Masculinity and Femininity, As They Relate to Culture
Masculinity and femininity, as they relate to culture, do not necessarily align with how we t raditionally think about the two constructs. Rather, when Hofstede (2001) identified this di mension, he conceptualized it as the degree to which cultural traditions and norms either v alue achievement and have well- defined gender roles (masculine cultures) or value equality, concern for others and the envi ronment, and have more flexible gender roles (feminine cultures). In more masculine count ries (such as Japan, Italy, and Venezuela; Hofstede, 2001), assertiveness and materialism ar e prized over cultivating interpersonal relationships. In contrast, more feminine countries ( for example, Sweden, Costa Rica, and Thailand; Hofstede, 2001) value nurturing behaviors, interdependence with others, and sexual equality. The United States ranks in the middle of this dimension, with a score leaning more toward the masculinity side of the range (Hofste de, 2001). These preferences can extend into the exam room: research has found those who have cultural masculinity prefer “closed communication behaviors” in their health patient– provider interactions, meaning that there is not a preference for patient- centered communication (Wilby, Govaerts, Austin, & Dolmans, 2017).
Culture and Media
Communication scholars agree that both mass media and social media are not only primary tools for information transmission but are also reflections of culture (Bybee, 2008). Today, due to their growing and ever- changing nature, media are more central to and interdependent with culture than ever befo re. Mass media usually include one-way information transmissions— such as newspapers, television, radio, or an informational website— or interactive media such as social media, mobile phone technology, or video gaming. The I nternet, on the other hand, is a channel through which mass media can inform the public or through which digital interpersonal communication (such as social media) can take place. Culture and mass and social media are interrelated in three ways:
- Media can provide a range of details about the issues that matter to a specific society. • Media can reflect dominant cultures and co-cultures. • Media can help individuals learn about their cultures, themselves, and others’ cultures.
First, we learn about our own culture’s politics, social issues, health information, popular m ovies, television shows, websites, and products and services via the media. As media consu mers, we are discerning about which form of media we prefer as sources of information for particular cultural issues. For example, U.S. adults’ preferred source of information about th e 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as healthcare reform) was
magazine articles, whereas interpersonal information from sources such as friends and fam ily members was viewed as less satisfying and more difficult to obtain (Bevan, Sparks, Erns t, Francies, & Santora, 2013). However, when it comes to food choice and food safety, we te nd to place value on interpersonal communication with friends, family members, and healt h providers (International Food Information Council, 2018).
Second, though the dominant culture, by definition, has the greatest control and influence o ver the media (consider the FCC example discussed in the previous section), aspects of any number of co- cultures can also be portrayed in the media. For example, many residents of southern state s were upset about how their co- culture was being depicted on television programs such as MTV’s Buckwild and TLC’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (both now canceled). Third, media globalization means that individuals can use various forms of media to learn a bout and adapt to different cultures (Croucher, 2011). Consider the fact that the 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians, filmed in Singapore and Malaysia, grossed $174.5 million in the U.S. box office with a majority Asian and Asian- American cast (Box Office Mojo, n.d.; IMDB, n.d.). In turn, this led to a spike in individuals in terested in visiting Singapore (Hod, 2018). These examples highlight how media can be use d to open a population’s minds to the norms and experiences of different cultures. In fact, e xposure to TV or film media that features characters from a culture different than one’s ow n positively influences audience’s perceptions of that culture (Vincze & Harwood, 2013). Social media also uniquely transmit and reflect culture, though, unlike mass media, membe rs of a culture or population can all produce and engage with this type of mediated content. Individuals can use social media to communicate with other members of their culture, inter act with their dominant culture, and learn about and acculturate to new cultures (Croucher, 2011). For example, some researchers (Johnson, Tudor, & Nuseibeh, 2013) argue that Twit ter is a useful form of social media for engaging in political protest for five reasons; Twitter is
- quick, providing real-time information in 280 characters or less 2. free 3. personal 4. highly mobile and resistant to government control 5. capable of providing users with anonymity (p. 129)