Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cross-Cultural Attention Needs

My previous post was a caveat for the answer I'm about to give to this question that I was asked in the comments section of a former post:

"NINPO said...

Hello Shari,

I enjoyed reading your blog. I am a Japanese male living in Japan who had some experiences overseas. I'd like to state that its the social dating expectation that guys react to. When I was in Canada I would usually say the jokes that girls wanted to hear and be gentle and all that. Its because the dating scene expects that from guys.

When Im in Japan, I do not have to worry about pampering girls etc (although, Japanese girls love being pampered) and can relax more. I am not sure if that's because I am Japanese. I find that if I am with a western girl I always would have to give her attention and satisfy her and it kinda tires me. I have an Italian friend who married a Japanese and he says that Italian girls always asks for attention and its too much.

Why are guys in the west expected as a norm to pamper their woman and give her attention all the time? or am I being too general? What do you think. Would love to hear your opinion."

I loved this question because it got me thinking all evening and I want to thank Ninpo both for taking the time to read my blog and writing this comment. It offered a perspective on women I would never have considered and brought up an issue I'd never read about before.

I believe that the differences in the attention women in America (I can't speak for other Western countries) and Japan are the effects of several different broad factors.

1. The type of woman you are pursuing.

There are high maintenance and low maintenance people. One of my husband's former girlfriends in the U.S. didn't require that much attention or interaction. In fact, she sometimes felt overwhelmed by his demands on her attention. They were simply rather mismatched on their attention needs. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with either of them, but just that they were different.

I also believe that the age and attractiveness of the woman being pursued is an issue. Younger women require more attention than older ones. Women who consider themselves very attractive in their culture will feel as though they are due more attention because, frankly, they often get more of it as men compete for their favor. From a cultural viewpoint, I wonder if Japanese aesthetics may play a part in this. That is, I think Japanese people aren't quite as shallow when it comes to imperfections as Western folks and the bar isn't set so high on being considered "acceptably attractive" (good enough to marry or date) in Japan compared to the West where the consumerist culture is constantly encouraging everyone to scrutinize their appearance and find every last little detail lacking so they'll buy products to improve themselves.

I base my assertion about Japan on the fact that not everyone has to have perfect teeth (and I've been told that some people think crooked teeth are "cute") and the general aversion to plastic surgery in Japan. It has always seemed to me that the Japanese were more realistic about what people should look like and that Western standards are getting more and more out of hand to fuel various cosmetics industries.

Attractive women in the West may feel they deserve and can command more attention based on how many standard deviations they are above other women whereas women in Japan may not see themselves as so significantly different from other women on an attractiveness scale. That's not to say there aren't women who are clearly more attractive than others but just that the most beautiful Japanese women may see themselves as two cuts above average whereas the most beautiful Western woman may see herself as 5 ranks higher than average.

2. The communication styles of the country.

Ambiguity is something which is not only a part of Japanese communication, but actually sometimes admirable and desirable. One of the greatest frustrations for Western folks is the tendency among Japanese people not to say what they mean, but rather to be vague and figure we will reach the proper conclusion based on commonly known interpretations for particular types of vague language.

Generally speaking, I believe you can say also that this comfort with ambiguity breeds a tolerance for incomplete understanding and communication. Japanese people may be more comfortable not knowing exactly where they stand in a relationship because they are used to dealing with such "fuzzy" boundaries.

In regards to attention and American women, receiving attention is a constant stream of communication that you are cared about and important. Since Western folks like clear communication and firmly understood boundaries (without them, some people get anxious about the status of a relationship), constant attention, especially early on in a relationship or during the courtship phase, keeps it clear that you maintain a strong interest in the other person. If the attention starts to wane, the communication will be that you are losing interest. I will note that this is a situation that changes with greater security and experience in a relationship though it never goes away.

3. The status and power of women relative to men in the country on the whole.

While the lot of women in Japan has improved a lot, they still are not equal or even seen as as valuable to society as men. If your culture informs you that you have less value, you will sublimate your needs to the needs of the person who is seen as more valuable. You can see women constantly yielding to men on many levels in life in Japan and men asserting their right to come first. From serving tea and coffee to being relegated to support work in companies to women being expected to move aside while walking on a crowded street so the man can walk on through uninterrupted, women's needs often come second to men's. In that sort of culture, women don't even think about asserting their needs. In fact, I think that their primary mindset is not about themselves but about serving others. That is absolutely not a statement that women are subservient. However, I do believe that women are indoctrinated in all cultures (though more so in Japan) to think first of others and last of themselves.

