When it came to long-term orientation, I knew that I was raised differently than those around me. However, there are some differences that I never realized. I was never aware of the differences from how I was raised compared to how my friends must have been raised in terms of femininity, for example. After reading about Hofstede’s research and looking up the places I lived, I realized that there was a large difference between where I was raised in and where have lived in terms of how modest our cultures are.
This hasn’t been a realization just for me. Instead, it is mentioned that the masculinity/femininity dimension is the most controversial of the five original dimensions of national cultures. It took time to recognize that national values differ dramatically on this dimension (144). Perhaps, because they are subtle differences the society has only started to acknowledge recently.
Generally, it is said that the feminine national cultures tend to value modesty, tenderness and emotions in both genders. The kids are raised with less competitive values, rather they are thought to be useful in the overall society (165). From whenever I was a kid in school, I was aware of what is the norm when it comes to studying. While excelling was encouraged from some teachers, it was never encouraged in a class setting. If a teacher wanted for a student to do extra work, it would be arranged after class, and would cause jealousy in others and these offers would rarely be accepted by the students. The classes were thought in a way that the weakest kid in class could follow, the strongest were encouraged either to listen and stay put or help the others to keep up. This goes hand in hand with some of the differences associated to a feminine society.
This, when I look back, partly explains to me why there are very little people who aim for more, who want to develop things further and learn more about a topic. Competition is not encouraged, students are not expected to learn or achieve much more, nor they are encouraged to do so, at least not often. The practicality is thought, and excellence is not over-promoted, causing for others not to seek out this goal.
After moving to Italy I was immediately placed in a school where excelling was everything and failing was considered a disaster. The kids were from all over the world, selected from each country and all thriving for excellence together. The students were competitive, asking for extra credit, additional challenges and similar things that I didn’t even think about. Quite a few of these students are my favorite people. There was no jealousy targeted at those who were excellent – they were rather admired and existed as role models. While I would still refuse to do extra work, I was more encouraged to learn, read more about the things I learned about and really think about the ways I could really excel in what I do.
This seeking for advancement, challenge and therefore recognition has been a new value that was encouraged by the way I was thought in the international environment of a country with a highly masculine cultural values. However, while I might have acquired new cultural values, my modesty has remained, and I stay skeptical to the masculine assertiveness.