I come from a culture that is bound to make you feel protected at times, or lack privacy and personal identity at other times. It is very acceptable to get comments like ‘you are still not pregnant’ after being married for few months and receiving endless (usually unwanted) advice on specific alternative medication that ‘Miraculously‘ helped someone getting pregnant. This can happen within minutes of meeting a woman who you probably met once or who only knows your mother. Your opinion on such matter doesn’t count that much and you’ll be nodding your head with a faint smile. Don’t get me started on the subject of raising children, most people will turn into doctors/social workers, teachers and even psychologists and provide you with the ‘how such thing worked for so and so’ piece of advice. It can be irritating when some strange advice is enforced upon you, however I do find it amusing most of the time. This is particularly true if you keep in mind that these people usually mean good and believe they are responsible for spreading knowledge that might after all bring happiness to everyone.
On the other hand, these same people make you feel grateful in occasions such as weddings, funerals and religious celebrations. They are there before you know, providing moral and/or financial support, taking their time to make sure everything is alright with you, and more.
I come from a collectivist culture where it is more important to be part of a big ‘tribe’ more than being an individual ‘you’. You do present yourself to some extent but in big matters you present the whole family. Your child’s success is the success of the whole tribe, and his/her failure is going to affect it all. It is very common to hear comments such as ‘the specific family is so decent’ just because of one person’s achievement in that family, and I mean by family three or four generations.
The culture is changing now . It is moving towards adding some individualistic characteristics. This balance is more beautiful. It emphasizes the personal identity while keeping the cultural values that bring us together when we need them.
How is it with your culture?