Against The Norms
At first I was not sure if I wanted to violate a social norm. There are so many social norms that society would find “unacceptable” and with being adapted to the standards of society I was unsure of if I would be able to violate a social norm. With the way society would respond and finding a social norm that would not make me completely uncomfortable, it was hard to choose a norm to violate. I had decided to get overly dressed up for a party at my friends house. Instead of going to the party in my usual jeans and tank top, I had gone in a dress I had worn to my Winter Ball last year. I got dressed up fancy for a party that was casual.
While I was getting ready for the party I had a lot of thoughts about how people would respond to the way I was dressed. I thought that people would make fun of me, call me names, and laugh at me when I arrived. I figured that some of them would think that it was to attract attention to myself. I was not expecting people to actually talk to me at the party.
Some of the people had responded the way I expected. A few people laughed at me when they saw me. Others simply came up to me and asked me why I was wearing a fancy dress. Some of the girls complimented my dress. Although I was not expecting people to talk to me, a select few still did. A few of the people had told me that they thought it was cool of me to wear a dress to the party. They had thought that being different was a good thing and that more people should be their own person rather than following the crowd. A lot of people gave me weird looks as if I was doing something wrong. I had noticed that people were whispering about me behind my back.
I was not really all that surprised about the reactions I had gotten that night. I was only surprised that people complimented the dress and that a few people thought of it as a good thing. The rest of the reactions I had received were what I was expecting. I was expecting them to talk behind my back and give me weird looks. I thought that they would ask me why I was dressed in a fancy dress. It is just how people react to others when they are not use to people doing things that violate the social norms of society.
Before I actually went through with breaking the social norm I was very unsure of it. I was unsure of whether I would be able to go through with it. Knowing the social norms of society it seemed like it would be hard to break one. I was also fearful of how people would react. For me, I did not want to be treated badly by people. I do not like when people think very little of me so the thought of breaking a social norm was a scary thought.
During the breaking of a social norm, I had felt insecure about myself. People talking behind my back and looking at me funny was not something I wanted to happen. I knew it was going to happen though. It made me feel as though I was a horrible person for not being like everybody else. Some of the people made me feel like I should not be there. It had saddened me that just by an outfit people that you thought were your friends would talk bad about you behind your back.
Although I did not like some of the responses that I had received, I am glad that I broke a social norm. It had made me realize that being different is not a bad thing. That people should not judge you based on the clothes you wear or the things you do. It was a good learning experience for me. I think it has made me not care about other people’s opinion as much as I use to. It has made me not worry so much about how others will react to the things I do, the way I act, and the clothes I wear.
People generally comply with social norms because they fear of being an outcast. They want to fit in with everybody else so they try not to break social norms. People do not like the feeling of being excluded from clicks and they do not like being picked on or talked about. Usually people tend to follow social norms because they were raised to be like everybody. I, myself, tend to follow social norms to an extent. Sometimes I do things the way I want to without caring how it may come off to other people. When I follow the social norms it is usually so that I do not feel embarrassed or out of place. I do not like have people talking about me in any form of a bad way. On occasion I do break out of the social norms and do my own thing. Usually, I only do things out of the ordinary when I feel like it is okay to make a fool of myself in public. Those are the days when I do not mind when people talk about or make fun of me.
I have shown how I am different by my music, the way I act, and how I dress. Some people like some of the same music that I listen to. My music selection is a very wide and various selections of types. Usually people think that it is a positive thing that I listen to a little bit of every genre. They seem to think of me as more of an open minded person. People look at the way I act as more of a spontaneous kind of person. Sometimes I just get into my hyper moods. Other times I will just dance around everywhere. Some people think that I am weird while others find it to be fun and will join in. People try to label me based on the close I wear, but then they realize that I change my style every so often. I do not change it to what is the latest fashion, but rather to fit the kind of mood I am in. My friends like it when I change my style to fit my mood, because they can always tell what kind of mood I am in. Other people look at it as if I am trying to be something I am not. No matte what you do some people are going to like it, while others are going to hate it.
There are many different types of social norms that have a negative affect on the people in our society. Some of these would be their race, sexual orientation, social currency, and so many more. As Douglas (2007) says, “not only do people abide by social norms in their own interactions, but they feel distressed if norms are violated by others” (para. 7). Race has always been a big issue in our society. Some people have more than one race and to others, that I against the social norms. People that are gay, lesbian, or bisexual tend to be put into the against the social norm category even though they cannot help who they like. Social currency has been an attack of social norm for quite some time now. People of higher status tend to not want anything to do with people of lower status. It is very sad to see and know that things like that happen in our society today.
In order for people to view “different” as an acceptance to our society, people would have to be more open minded to others. The more open minded people are the less they will think of others being different as them breaking the social norms. I think that in order for people to be valued and accepted by me, all they really need is to be a nice person. I try not to pass judgment on others before I get to know them. Whether they fit in or stand out, it does not matter to me as long as they are a friendly person. I do not really think that there will be a consequence in the future if these things do not happen. I believe that with time there will be different social norms than the ones we have now. People will view the social norms that are being broken now as a social norm and find new things to be considered against the norms. As Sharon Jayson (2006) has mentioned in her article, “Young people today are less concerned about social approval and society’s standards than their peers of generations past” (para. 1). Although, we will just have to wait and see if there is still an increase over the years to come.
Douglas, D. (2007, October 6). Friendship, Sexuality, and Social Norms: Applying Social Exchange Theory. Retrieved April 27, 2008, from http://davedouglas.blogspot.com/2007
Jayson, S. (2006, April 12). Are social norms steadily unraveling? USA Today. Retrieved April 27, 2008, from http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-04-12-social-youth_x.htm