intransitive "represent"

Mai Kuha mkuha at BSUVC.BSU.EDU
Tue Mar 12 20:34:30 UTC 2002

Last night, I unintentionally ended up semi-watching the Fear Factor again
(I was working on something and didn't bother to get up to turn the TV off
when this show came on), and heard an intransitive use of "represent".

This probably isn't news to anyone else, but, just in case, these are the
examples: a contestant who is one of the Backstreet Boys (it was a
celebrity Fear Factor) explained twice that he has to "represent for the
Backstreet Boys" or face dire social consequences. On a previous show,
when there was only one male contestant left to compete against two women,
the host told him: "You're the only guy left! You have to represent!"

A search on "intransitive represent" at turns up an
illuminating prescriptive rant which suggests that this use is at least a
few years old. What I'm curious about is that all the examples I've seen
or heard were produced by men. Has anyone heard a woman say she has to


Mai Kuha                mkuha at
Department of English   (765) 285-8410
Ball State University

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