Additionally, people without power, and the unequal situation for men and women in Japan means women have far less power than men, do not go around making demands. Women are still seriously economically disadvantaged if they do not marry and that means men have the power in relationships. The men give the support. The women need it. If you're in the position, you're hardly in a place where you can demand attention as you know your options are limited.

I think American women feel that they have the power to demand what they want because they can make their way economically on their own without serious disadvantage. If they don't get what they want, they'd just as soon be alone or move on to someone who will give them what they want. The more equitable situation (though still not equal) gives them the power to act on their needs and wishes.

4. The expectations and ideas of a relationships and marriage that are common in the culture.

Marriage in Japan is really quite different from that in the U.S. First and foremost, and I know people are going to take issue with me for this, but I can't go against a tide of discussions about this topic with Japanese people, Japanese people view marriage more pragmatically than Americans. They see it as a life partnership for creating a successful family. It is more akin to a "business" linking when you compare it to Western ideals.

That is not to say that there is no love or passion in Japanese marriages. I'm only saying that the primary consideration is the success of the partnership. Every time I discuss this topic with a Japanese person, the idea of a "love" relationship to them is "ideal" but is second to forming a partnership with someone who is capable of fulfilling their necessary role for a successful future family. That is, men have to be capable of being good breadwinners and women have to be capable of supporting the men as needed (by doing whatever suits their mutually-agreed upon goal). For Japanese people, by and large, the future is the focus, not the passion of the moment.

For American folks, the passion of the moment is the focus and the future will fall into place later. They feel that "love will find a way" and often discard notions of obstacles and pursue their feelings in even the most imprudent situations (such as falling in love with married people or people with fatal character flaws and problems). With this focus on passion comes the need for attention. If you aren't paying attention, you aren't passionate and the other person doesn't feel special or that you're really loving them.

Tangentially related to this, I believe that the nature of men's and women's roles in the culture also play a part. American society has very flexible roles. People tend to relate in individualistic and idiosyncratic ways whereas the roles in Japan are more traditional and easy to fit into. A good husband in Japan knows what he must do to be a success in that role as does a good wife in her role. The benefit of this situation is that each party can fulfill the others expectations by fulfilling society's commonly-held expectations. There's no need for husbands or boyfriends to deliver flowers and chocolates or go out for romantic dinners on a regular basis to be a "good husband" as both parties accept that his role is to work hard so his family can live well and be a kind person. In the U.S., each couple defines their relationship as they see fit and that often requires a lot more communication. The American situation is fraught with insecurity because of this lack of solid boundaries for what is "good" or "bad" in a relationship. That insecurity leads to the need for a lot more attention.

In Japan, the other main point I think is that the women's future focus is on their children rather than their husbands. Women here tend to get their emotional satisfaction as mothers more so than as wives. In the U.S., the relationship between the husband and wife is the one that primarily fulfills needs, not the one between parent and child. This is because the family in Japan is seen as an eternal unit with interconnecting responsibilities that will last throughout lifetimes, but in the U.S., kids are expected to become independent after 18 or college. American parents can't rely on an emotional bond with their kids that will sustain them, but they (hope to) rely on their spouses. Generally speaking, husbands and wives or life partners rely on each other more for their happiness in the U.S. and that means they need a lot more interaction and attention.

One final note I'd like to add is that, I don't think it's only women in the U.S. who need more attention. I think men in the U.S. need more attention as well, but men in general are more self-absorbed and tend to be content with non-verbal attention. Men essentially require a different form of attention so they don't recognize it as being any special need, but it is there as well. They recognize it in women mainly because it's not what they need so it strikes them as a hassle to provide. The perception that women require more attention than men is compounded by the fact that women tend to more readily and seamlessly offer men the forms of attention they need without complaint or prodding since they are socialized to be more other-directed. That being said, there is almost certainly a relationship between men's need for certain types of "attention" and complaints about women not wanting to have sex often enough and not "nurturing" them well enough (e.g., cooking, cleaning). The only difference is that men see what they need as being "natural" and what women need as being "unusual."


Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm an American male who stumbled upon your blog while searching for perspectives from long term residents of Japan. I'm going to be studying for a semester in Hikone, and while I have absolutely no intention of becoming a "Charisma Man", I find your observations on relationships extremely interesting. While I personally believe that having a long-term partnership with or marrying a Japanese woman would have too many cultural barriers to easily foster a candid and fulfilling relationship, I can also see how "Western" women can be intimidating to Japanese men.

