drop the ‘constraining chains of Cultural revolution’ and raise awareness of Chinese femininity. But the ever brutal internet has taken the derogatory road in this process. Fortunately, many strong nǚ hàn zǐ have wrestled the matter back into their own hands by kicking off anti-bitch campaign. Be careful when calling them any type of ‘biǎo’ drink, because they will not hesitate to counter you with ‘ Not your tea, not your bitch!’

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About ShanghaiCityGirl

My name is Gosia and I come from Poland. I set up my blog - Shanghai City Girl - out of my passion for writing,Chinese language and Shanghai itself.My goal is to explain Chinese slang and peculiar local culture, give tips about health and saving money in this overwhelming city!

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2 Comments ( Add your comment )


Thanks for bolding the important stuff.

Apr 29, 2015 20:11

Hey I'd love to read the rest of the episodes. I've learnt so much about Chinese society just from the 4 posts available is there any way I could read the rest?

May 07, 2015 14:17

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