Masculinity and Culture
As an aspect of a culture, masculinity indicates the degree to which a society leans towards masculine characteristics. Masculinity is a dimension in Hofstede’s cultural model, which can help us better understand cultures. A high score on this dimension indicates the adoption of more masculine traits than feminine ones. On the other hand, more feminine countries, the one with low scores, are considered to show more feminine traits. This dimension differentiates between competitiveness and cooperativeness in national cultures.
In a masculine society, members tend to be assertive and competitive. Winnings and achievements are indicative of success. Material awards are valued over non-material ones and competition over material objects is more common. High masculinity also means showing strength rather than emotion. In these cultures, people follow a leader and the leader is the person who make the final decisions. In compare to feminine cultures, a masculine one is less considerate of the group’s opinions, therefore, reaching a consensus may seldom be a priority. Among countries with high masculinity scores are China, South Africa, Germany, Mexico, and Colombia while countries such as Australia, India, Iran, and Turkey are among less masculine societies.
A feminine culture consider consensus an important part of society dynamic. Feminine societies tend to care for the weak. In addition, members work together towards an achievement rather than compete over achieving a goal. Showing emotions is not seen as weakness and quality of life is emphasized over material objects. Thus, non-material awards are also valuable to members. Modesty and cooperation are among the characteristics of a feminine society. Unlike masculine cultures where work comes first, more feminine cultures value work-life balance. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway scored low on masculinity in Hofstede’s research. These societies are more feminine.
How does it affect communication?
In a masculine society, power tends to be distributed unevenly. Therefore, it may be smart to spot the decision maker and address them. A presentation that disregards the person with more power or undermines their authority may lead to communication or business failure. On the contrary, in a more feminine society, where people consult with each other and make decisions together, a presentation which addresses the needs and wishes of the group can successfully appeal to its audience. Preferential treatment may interest a masculine society, but collective values need to be considered in a feminine one.