Psychological anthropology is the study of individuals and their personalities and identities, within particular cultural contexts (Miller, 2007). Although American and Chinese people are raised in different cultures, their cultures are somewhat similar. Even though individuals are raised thousands of miles apart, is it possible to possess some of the same personality traits? In the American culture, baby showers are held to celebrate the impending birth of a baby. Family and friends bring many necessities needed for the new baby, such as, clothes, money, bottles, stroller, car seat, and or diapers.
Once the baby is born it is the American culture to separate babies by gender. It is customary for boys to be dressed in blue and girls to be dressed in pink. As they grow, boys are encouraged to play with trucks, action figures and guns to promote strength and power. Whereas, girls are encouraged to play with dolls, cook with toy stoves, and play house to promote nurturing. As the child grows into adolescence, this is reinforced in the chores delegated to them. Boys are expected to cut the grass, take out the trash, and help out with any other “handyman” jobs.
Girls are expected to wash dishes, do the laundry, sweep and mop floors. Hence, the stereotyping begins. This stereotyping is evident in adulthood. Men are labeled as providers, protectors, and head of the household. Men are expected to work to support their families. Men are often pressured to assert their masculinity and strength within there jobs and at home. Today, men are beginning to take on more responsibilities within the home. Women are labeled as mothers, housekeepers, and nursemaids, to name a few.
Many years ago, women were not respected in the workforce. Their job selection was very slim, mainly secretaries. However, during World War II women took the place of men in the workforce showing they could perform the jobs just as well as the men. Today, women are highly accepted in the workforce and hold high powered positions within companies and even own their own businesses. Once men and women reach their senior years, they have achieved their social status. They are afforded the opportunity to retire from the workforce.
In doing so, they are able to travel or just enjoy life at their leisure. They no longer have to pay taxes and receive their social security benefits as their compensation for working. Unlike the American culture where there is no animosity over the gender of babies, Chinese culture is different. Boys are considered treasured, so much so that years ago infant girls were killed. In doing this China has created an imbalance in the male to female ratio. In the Chinese culture, a baby’s birth is not celebrated until the infant is one month old.
The family holds a “red egg and ginger” party. This is the time when the parents introduce their baby to friends and family, who bring gifts for the baby: boys receive “lucky” money and girls receive expensive jewelry. Parents present each guest with a dyed red egg to symbolize happiness and the renewal of life. Traditionally, gender roles in China are similar to the ones in the United States. The man goes to work, the woman is a housewife. This is changing, especially with the ‘one child policy’ in China.
Women are not needed at home as much to take care of children since families are only allowed to have one child. In some cases, a family is allowed to have two children. For example, if the first born is a daughter, they may be permitted to have another child. There is a lot less social distance among Chinese people compared to Americans. It is a collectivist culture – people depend on each other and take care of each other. Chinese people spend a lot less time alone than Americans do. One example of this is the family unit is very close in Chinese culture.
It is very common for three or more generations to live together because a lot of people still live with their parents when they have established their own families. Chinese people are more reserved when it comes to physical contact or showing public display of affection, especially in romantic relationships. Chinese people initiate physical contact very gradually compared to Americans. Premarital sex is a lot less common in China than in the United States. Both cultures show traits of openness by allowing individuals to explore their curiosity of the world and show their emotions.
They also allow for individuals to be conscientious of their actions, to be self-disciplined, and to be cooperative towards others. Although two cultures are different it is possible for individuals to share the same traits. ? REFERENCES Chinese Culture. (n. d. ). Retrieved February 3, 2010, from English in Taiwan. com: http://www. englishintaiwan. com/foreigners/chinese_culture. php Gender: Gender Roles and Stereotypes. (2010). Retrieved February 3, 2010, from Marriage and Family Encyclopedia: http://family. jrank. org/pages/686/Gender-Gender-Roles- Stereotypes.
html Miller, B. D. (2007). Cultural Anthropology. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Olsen, A. (2009, April 10). China’s Population Laws Threaten Baby Girls, Favor Boys. Retrieved February 3, 2010, from The Huffington Post: http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2009/04/10/chinas-population-laws-th_n_185626. html Therese Hesketh, P. , Li Lu, M. , & and Zhu Wei Xing, M. (2005, September 15). The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years. Retrieved February 4, 2010, from The New England Journal of Medicine: http://content. nejm. org/cgi/content/full/353/11/1171.
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