The Echoes of the Mind (157-4) Cultural Gender Orientation

Cultural Gender Orientation

The gender orientation of societies illustrates social evolution. In masculine cultures, positive traits include power, assertiveness, materialism, ambition, and competitiveness. Less valued are the feminine virtues of affection, compassion, nurturance, and emotionality.

Masculine nations include Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Columbia, the Philippines, and England. Islamic countries are also highly masculine. Feminine countries include Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Finland, Chile, Peru, Portugal, and Thailand.

Masculine countries have few women in the work force, and afford females fewer civil rights, such as taking rape as a serious crime.

Androgynous cultures result in higher levels of self-esteem, social competence, and intellectual development for both males and females. Social harmony is improved, including greater permissiveness in consensual sexual behavior. There is less tension between the sexes.

People live longer in egalitarian countries. Stress levels are, on average, less. At least some of this comes from not repressing emotions as a matter of practice, which men are especially prone to in masculine cultures.

The contrast of gender orientation in human cultures resembles bonobo versus chimpanzee sociality. Chimps live in male-dominated societies that are more stressful than bonobos, where females are dominant. Bonobos are more cooperative, and quite fond of sex for its bonding quality. Bonobos lack the edgy aggressiveness of chimps.