ⓘ Nowhere girls


ⓘ Nowhere girls

Nowhere girls or Mei Nu is a neologism coined to describe women who have no money, no job, no education, no prospects, no looks, no friends and no sophistication. The pinyin and pronunciation of "nowhere girls" is the same as that of "beautiful girls" in Putonghua.

The term is used to characterise those women who refuse to conform to male expectations and are therefore thought to be unattractive by men, and has strong pejorative connotations. A calque of a South Korean term, it spread to Hong Kong via China, and became popularised through its use in a reality show called Nowhere Girls, which was broadcast by Television Broadcasts Limited. This show has aroused much public discussion on this topic.


1. Description

In the TV programme Nowhere Girls, women are called "nowhere girls" because they are lazy, selfish, short-tempered, rude to others, unfashionable and self-deluded.


2. Characteristics

  • Unemployed or have low income
  • Lack social competence
  • Dependent
  • Dont conform to traditional expectations of beauty
  • Self-centered, deny any problems of themselves
  • Emotional or short-tempered
  • Tend to escape reality

3. Causes


As nowhere girls experience distinct family affairs, leaving them psychologically-hurt. Moreover, Hong Kong has low birth rates from time to time, leading to single-child families. They become the treasure of their parents. They are pampered and spoiled, which results in weakened coping abilities. In addition, children nowadays engage in less communication with their parents who are always out for work, and thus children receive less parental mental support.


Nowhere girls do not conform to traditional notions of beauty. In addition, they are self-centered and short-tempered. It is difficult for them to engage in the society with appropriate communication and to cooperate with others. As they are spoiled by their parents, they lack essential skills like problem-solving skills. Therefore, they do not appeal to employers and thus cannot find a job, while they insist that it is a social discrimination.


4.1. Effects Low self-esteem

Nowhere girls become less confident and inferior in front of their friends and families because they are not appreciated. For instance, the participants in the Nowhere Girls show cried frequently in front of the camera. They were being teased in the cyber world. in which their background informations were being disclosed in the public. In severe cases, they may suffer from depression or psychological illnesses.


4.2. Effects Socially withdrawn

Nowhere girls are less willing to engage in social activities. They prefer being alone instead of participating in social gatherings to avoid any embarrassment. They have low sense of connection with their social circles. Moreover, they may undergo difficulties in meeting new friends as they are not being recognised.


4.3. Effects High family pressure

Most of the nowhere girls are either single or unmarried. Their parents will be anxious about their marital status as Chinese people values marriage. They will be pressurised to find their partners as soon as possible. This brings them great pressure in fulfilling their parents expectations, and also deteriorates their family relationships.


4.4. Effects Pessimistic attitude towards life

Nowhere girls hold negative attitudes towards their futures. They perceive their life as unfortunate. Therefore, they always think pessimistically since they consider their lives as hopeless. Lacking of security in their family will further result in their inclination into pessimism.


5.1. Media TV programme

Nowhere Girls Chinese: 沒女大翻身 is a reality show produced by Television Broadcasts Limited. It was broadcast in August 2014 and there are 20 episodes in total. The show focuses on seven women who are described as "have nots" and each of them is said to represent one of "seven deadly sins", including laziness, selfishness, ugliness and being a recent mainland immigrant etc. This programme stirred up much controversy since it discriminated against so-called "Mei Nu" and brought out wrong messages – "makeovers, working with fitness trainers and life coaches can lead to better lives" to the audience.

There were also suspicions that seven women got paid to act and some incidents were staged. Moreover, the show hurt the professional image of psychologists in Hong Kong because Wong Hoi-man, who is a clinical psychologist and the guest counsellor of Nowhere Girls, handled cases in improper ways. It led to misunderstandings towards therapeutic techniques of qualified psychologists.