Male perceptions of body image in Taiwan


A few years ago, researchers started with "muscle dysmorphia" and body-image perceptions in the United States and Europe and wondered whether the same problems afflict Taiwanese men. Listen for the results. But don't be confused by the chicken meat (肌肉).

Sean Cole interviews Taiwanese pop star A-Mèi for her opinion. I remember a story in CNN some years ago on the singer, and it referred to her as "Ms. Mei".

Um, that's not right.

In Taiwanese, the "A-" prefix is used to form nicknames; compare English which appends "-y" for the same purpose. In English, "Mike" becomes "Mikey"; in Taiwanese, "Huì-Mèi" becomes "A-Mèi". If you want to refer to her formally, it's "Ms. Chang". Using "Ms. Mei" would be like referring to the musician Eddie Van Halen as "Mr. Ed".

Comments (9)
  1. Hamilton Lovecraft says:

    Doesn’t, or didn’t, the New York Times refer to the musician Meat Loaf as “Mr. Loaf” on second reference?

  2. sean says:

    Was the Ed in Mr. Ed the horse’s firstname or his surname?

  3. Mitch says:

    Have you <i>seen</i> any recent pictures of Eddie?  Yikes!

  4. dislyxec says:

    Heh, I’m american born taiwanese (my mandarin and taiwanese are pretty crappy), and I had no clue what the mandarin for "muscle" was. When I heard it, I thought he was saying chicken.

    The chinese characters you have up there is not "chicken meat". Chicken is a different character: http://www.zhongwen.com/d/194/d251.htm

    http://www.zhongwen.com/d/166/d217.htm (which you have listed) actually means muscle.

  5. Your analogy is broken.  A-Mèi does not use her last name professionally.  Imagine a singer named "Princey" — the analogy becomes "it’s like calling ‘Princey’ ‘Mr. Prince’", which seems perfectly appropriate.

  6. Fabian says:

    Can I suggest that in Austrlaia -o is quite common for nicknames?

    e.g. Robbo, Johno, etc.

  7. Daniel- says:

    chicken meat is 雞肉; muscle is 肌肉.

  8. chicken meat is 鸡肉(simplified Chinese)

    chicken meat is 雞肉 (traditional Chinese)

    muscle is 肌肉 (simplified Chinese)

  9. Phil Robo says:

    Actually in the Southern US it was common for household staff and polite children to refer to people with Mr or Miss and their first name.  If your name were Ed White a stranger or business acquaintance would call you Mr. White but your butler and the children in Sunday School would call you Mr. Ed.  Only family would call you Ed.  For an example, see the movie "Driving Miss Daisy".

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