The saving and the giving of face is far more common than most people believe. This is not just a feature of the Far East as most Westerner’s think. Most cultures of the world, to a greater or lesser extent, have this notion of ‘Face’. The more egalitarian a society, the less Face is needed in interacting with others.
- Social relations should be conducted in such a way that everybody’s face is maintained.
- Paying respect to someone is called “giving face”.
Even in English speaking countries ‘Face’ is important: ‘I couldn’t show my face in there after that incident!’
(‘Wa‘ in Japanese) is found in the maintenance of everybody’s face in the sense of dignity, self-respect. Losing one’s dignity in the Chinese tradition is like losing your eyes, nose, and mouth. The Japanese concept of kyosei means living and working together for the common good; enabling cooperation and mutual prosperity to coexist with healthy and fair competition.
Harmony and Courtesy are very important in many nations. This is noticeable where people try to avoid conflict in their conversations; an inability to say ‘No’ directly, or to make an offer/promise that will never come true.
is about power and superiority being seen/shown; it’s all about having status and respect; it’s about pride and ego (derives mainly from the Latin cultures). The Machismo (or macho) man has enormous pride; known as ‘el hombre publico‘ (the public face of the man). Applies not only between sexes, but also between ranks and class in hierarchical societies. Especially found in Latin America due to Spanish influence; also in Africa (remember that the Portuguese, French, and Spanish have played a significant role in shaping attitudes in Africa).
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