Still, as for the Japanese guys I've met in the U.S., I feel that some of them shoot themselves in the foot whenever a Western woman is clearly interested in them. I mean, even in post-sexual revolution America a woman who initiates a date is rare enough, so could the passive qualities of the idealized Japanese woman be the main factor in making him nervous? I've always pondered why there are far more Western men dating Asian women than vice versa. If there weren't probably more American men than women traveling to Japan, and the generalization about Japanese men being more feminine was non-existent, is the reason because American men are more used to interacting with more assertive women, and so comparatively Japanese women are "easy"? I was also wondering about the suggestion that Japanese women have less hierarchical beauty standards that American women. Is this due to the relative homogeneous population of Japan, or that physical beauty factors into the overall considered attractiveness of an American woman more than nurturing characteristics? Or is it just a Japanese cultural quirk as to not seek confrontation so long as the "nail that must be hammered down" is about the same height as every other nail? I remember enduring the social agony of braces alongside a ton of other kids, as all our parents knew that crooked and gap-toothed smiles would condemn us to a lifetime of hick stereotypes. So would a Japanese girl who naturally had say, "foreign" eyes that would otherwise be considered attractive, be discriminated against for creating a rift between her and other women? Arguably in America, many of us have a tradition of one-upping even our friends to a degree I've never seen in a Japanese person. But it's considered friendly confrontation...although everyone of us knows of pretty ugly break-ups too...

On a personal note, I think that maybe Japan needs a sexual reformation where Japanese women are empowered to be more assertive in relationships as well as the workplace. There's something unsettling to me when I see "Charisma Men" types emotionally manipulating the natures of women raised in their home cultures. As much as this stinks of an isolationist Western bias, if I dated a Japanese woman, I'd like her to be less of a doll and more of a person who can hold her own with me. I think that such change would ultimately benefit Japanese men as well. Sure, a lot of American women are materialistic, but there's a hell of a lot of them that aren't who are into good causes. Plus, from what I've heard of Shibuya 109 gals, some Japanese may be a step ahead of the U.S. when it comes to materialistic attention seekers. If all of us could throw aside all our generalizations, I'm sure a lot of these relationship issues would be sorted out.

Sorry for dragging on until the lines crashed and became a disorderly mess. You've got a great blog, and I'm not the type to normally read blogs. Best of luck teaching English, and hopefully showing off America's good side ;)

Sherry said...

I very much agree with everything you have said.

I would also add that in Japan the woman tends to be the one who is responsible for the romance and romantic gestures in a relationship. The one who is supposed to lavish attention on the man. Look at Valentine's Day. Yes, there is White Day created by marketing, but how many men actually do anything? Being romantic is generally the woman's job here and the man just sits back and reaps the rewards of it. There are no demands on him to demonstrate his love and affection because that is the girl's job. Somehow the fact that he lets her do those things for him is supposed to show his affection for her.

In countries like America, there is more of the idea that the man pursues the woman and to win her over he has to be romantic and lavish attention on her.

Also, there is the fact that many marriages are still arranged in Japan. I am sure there is love and maybe passion in these marriages, but like you said it is undertaken more like we might undertake a business arrangement with very specific goals and expectations regarding what you are supposed to do in your role. When Japanese people have passionate, "love" relationships it seems to happen when they are very young and with people they have no intentions of ever marrying for various reasons, the main reason I suspect being that their family finds that person unacceptable marriage material. In those relationships I think Japanese women can be very demanding and attention seeking. If the man in question doesn't give them what they want, they move on. Until it is time to settle down and marry, then their expectations change.

Shari said...

Hi, anonymous, and many thanks for your comment. You had some very interesting observations and actually said a thing or two which I didn't, but did consider saying. I'm just as happy you said them instead of me though.

I do believe, as you mentioned, that the beauty issue may be related to the relative similarity in appearance among Japanese people. I hesitated to say that because it can be very easily misinterpreted to sound like "all Japanese look alike," when what it really means is that it's harder to differentiate many increments of "beauty" when people have a greater number of similar physical characteristics. However, as you pointed out, the desire not to appear greatly different probably is a big part of this as well. You don't tend to get as much style variation here as back home. Women are less likely to adopt radically different looks that may make them really shine in terms of their beauty, especially if those choices are unique and may be looked askance at in the workplace.

