Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cultural Masculinity/Femininity

Masculinity and femininity are social constructs that vary culture to culture. Dutch social psychologist Gerard Hendrik Hofstede is popularly known for his comparison of cultures based on several values, including power distance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus femininity, uncertainty avoidance index, long-term orientation versus short-term orientation, and indulgence versus restraint. A quick break-down of each follows:

-Power distance index: the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally

-Individualism vs. collectivism : degree to which people in a society are integrated into groups

-Masculinity vs. femininity: a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success

-Uncertainty avoidance index: a society's tolerance for ambiguity

- Long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation: he connection of the past with the current and future actions/challenges

- Indulgence vs. restraint : a society that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human desires related to enjoying life and having fun

According to the Hofstede scale, the United states value for the masculinity dimension is 62 (on a 0-120 range). The highest ranking on the masculinity dimension is Japan at 95 and the lowest being Sweden at 5.

THIS LINK allows viewers to compare countries on all dimensions of the scale.

Seeing how the numbers compare country to country allowed me to make since of certain demographics of countries. For example, Japan’s high suicide rate is likely related to their high value of masculinity and competition. Sweden on the other is classified as having a feminine society, but the lowered pressure of competition and the acceptance of compromise, makes for a lowered suicide rate. See Clearly Cultural: Masculinity for more. 

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