Straight man cancer

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Straight man cancer (Chinese: 直男癌; pinyin: zhí nán ái)[1] is a Chinese neologism for a group of men who are stubbornly sexist.[2] Coined by the users of Chinese social networks Douban and Weibo in mid-2014, it refers to a group that uses a variety of reasons and actions to belittle women's value, harm women's rights, and hinder the movement for gender equality. They are hostile to ethnic minorities, calling for the return of conservative values. In general, "straight male cancer" and "male chauvinism" in English are comparatively similar.[3]

The term originated from mainland China.[4] It became popular in 2015 when scholar Zhou Guoping was accused of having the syndrome after a Weibo post.[5]


Historical self-sufficiency[edit]

The self-sufficient economy (also called small-scale peasant economy), a basic socio-economic formation in Chinese feudal society, has lasted for more than 2000 years in ancient China. It did not require any aid, support, or interaction, for survival; therefore it is a type of personal or collective autonomy, which contributes a lot to the formation of the idea of male supremacy.[6]

Since men have advantages in physical strength, they occupy an increasingly important position in the main production sectors and women relegated to a secondary position in production. Thus, men became the backbone of the family, while women became their accessory.[7]

Preference for sons[edit]

Numerous Chinese families which still have been influenced a lot by the patriarchal tradition, especially the rural families, tend to have a preference for boys rather than girls. They spoil the boys in their family which might affect their sons’ cognition of the social level of men and women. This makes men value themselves over women and causes male chauvinism.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tang, Nancy. "'Straight Man Cancer': Sexism with Chinese Characteristics". Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Do You Have 'Straight Man Cancer'? [Lost In Translation]". TechNode. 2016-07-15. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  3. ^ "Straight man cancer". Language Log. 2016-12-19. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  4. ^ Geng, Olivia (Jan 20, 2015). "In China, a Backlash Against 'Cancerous' Straight Men". The Wall Street Journal China. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  5. ^ Steinfeld, Jemimah (Mar 13, 2015). "China's 'straight man cancer': are Chinese women finally on the rise?". Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  6. ^ "谱系文化:社会功能及其民间信仰的表现方式". Capital-markets. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  7. ^ Larson, Christina (July 31, 2014). "In China, More Girls Are on the Way". Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  8. ^ Yaqing, Mao. "China's Unbalanced Sex Ratio and its Ripple Effect". Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  9. ^ Arnold, Fred; Zhaoxiang, Liu (1992). Sex Preference, Fertility, and Family Planning in China. The Population of Modern China: Springer US. pp. 491–523.