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Free Essays On Breaking Social Norms

Breaking Norms Essay

In Society, there are folkways, mores, and laws all governing a society, yet they all share one basic foundation. This foundation is seen universally and is nearly engrained in our minds. These are norms. Norms are the shared expectations of behavior that is for a specific culture. Norms are very similar to values, yet values are society’s expectations on how to live life rather than what is acceptable behavior in social environments. Morals come into discussion too with virtue, as morals are what is right or wrong, as defined by the culture. Every culture shares different norms. For example, Muslim women in Afghanistan must cover their faces when walking in public, yet in America we do not understand this as this is not one of our norms. Norms are generally created over many years for a culture and are hard to understand or relate to if we are not part of that culture. This leads us to culture shock when entering other cultures. If we were suddenly placed in another culture without any transition and did not understand their norms, we would encounter culture shock. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum comes folkways, mores, and laws. These come when we understand and have a familiar understanding of the culture. Folkways are traditional norms that govern our behavior, but do not have a moral factor. An example of a folkway would be to hold the elevator for a person. A mores is a deeply held informal norm and has a moral enforcement. An example of this would be to not touch strangers. The most formal norms would be laws, as they are what is expected legally of society and have repercussions. A taboo is similar to laws as a taboo is extremely strict norms and are looked down upon from the rest of society, yet are not legally enforced. An example of this would be incest. When viewing norms in America, a particular one stood out to me. Opposite sex couples are supposed to be seen in public as being intimate, while same sex couples are thought of as hidden.
For my experiment on breaking norms, I chose to break multiple norms all in one experiment. My experiment was to see how people at the mall reacted when my guy friend and I held hands while walking together. Not only did I hold a man’s hand, but he is also African-American. My experiment broke the norm of the interracial couples dating each other. This experiment also broke the social norm that opposite sex couples are supposed to show affection in public rather than same sex couples. Although same sex couples and marriages have become more accepted in the United States, it is still a very controversial issue that has led to split results of opinion polls. In one study performed by the Gallup Organization, about 52% of Americans support same sex marriage, while 43% of Americans oppose same sex marriage. This has changed significantly over the years, as the same study was performed in 2001, yet showed only 35% of Americans supporting same sex marriages (Study:...

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Breaking a Social Norm Essay

863 WordsDec 19th, 20104 Pages

Breaking a social norm

In our society we have a number of society norms that we abide by. For example, there is an unwritten rule of how one should behave in an elevator. For example, it is proper to face front, stand away from strangers, and not to look at others. When a social norm is broken people may respond with alarm, humor, fear, irritation, or an array of other emotions. When you think of a norm, you are probably thinking about being normal. But in psychology terms, norm means, a standard or representative value for a group. The norm that is more common to people is a social norm. Meaning expectations about what behavior, thoughts, or feelings are appropriate within a given group within a given context.
In society today us as…show more content…

I wanted to turn around and say something but I just kept my cool and said to myself, “This is only a test Cynthia don’t let them get to you.” Once I finished talking to myself I was relieved and ready to go into the movies. While walking into the movies, I received more looks and heard more whispers coming out of people which really didn’t make sense. All they had to do was just except me for who I was and that I was wearing clothes. After I got tired of the looks and whispers I changed my clothes and walked back in movie theatre. Once again my boyfriend looked at me strangely and said, “ Why did you change”? When I finally broke it down to him that I was doing a project for psychology he started to laugh. His response towards me was, he was going to love me no matter how I come out the house. I thought that was cute, that let me know that he doesn’t care what people think and that he was always going to be with me no matter how I look. When I broke the norm of how I look, I felt really insecure about myself and I really did care of what people were going to say about me. But I did learn this people are very judgmental on a person that they have no clue about.
The other norm that I broke was going against authority. The authority that I went against was my mom during Thanksgiving dinner. When I did this norm, I really felt bad because, me and my mom are so close and I would never had disrespect her the way I

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