Attractiveness of male confidence in other cultures?

Is it a global norm that women are more attracted to confident men? Are there societies where women this isn’t the case, or at least isn’t as significant a factor?

I submit that men are also attracted to confident women. Isn’t this pretty much normal?

Maybe. I can certainly believe there are evolutionary bases for this, but I’d like to know how strongly encouraged (or masked) it is by cultural differences.

(As a parallel, the attractiveness of breasts and waist sizes in women seems to be at least partially evolutionary, but culture strongly influences both. Does the same apply to confidence? How much is physiological and how much is cultural?)

To answer your first question, according to a 2009 Journal of Experimental Social Psychology article, women don’t find aggression anywhere near as attractive as men think they do.

From the study:

Why are you equating aggression with confidence?

I would assume self confidence is a shorthand way of determining if someone has self worth and worth to the social unit they are a part of. So in general that is going to be more attractive.

Granted that negates the fact that people are generally terrible judges of how much worth and value they have, but there you go.

I wonder what east asian cultures think. Or what about sub-cultures. You’d assume when dealing with young people that an emo or goth would not interpret self confidence the way someone who is more of a jock might.

Seems to me like many people who I would say are displaying aggression would probably characterize their own behavior as indicative of confidence.

Somehow I think the opposite is probably true. People who are aggressive are secretly not confident, and are using aggression to intimidate others.

People who are confident can walk into any situation and feel little stress or awkwardness conversing with new people.

I’m the least aggressive person you’d ever meet. I meet new people easily. I can, do, and have given presentations in front of CEOs and the like over my career and have felt quite comfortable doing so; that is confidence.

That might be your perception of the matter, but the perpetrators of aggression typically don’t tend to see things the same way you and I do. In practice, there are many actions that could be assigned either label depending on the perspective of the one doing the assigning.

We would think, but I seem to remember a study on bullying that revealed the problem wasn’t low self-esteem it was, as one might perceive, an over-inflated sense of self-esteem. We’d like to believe aggressive people are just insecure, but it appears the opposite is true.


It should therefore not be much of a surprise that bullying and narcissism are closely related.

To answer the OPs question, confidence is valued more in individualistic societies like the US. It’s not really regarded as an admirable trait in cultures that are more interdependent. I’m thinking Japan, for example. In cultures like this, expressing confidence may be perceived as downright rude. It’s not uncommon for people to outright lie about how well they did at something in order to not seem like a braggart.

That seems like a fairly nuanced definition of self-esteem and “shame prone” that I doubt many lay people would bother making. Being “afraid their failures or shortcomings will be exposed” is exactly the kind of low self-confidence I associate with over aggressive bullying. I’m sure psychologists have a decent reason to differentiate it from low self esteem, but I don’t.

This thread has nothing to do with the perpetrators of aggression, you seem to be on a different topic.

With the Japanese example, it seems a person can still exude confidence while falling within the norms of society (e.g. not bragging etc.). It seems to me that confidence is displayed during communications with others even if the message itself is humble. It’s those subtle clues (that I can’t really describe) that the person feels as valuable as everyone around him/her.

Yes, I’m not terribly knowledgable about Japanese culture so I’m glad you spoke up. I had a friend who lived there for years and these were the kinds of things he told me. I would imagine communicating just about anything in that context would require a lot of subtlety.

Re: the gender expectations, I am also under the impression that in Japan women usually control the household - managing the money while giving men an ‘‘allowance’’ etc - is this true? If true, it seems those women would then be seeking men who were less assertive or confident, but I could be way off.