What’s the tea on “green tea bitch” 綠茶婊 luk6 cha4 biu2, anyway?
In case you were wondering, it’s not quite the same as “basic bitch” in English. Urban Dictionary defines it as follows: “An internet slang used to describe a young woman that likes to dress and act in a certain fashion in order to portray herself as pure and innocent — i.e. like green tea.”
It starts to get pretty misogynistic from there: apparently, a green tea bitch is, in reality, a gold-digger who will attempt to reach higher stations in life by sexual means, or by simply being a bitch. They’re also characterized as attention seekers, and being obsessed with their self-image, particularly on social media.
There are different schools of thought on where the “green tea” part of this expression comes from. Some say it’s because green tea commercials in the region typically depict “innocent-looking” models, in order to push the product as “fresh” and “pure”.
The term first emerged around 2013 on the internet in Mainland China when a group of female actors and models was exposed for working as paid escorts for high-powered figures.
Unfortunately, the Cantonese language is filled with sexist expressions. This one has stuck, joining the ranks of 收兵 sau bing. and 小三 siu saam It has also entered the English slang world, though it is still most frequently used in the Chinese-speaking world. It seems the long-standing history of a preference for boys in Chinese culture — and subsequent sexism towards girls — has lingered even in modern times. So perhaps the best thing for us to do? Stop making green tea bitch a thing.