‘Please abuse me’

ludic-carnivalesque female masochism on Sina Weibo


  • Kunming Li Jiangnan University
  • Jan Blommaert Tilburg University




play, carnival, huizinga, bakhtin, ludic-carnivalesque, female masochism, partriarchy, objectification, gender equalities


In the light of Huizinga’s conceptualisation of play and Bakhtinian carnival theory, this article exemplifies the ludic-carnivalesque qualities of female masochism on China’s social media. Arguably, the joint venture of play and carnival frameworks allows a de-pathological account of female masochism under the male gaze and a reclaiming of the feminist agenda through the critical reading of abusive texts in the pan-entertaining digital era. Thus, the study fills a gap regarding non-sexual female masochistic pleasure in the literature of feminist studies. The article has found billingsgate language, or the language of marketplace, a fertile ground to investigate patriarchy and objectification. It contends that billingsgate language, which hails a ludic-carnivalesque exposure of present patriarchal biases against women and imbalanced gender power relations, is pregnant with a power of deconstruction that overturns present social orders in favour of gender equalities.

Author Biographies

Kunming Li, Jiangnan University

Kunming Li is a lecturer in the School of Foreign Studies at Jiangnan University, China. He received a Ph.D. degree from Tilburg University. His primary research areas are sociolinguistics, critical discourse studies and gender studies.

Jan Blommaert, Tilburg University

Jan Blommaert is professor of language, culture and globalisation and Director of the Babylon Center at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. He also holds appointments at Ghent University, Belgium and the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He is active in linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and literacy research, and primarily concerned with issues of language, culture and globalisation.


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How to Cite

Li, K., & Blommaert, J. (2020). ‘Please abuse me’: ludic-carnivalesque female masochism on Sina Weibo. Gender and Language, 14(1), 28–48. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.36436