“Asking For It”

When someone uses the term “asking for it,” I always end up instinctually translating it:


zi zhao de

There’s no better Chinese equivalent.

If you break down the individual words, it means “self looked” or “self found”.  You looked for and found it, and in turn bestowed/inflicted it upon yourself.


My mom tosses this phrase around a lot for various predicaments.

If I didn’t bundle up enough and thus catch a cold?


If I stay up late and sleep through my alarm?


It’s so concise. So easy to just offhandedly toss out there as a label for the cause of an effect.

If my high school friends abandon me because they found my personality too confrontational?


If boys were mean to me because I wasn’t demure enough for their tastes?


The problem with such easily utterable phrasing is soon its usage becomes inconsiderate, destructively commonplace.

If someone walks through the streets wearing revealing clothing and gets sexually harassed

Is that “自找的”

If someone gets shot up by the police because they “appeared” intimidating whether by their choice of attire or color of their skin

Is that “自找的”

If someone makes an innocuous assumption and someone else of less privilege pays the consequences

are you going to continue say it’s “自找的”

If apathy comes back and bites you in the ass one day

is that somehow “自找的”

Or are you gonna blame someone else


Funny how 自 is the first word, but how often does the utterer of this phrase use it reflexively? They’re actually usually saying it about others, the selves that are other people.

When you’re the one enduring a difficult situation, maybe sometimes you’ll resignedly say “it was my fault “自找的”. But I hope to God that in situations when you’re a victim, when it wasn’t “自找的” that you’ll shoot down whoever dares say it otherwise.


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