boys will be boys
The tests revealed that Taiwanese men show less dissatisfaction with their bodies than Westerners. They did not add as much muscle to build an idealized body. And they added a scant five pounds to make a body they thought would be a woman's ideal.
What accounts for the difference in body images and drug use between East and West? Yang, Pope, and Gray propose a combination of three possible answers in their report, which appears in the February issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Chinese culture places less emphasis on muscle as a measure of masculinity. Also, Asian men are less exposed to the unending images of pecs, abs, biceps, and triceps common in Western media. Finally, Taiwanese men retain a tighter grip on the traditional roles of household and corporate masters than men in the United States and other Western countries.
Although a macho tradition exists in China, Yang notes, "a cerebral male tradition is dominant. In this tradition, masculinity is composed both of wen, having core meanings centering around literacy and cultural attainment, and wu, having core meanings of martial, military, force, and power. Wen is more highly regarded."
Two studies have shown that normal-weight women in Hong Kong and Polynesia want to be thinner. Another investigation in Fiji found striking increases in body dissatisfaction among adolescent girls in Fiji after television became widely available.
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