“How can he be so average, yet so full of confidence?”
That baffled line about the male psyche, delivered by 28-year-old stand-up comedian Yang Li last year, has become a catch-phrase for feminists in China. In the face of widespread sexism, it was a moment of public pushback that is becoming less rare.
“Men are so mysterious,” Yang said, feigning a confused look on her face as she elaborated cuttingly about men’s self-involvement at the online comedy show Rock and Roast. “Unlike women, who always think of themselves as unimportant, men always think of themselves as the center of the universe. Every single sentence from men carries utmost importance, and points out the right direction in which the world should advance.”
“Average-yet-confident” has swiftly been taken up by women desperate to describe their experiences of men with outsized egos who are oblivious to the privileges associated with their gender. On Weibo, users used it to share their annoyance. “A male classmate who is attending the same online class as me changed his online bio to: ‘I am in a relationship, please don’t hit on me.’ He is really the champion of all ‘average-yet-confident’ males!” one user wrote.
Such catchphrases have been a long time coming for women in China. While terms deriding men’s behavior have been gaining traction in the west for years, observers say China is now coining its own phrases, thanks in part to comedians like Yang pushing the envelope.
“In the English-language