While I'd agree there needs to be a sexual revolution, I don't think Japanese women are not asserting themselves in relationships. I think they simply aren't developing a mindset which has them even recognizing their needs. It's not even on the radar for them because of how they're socialized. This relates not only to women's roles but the fact that individuality (and thereby individual needs) is supposed to be sublimated. In a male-dominated society, the dominant gender's needs are met invisibly as they come as part of the whole package of societal expectations and individual needs (in this case, women's) are kept contained as they are not so strongly woven into the cultural fabric as part of the natural order or part of expected behavior. In essence, women quash any of such needs as they develop and see doing so as part of the maturation process.

You raise an interesting point about Western men possibly "taking advantage" of this nature in women. One thing I do believe is that Japanese men are also likely to not express their wishes openly as well. The main difference is that, in a male-dominated society, a man not expressing his wishes means far less than a woman not doing so. I've read some complaints by Japanese women who felt that their Western husbands were troublesome and demanded too much (sexual, in particular) attention from them, particularly after children were born and the women were attempting to focus their energy on the kids.

This topic is obviously very complex and I appreciate when folks like you take the time to offer their perspective. It's good food for thought.

Sherry: Hi there and many thanks for your very interesting comment. I hadn't considered that women were more responsible for the romance side in Japan since I've never been in a relationship with a Japanese man (I came here married to my American husband). It's a very important point, though it does seem very convenient for men. :-p I wonder if part of the reason for this is that men are supposed to be stoic and manly as a cultural ideal.

I also would concur that many marriages are still some form of "arranged marriage" (though not a traditional "omiai"), though it's hard to even mention that topic without having to spend a lot of time clarifing that it's not the old-fashioned situation most people envision. Even things like go-kon often carry an element of arranged meetings and are more about compatibility than putting two people together who could "fall in love."

I've talked to many students about "love" and you'd be surprised how many are not able to say they "love" their spouse. One of my students said she "didn't know" if she loved her husband but she got on well with him and felt they were quite compatible.

It's certainly a different kettle of fish. I try very hard not to make value judgments as I think that the situation "works" for Japan and Japanese society. I have no way of quantifying anyone's happiness and I don't know that one society's approach makes people happier than another ones. I can say that I know what I need and what works for me and the Japanese situation would not work for me personally.

Sherry said...

Hi, again,

As an American woman married to a Japanese man can I jump back in here and address the issues anon raises about Japanese men and foreign/American women?

Obviously, like Shari has gone to great efforts to point out, this is just my opinion so take it for what you will.

Yes, I think many Japanese men are intimidated by "western" women; however, probably not for the reasons you think. First I think language is an issue. The Charisma Men go to great lengths to learn Japanese and compete against others to show off how great they think their skill is for the sole purpose of chasing women, even when they can barely speak a word.

Japanese men, even those that speak English well, or some other foreign language, often aren't as bold or show-off about it. I think they sometimes feel a little insecure about their language ability so hesitate to approach women openly and try to speak to them in English. Also chatting up a women in a foreign language attracts attention that some men don't always feel comfortable receiving.

Then there is the fact that has been brought up repeatedly here. How relationships are formed, who lavishes attention on whom, the roles of the parties involved in the relationship, etc are all very different in Japan and America. I think many Japanese men are interested in foreign women but have no idea how to approach them. Also, often Japanese men don't even realize that a foreign woman is interested in them due to the different ways Japanese and American women have of expressing interest and the different ways that relationships tend to evolve here vs in the US, or wherever.

I personally know a lot of Japanese women that find "western" men's aggressive pursuit of them upsetting and frightening. American/foreign women tend to expect that boldness so when Japanese men take more subtle paths they think the guy isn't interested. The woman's lack of response to his attempts makes him think they aren't intersted in him.

Also, I am a little off put by your remark about Japanese men being generalized as more feminine, however you intended it. Who sees them as more feminine? White western guys? Generally speaking Japanese men are far less aggressive and argumentative, at least in public, than say their western counterparts. Is that feminine? Or is it just the product of being raised in a culture that places more importance on group harmony and getting along, being humble instead of showing off, and has a slightly different view of what being masculine means?

As for Japanese women being dolls, well, I think you would be surprised at how much power and control a Japanese woman has in a marriage, although it is different from the way a "western" women wields power.

badmoodmike said...

