One of the interesting norms of our society is how people should dress in given situations. Factors such as modesty, weather, flamboyancy, gender, and many others, all contribute towards what is ‘appropriate’ attire. So, for my social norm violation, I decided to disobey the rules of dress.
When me and my friends went out for dinner, I donned a Greek toga instead of ‘normal clothes’. I wore an over the shoulder greek toga with gladiator sandals. I also had a leaf crown, though I did not wear it the entire time (it was uncomfortable). This outfit was slightly immodest, too breezy for how cold it was, and incredibly flamboyant/out of place in the restaurant. In other words, it was a clear violation of the norms of dress.
A lot of people stared. Okay, everyone stared. Everyone who saw me shot me a questioning glance. This sometimes was followed by a chuckle, sometimes a high-five or congratulations on my clothing, or a look of disgust. Some people seemed so perplexed that they just couldn’t stop staring, with no visible reaction at all. Most of all, I was surprised by the amount of complements I got. Many people said they liked my outfit. It was not exactly the ‘violation’ I expected–I expected it to be a little more controversial.
Despite the majority of positive feedback I received, I still felt a bit uncomfortable. I have never been a big fan of many eyes on me at once. So I felt a bit hot and out of sorts throughout the evening. Every so often I would let out a nervous laugh when given a compliment. However, I eventually enjoyed it. I may not be an attention seeker, but I definitely enjoy going against the norm. It was hard to think up what to do for this project because I so often go out of my way to be ‘different’ (in a good way, I hope). I am a low social monitor, so I probably violate norms quite often. But this was such a big, intentional, and odd display, that it helped me feel that discomfort I used to feel when I was younger. When violating norms meant more to me. It got me thinking that we all have our comfort zones, and unless we push past them, violating a norm won’t bother you much. But this did push past my comfort zone, and I could not help but feel a little embarrassed.
Sociology 101: Introduction to Sociology Professor: Dr. Tracy Scott Department: Sociology SOC 101: Breaking Norms Writing Assignment (5-7 Pages) Breaking Social Norms: Personal Space In American society, personal space is valued and is seen as a right that is expected to be given to everyone. The physical closeness allowed between individuals is determined by the degree of their relationship. In a public environment such as restaurants and other eating establishments, people sitting together in a table often are familiar and comfortable enough with each other to allow themselves to be near in proximity to other people. Those people sitting together may be family members, friends, or acquaintances willing to get to know one another. Because of this norm that we carry in the United States, rarely do we in real life see someone voluntarily sitting with a total stranger in randomness without the other finding the person to be strange or irregular. This was always intriguing to me, so I chose to do an experiment on the significance of personal space in public. As part of my research, I decided to break this social norm of personal space in a public eating area at Emory. I experimented with this three times when I was at the Dobbs University Commons, more commonly known as the DUC cafeteria where many Emory students would eat throughout the day. The social norm in this environment was much like any other eating establishment: people sat with others that they knew close enough to open their personal space to them. If they did not see anyone that they recognized, then they tended to sit by themselves. I broke this social norm by sitting with three different types of people that I did not know, two of those strangers that I voluntarily sat with as part of my experiment and the third as an accidental occurrence where I was the victim that had