How is body perceived in different cultures

Body image is not only the way we see our bodies in the mirror, but it is also a mental image of ourselves, stating clearly how we feel about our bodies. The psychological feature of it is maybe even more important as it is structured around how comfortable we are in our own skin and, together with the actual physical appearance, shapes us as human beings to a great degree.

The key factors that shape the standards of how we perceive our bodies are fashion designers, mass media, and also culturally-shaped concepts of how one’s body needs to be like.

These concepts have influenced both women and men alike, but have also differed greatly across countries and continents. However, with the help of movies and celebrities that have always been taken as an example of perfection, specific ideals have been formed, and not many can live up to them.

We shall now try to draw some parallels between how is body image judged and viewed in different cultural settings.

Body image in Asian cultures

The majority of men and women in China and Japan consider thinness and lean, lanky bodies as a model of how the ideal body needs to be like. They take the matters quite seriously and are willing to go the distance to achieve that ideal. What goes in their favour is their Asian cuisine, filled with healthy nutrients and low fat. Also, the skin tone should be as pale as possible as that has always been considered as a sign of aristocracy in their cultures.

Body image in the American culture

As controversial and evasive as the question of the ideal body is in America, some standards have been directly set thanks to the mass media originating from America. Most Americans will take a fit and muscular body as the norm, concerning what a perfect body needs to be like. It is a proper paradox given the fact that the statistical data show around 35% of Americans is overweight, and 33% are obese. Even though there are distinctions in respect to how African-Americans and Caucasians see ‘perfect’ body, statistic data clearly show that the ideal of fit, healthy, and thin body is the goal for all.

Body image in European cultures

Most Europeans would agree with the notion of having a thin and fit body is the perfect shape, for both men and women. In comparison to other continents and cultures, they seem to be able to live up to those expectations thanks to the active lifestyle and a lot of exercises. Europeans would always prefer to ride a bicycle or walk, and that is bound to yield results.

6 countries that have different gambling styles and habits

Gambling is one of the most popular pastimes in the world. Its essence is in the fact that one can have a material reward apart from the spiritual one. Every culture created its gambling games, but only a couple of them lived long enough to expand all over the globe. We will cover a couple of cultures that already have extensive gambling system and big venues. Let’s take a look.

The USA

The Puritans who came to the New World did not approve of gambling, but something changed along the way, and the US became crazy about gambling, especially for card games such as poker. However, they also enjoy other casino games as well – roulette, craps, and slots.

However, not many states in this country approve of gambling. Some southern ones actually have strict laws that forbid any type of gambling activities.

The UK

Although there are casinos in the UK, they are absolutely in love with sports betting which is also the case with a lot of other countries in the EU. But this type of activity is not the only one that people take pride in. The United Kingdom is the only country which is obsessed over playing various lotteries and bingo games. Finally, they are avid fans of betting on horse races which take place almost every day at dozens of horse tracks across the UK.

Japan

Japan does not allow for casino games (although a bill was passed recently that allows the building of three Integrated Resorts). However, they have a unique gambling game called pachinko parlours which looks a lot like a pinball. The game was created back in the 1920s, and there are millions of Japanese players nowadays.

Spain

The residents of Spain are crazy about El Gordo, which is a lottery that has become a part of their tradition and culture. It was founded 203 years ago, and it is still prevalent. The lottery happens just once a year, and millions of Spaniards hope to win a prize that is approximately four million euros worth.

China

Although the Chinese people have a long history of gambling, their government frowns upon it. However, one place made a difference in the past fifteen years – Macau. Macau is a city that currently has 24 casinos and the highest revenue from gambling in the world. The Chinese love to go there and play various traditional casino games.

Norway

All of the Scandinavian countries are doing fantastic work in promoting gambling. They have state-controlled video terminals, and it is practically impossible to get addicted, but a lot of people play casino games on a daily basis. Norway, in particular, is an epicentre of poker stars as there are many poker players from this country that earned millions from online and live poker tournaments.

Conclusion

There are just some of the cultures that enjoy gambling. To answer the topic question – yes, gambling differs a lot, but there is are a couple of casino games that are present in almost all countries in the world.