This is a very interesting subject.

In my past relationships, I have managed to get some of the most high-maintenance ladies that I could have imagined. They constantly required attention, so much so that they would call me multiple times during the day and need to talk about nothing. If I told them that I was in a meeting or busy, they would have a fit. Likewise, if I ignored the call, the would come unglued that I wasn't paying attention to them. If I did not constantly show up with a surprise gift every time I visited, like flowers or candy or jewelry, I was looked down upon as selfish and rude.

I think many western men would like a woman that doesn't require an extreme amount of attention or is not overly materialistic like the above and is willing to take the initiative in the more romantic endeavours. I think this because, frankly, us western men are lazy idiots. For some of us, we don't know what to do to please our mate because the pathways to their satisfaction are so narrowly defined. Some women only require love, faithfulness and an "I love you." every once and a while, while others need flowers, a massage and breakfast in bed daily or you are not loving enough.

Could it be that many western women put too much pressure on their mate for attention, which makes the more passive eastern women more desirable?

Don't get me wrong, it is not that some of us don't put any effort into the relationship, it is just that it is very difficult to decode the needs of some women. Sometimes their needs become a massive burden that interferes with normal, daily living.

From what I have gathered in Shari's blogs, her husband has the total package...a loving, devoted wife that doesn't require so much attention that he can't afford to give. He, on the other hand, is a devoted loving husband that tells her "I love you." several times a day, and doesn't have to constantly pepper her with gifts to show her affection.

My friend Chris has a similar situation. He and his wife, Katie, both love each other madly, but a simple "I love you." suffices to keep that bond aflame.

I think many a western man would kill to have a Shari or a Katie for their mate.

There really should be effort on both sides of the love equation, not just one.

Anonymous said...

Having been in serious relationships on both sides of the Pacific, I can say, without a doubt, I have no damn business ever getting married again.

But, I appreciate the dialogue here; interesting to see the different perspectives.

gaijinalways said...

I would disagree with you Sherry, and say that a lot of Japanese men are more feminine looking as opposed to Western men. Yes, you're correct, some apsects of it are behavioral, but I would also say appearance-wise many Japanese men are more feminine looking.

Things such as;

-less body hair
-generally smaller and less muscular
-thinner (sometimes thinner than the women they date)

tend to make them appear more feminine.

Beyond that, differences in approaches do make a difference and many Japanese women do seem less discerning in many cases (hence why I think that bald men here have a much better chance of dating and possibly marrying an attractive women). Though I do notice there is a fat phobia here sometimes, so being overweight and seeking a partner could be tough.

Shari said...

Badmoodmike: To be honest, I think I'm a high maintenance woman, but not in the way your former girlfriend is. I'm not materialistic at all. In fact, I don't like jewelry or perfume and collect nothing. Mainly, the attention I need is meaningful conversation.

You seem to have connected with some very insecure women. The calls several times a day even while you're at work ae a sign of that. I'd guess that'd mellow out after awhile, but I can see how it'd drive you crazy...and there's no guarantee it'd end. Sometimes I read about women who complain that the once romantic gestures their husbands made have disappeared, but I think that you can't expect that sort of stuff to go on forever. Eventually, you have to develop a relationship based on more meaningful contact rather than on short-term gestures.

Since I'm 43, and have been married for nearly 20 years, it's hard for me to have the proper empathy for single women in a dating relationships who want junk. I can say the only thing I ever wanted and still want is to spend time with my husband doing whatever (even playing computer games together or watching T.V.) and that's what he wants as well, so we're good.

Thanks for your kind words about me. I'm not sure I'm living up to what you said, but it's appreciated nonetheless.

Billywest: Your comment literally had my husband and I laughing out loud! Thanks for that.

gaijinalways: I've read that the "fat phobia" is something that is relative newish in Japanese culture. I heard that plumpish girls were more appealing up until about 25 years ago, but that was just from a few random students so it could simply have been their opinions.

I can say that I see a lot of diet ads for women who look perfectly fine (even thin or at "worst" average) who go on diets and become really skinny. It's a shame really. Once a culture starts to buy into all the consumerist crap about diet and exercise meant for aesthetics rather than health, eating disorders and the number of overweight people increase as body image gets distorted and people start to obsess over food.

Chris said...

I think you all over analyze.


B true 2 U!
The rest is gravy!!

Sherry said...

"I would also say appearance-wise many Japanese men are more feminine looking.

