Breaking Social Norms
Social norms are an integral part of society. Being the social expectations that guide behavior, they are there to help use stick to the normal. They are more like rules and without them, we could live in a world full of chaos with nothing to guide our daily lives. We are all the time judged by what we do depending on what the society views as right or wrong. Norms are influenced by religion, environment, traditions, beliefs and government. Breaking norms can be met with different expressions of either approval or disapproval. What you do differently from the normal can also create chaos or mixed feelings for people in society.
From childhood, the society has instilled rules that we should follow and not to be ideal members. Breaking norms will get you ridiculed by people around you considering what they believe to be the normal behavior. Norms are important in society as it helps people be aware of what they are supposed to do and what not. They will keep checking themselves if the action they have taken is the right one or not. Norms helps balance between the right and the wrong. There exits two types of norms the formal norms which involves rules written down and involve strictness for punishment on violators while informal are those rules followed but they are not documented.
For this assignment, decided to violate other people’s space. I had always been taught the importance of personal space from a young age. I knew my character on that day will receive different reactions but I was determined. My first group was a discussion. The members of the group were very serious and I joined them and smiled. I knew deep down I will meet with all kinds of criticism. One of the group members was so angry and asked me if I was mad. The next followed with insults but I didn’t show any signs of distress.
The next experiment was a choir practice session. Not being a member of the choir, it felt really odd. While they were on practice and were giving opinions on what had happened the other day during practice, I had given my opinion without being aware of how things happened. The girls shouted at me to get out but I stood there feeling confused. The next minute, I was driven out.
My next test included my lecturer who was talking while I repeated the sentence. All I remember was being ridiculed with some students laughing while some threw me with papers. At some point, I received a slap from my classmate. It was fortunate the lecturer realized what I was doing and turned to praise me. At least I felt relieved. I had noticed only a few civilized people could recognize change as from our junior level, we had been told invading other people’s privacy or talking while others are talking was a sign of disrespect.
On trying this experiment brought many unwanted expressions and I almost got into a fight. I had to come between couples. I was on my way to the game reserve and I spotted couples two couples sitting on a bench relaxing while holding each other. I thought it was fun at first but the response was overwhelming. It was not an easy task as I stared with hugging the unknown ladies from behind. The men quickly descended on me with insults as they raged with anger but I still continued. I even went to the extent of sitting between the women while the men sat at the edges. People who passed by were very surprised and gave me the are-you-mad kind of expression, What I loved most was an innocent child passed by and showed pointed at me telling his mum when he grows up he wants to have two women like me maybe it’s because I looked happy. I was shocked when the mum gave me a lecture on how negative i had impacted her son’s life. The men who were watching slowly embarked on me but I had to explain to them what I was doing and that’s when I broke free. I was happy of the experience but I knew it was not ideal.
From the experiment I conducted, I could tell people have the value for their personal space and wherever that was violated by anyone, which would lead to different expressions and approval. People tend to want their freedom to express themselves to their friends, loved ones and so on. Social norms help us interact with others in the most accepted way and give us the idea of how to live with others in harmony. Breaking of social norms will always lead you in trouble.