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I've seen the tag floating around several times but looking 絡み up in the dictionary hasn't really helped.

From what I understand, 女絡み would literally mean 'a matter relating to/intertwined with women/a woman', but contextually it feels like it's used to say 'women troubles/problems'.

Could someone kindly step in and give an explanation about the context and usage of this?

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絡む's original usage is like below.

「つたが木に絡む。」: A vine wraps around a tree, and it is hard to take it away.

「ひもが絡む」: A thread tangles.

So, the original verb itself means slightly different. Something long and slim is going around and it is hard to remove or resolve.

There are some derived usages, 金が絡む事件 or 酔っぱらいが絡む.

金が絡む事件: An incident related to money.

酔っぱらいが他人に絡む: A drunken guy is hassling others.

In the former one, money is related to the incident, but in a way like a vine wrapping up a tree and is hard to remove. In the latter, a drunken guy is saying reasons and developing a connection with others like a vine.

Let's get back to the original phrase. 女絡みの is often translated as "something related to a woman/women" but these "a woman" and "related" have a little different nuance.

First of all, 女 means "a woman", but in this case it has sexual overtones. This is difficult to explain, but 女 is a word without politeness. For example,

20代の女性が殺された事件で、警察は逃げた60代の女の行方を追っています。: Relating to an incident that a woman in her 20's was killed, the police is looking for a woman in 60's who escaped. (A common phrase in news programs. They change 女性 and 女 to indicate that the woman is suspected.)

女 is an expression without politeness, and an abstract idea of an attribute. The reason to refer to something that way sometimes indicates sexual overtones. (You may also say 男絡み.) So, there is an expression like,

彼には女がいる: He has an intimate woman (which suggests it is extramarital). (The direct translation is "There is a woman for him.", but this phrase suggests dirtier relationship. You may also say 男がいる.)

Next is 絡む. It is basically like a vine. So, 女 is deeply related to every part, and it is hard to understand its structure. It is not possible to get rid of it even though 女 makes the situation worse, confusing and complex.

Example:

女絡みで会社を辞めた。

This is basically means "He quitted related to a woman." But, this translation is not precise because of what I've explained above. It is not a certain woman but more abstract woman-related-thing which deeply entangled to the situation and was not easy to fix. So, I expect a complex trouble occurred.

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    I agree with your overall argument, but I think that the news article example is confusing because the usage of 女 in this example does not have any implications about sexual relationship as far as I can tell. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 12 '15 at 10:55
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Informal suffix [絡]{がら}み means “related to,” and therefore 女絡み indeed means “related to women.” But the word 女絡み is mostly used to talk about problems related to women as in 女絡みの事件. I am not sure why, but it is maybe because suffix 絡み itself is often used to describe something undesirable.

Although [絡]{から}む sometimes refers to physical relationship (as in 男女の絡みを描いた小説), the usage in question is different from this. For example, in 女絡みの事件, the two related things are the incident and a woman.

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    Yes, most uses of 〜絡みの are undesirable, or have at least a slightly undesirable nuance, like a minor inconvenience. 仕事絡みの用事, お金絡みの問題, 子供絡みの相談, etc. Also 宗教絡みの人, which is never ever used in a good way! – mirka Oct 11 '15 at 4:37
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    わっ、めっちゃおひさ!あっ所在地が日本になってる!Welcome back~~ – Chocolate Oct 13 '15 at 4:12

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