Things such as;

-less body hair
-generally smaller and less muscular
-thinner (sometimes thinner than the women they date)"

Really, I think that is a very broad and somewhat inaccurate generalization about Japanese men. Just like western men they come in all forms, shapes, and hairiness.

My husband and every man in his family are some of the hairiest men I have ever met. They are also very muscular, and while not tall by American standards they are not small either.

As for the thin thing, there are generally two reason, aside from genetics, that they are often so thin. One is that they are always working and rarely have time to eat. The second one is that for some strange reason Japense women, at least the young, fashionable ones, want men to be very thin. So, many men diet and become very thin for the women. They also do many things like keep their eyebrows and body hair trimmed or shaved because that is what Japanese women want.

I still think it is insulting, and maybe, dare I say it, even racist, to say that Japense men are feminine or feminine looking simply because they don't act like or look like a "western" guy.

Sherry said...

And, if you want to talk about body types as categories for making someone masculine or feminine, generally speaking "western" women have bigger breasts, wider hips, and rounder butts than Japense women.

So, are Japanese women less feminine and more masculine with their small chests, and flat narrow butts?

To hear many a foreign man in Japan tell it, Japanese women are far more feminine than "western" women.

Saying Japanese men are feminine because of the way they are built is as ridiculous and insulting as saying Japanese women are masculine because of their bodies. Or the other way around for "westerners."

Emsk said...

Hi Shari. Another interesting post, plus the comments here are also food for thought.

From what you say about American women wanting more attention and it translating into demands for material attention as well, I'd say that's pretty much the situation in the UK as well. In my case, having been part of a punk subculture for many years, I knew few women who expected to be lavished with gifts. But the proliferation of self-help dating books (most of which came from the US!) has hit our shores. Gullible women are being told to dump a man if he does not pay for everything (even though some of us might be earning more than him!), not to return calls so that he'll chase us, and more utter bilge. It makes me mad because I don't want a decent Brit or American guy to think I'm one of those saddoes. There seems to be a whole industry that's sprung up from women's understandable loneliness.

Girlfriends often play a part too. If your new boyfriend doesn't call all the time, etc, they can make negative comments which make you think the guy doesn't really like you or is treating you badly, when more times than not this is not the case.

It's been a long time since I've been with girlfriends where we all compared our looks, but there certainly have been times when I have had my confidence boosted - or the opposite! - by my appearance, and that's from someone who was part of a world where it wasn't supposed to matter! Indeed, I have spoken to Japanese girls who are gorgeous and talk their looks down - if anything they seem embarrassed if you pay them a compliment, wheras a British woman would ... well, it would probably make our day!

Additionally, if I've asked Japanese girls if their boyfriends or husbands are good-looking, they very often say no. With the benefit of a bit more understanding about Japan, I realise that this question is probably a bit squirmish, but it still surprises me that they say no, simply because most of my western friends, myself included, always think our men are gorgeous because we like him (even if he hasn't walked off a Milan catwalk!).

At the end of the day though, I do think we consider good looks to be more important than they actually are when it comes to love.

As for Japanese men and western women, it's a shame if they do think we're all fire-eaters. I was talking to some students about guys in Europe and remarked that Italians are generally considered the best-looking people in Europe. I asked my students if there were any race/nationality of men that they found intimidating and one of them said western men in general. I've been told that J-guys don't think they are as attractive as western men. I think it all depends on the individual and it has a lot more to do with what's inside as well, so I don't think anyone should waste time being overcome by anyone else's good looks.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to the polarizing nature of this topic. In a sense, there's an idea of a USA vs Asia, in terms of male/female relationships.

The question I have is whether or not this is a limited discussion? For instance, my ex-pat colleagues in Brazil and Argentina are astounded by the aggressive nature of South American women and prefer their tendencies, both the aggressive and feminine sides, over the less than transparent behavior one sees in Japan and Korea.

I suspect that what's happened is that the paranoia of American men is higher stateside than when they're elsewhere and the general level of intra-gender tensions go down out the country.

Kat said...

hi. im an american chick and i find it kind of offensive being put into the same category as average american girl. we're not all rich and entitled.
personally i don't need a man to drive me to some amazing resturant in his flashy car to have fun. i can have the time of my life playing smash bros for hours. i don't need $300 handbags or constant attention.
i'm just trying to say that i think that many people have a very skewed version of the true american girl.
the ones you see on television shows are not us.