Tips on how to appreciate foreign cultures

Thanks to modern technology, relatively cheap travelling arrangements, and the internet, we are now able to get acquainted with many different cultures and nations. This presents itself as a beautiful opportunity to find out more about the world and the people in it. Sometimes, one might feel a little bit overwhelmed, having been exposed to many different customs and ceremonies, so it is crucial you get prepared to process it and learn as much as possible.

Here are some tips on how to do it and what to expect.

Get to know your own culture first

In order to fully appreciate a different culture and the set of beliefs it entails, one should get familiar with his or her own culture first. Delve deeper into all intricacies and peculiarities of your background and be prepared to share them with others. Knowledge is one thing that multiplies with sharing and in that cultural exchange, you will learn not only about others, but yourself as well. Also, it is essential that during that exchange, you remain open to suggestions and questions that may come up and that may not be all too pleasant. Avoid the stance that displays any supposed dominance of one culture over the other, as all cultures are valuable and equally important.

Learn as much as possible

It is highly recommended that you do your ‘homework’ before you set out to travel and meet different nations and cultures. Look for authentic resources and try to remember the important days and what sort of customs are related to particular celebrations. By doing so, you won’t be caught off guard if you happen to be there during those festivities. Also, look for similarities between your own culture and the culture you want to get familiar with, since finding some common ground is the best starting point. Feel at liberty to ask questions and don’t be afraid to show you know only a little and that you are willing to learn. This will prove invaluable in all future interactions and will put you in a position to truly grasp one’s way of life.

Avoid stereotypes at all cost

Although we won’t argue with the fact that there can be some truth behind the generalisations made regarding certain nations around the world, that is not something you should bring up when talking to foreigners, and especially if you are to learn more about their culture. Examples that include the beliefs that Mexicans are lazy or that all Americans are fat are merely wrong and can lead to a heated debate that may result in a more severe conflict. It takes an enlightened person to feel comfortable enough to speak about character flaws without getting offended and thinking he or she is being ridiculed. Be respectful of others and treat them the way you want them to treat you, and you will soon understand that we all have a lot of things in common.

National sports across different countries

Sporting venues are modern-day gladiators’ arenas, where men and women captivate the audiences with their excellent skills and abilities. The competitive spirit among players and the surge of emotions and adrenaline is what makes sport so enticing to many. The popularity of certain sports has woven them into the very fabric of national identity in many countries across the globe.

There are many different kinds of games out there. There are individual sports where each player plays for himself, like tennis, or table tennis, and there are sports such as football, or basketball that are considered team sports, where players comprise a team and play together. We are going to explore some of these sports and try to portray their significance for certain nations around the world.

Football in England

Ever since the modern day football originated in England in the mid 19th century, it has been the most important sport to date. The first modern rules were drawn at Cambridge in 1848, and England’s Football Association was formed in 1863 when the first football competition started and is played even today in the form of what we know as the FA Cup. The Premier League is the top league in England and attracts thousands of spectators that are die-hard supporters of their local teams. The culture of supporting your local team is highly significant in England and gives football an additional edge over other sports.

American football (NFL) in the USA

American Football is a sport that evolved from combining football or soccer as it is called in the USA and rugby. This action-packed sport is the number one sport in the USA, with an average attendance of almost 70 thousand spectators per game. The American Football league is called the NFL, and 32 teams compete for a place in the final game, called the Super Bowl, where the winner becomes crowned champion of the league. Due to its tremendous popularity, American football is quite lucrative for sponsors and players alike. Substantial endorsement deals are signed with top sport equipment manufacturers, and this makes American Football a real moneymaker.

Ice hockey in Canada

Ice hockey is considered Canada’s favourite pastime activity, played by people of all ages. It is no wonder that hockey is popular in Canada since the weather conditions there are perfect for this beautiful winter sport, played on an ice pitch, with the help of hockey sticks and a ball called a puck. The players skate on ice and try to score as many goals as possible. It is so intricately connected to all Canadians that is considered an indelible part of Canadian national identity.

Table Tennis in China

By far the most popular sport in China is table tennis. Even though it originated in England, it has been widely accepted as the go-to sport in China. More than 60% percent of all competitions have been won by Chinese players since the early 60’s. It takes excellent agility and precision to play table tennis, and the Chinese know this exceptionally well. They founded schools that specifically train players under strict rules, where players train up to seven hours a day and where children start at a very young age, which ensures excellent success and is a source of tremendous national pride.