Principle Of Sociology: Breaching Experiment Of Social Norms

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In sociology, we have learnt that society functions with norms and rules that contributes in maintaining social order by having standard of conduct, but what would happen if these sets of norms and rules are violated ? In this essay, from the perspective of gender appropriate dressing, specifically male dressing, i will use men wearing femanine clothing such as dresses as my breaching experiment as it is a serious violation of gender norm of “masculinity” and the ethnomethodology theory to discuss how it disrupts the social order, such as pedestrian reaction,their acceptance. 

In current society, there are gender expectations on individuals, gender expection is a social role including range of behaviors, attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate,and desirable for people based on their biological sex. The gender expectation of men is to convey musculinity, strength, power, courage, independence, leadership, and assertiveness, and the most direct and obvious way to display that is-dressing. 

Men clothing consist of wide shoulder,straight feature, dark colour as a symbol of manliness and musculinity which is accepted by society,society have an ideal image of what “real” men is-men that project the musclinity by behavior, attitude, clothing. Once society sees a man thats doesnt live up to the stereotype, they are clasify as gay or not “real” men,futhermore, doubting their credibility in workplace, ability as breadwinner, thus putting pressure on men to look a certain way, even if they dont agree with it. 

Therefore,to challenge this phenomenon, i will make use of the breaching experiment, having a men dress in femanine clothing to see how it disrupt the social order and people reactions to it. EXPERIMENT I have invited a male friend to carry out his daily routine but wearing a long maroon dress.His day to day routine included going to city university by bus after that work as a tutor, and lastly gym. On 2 nd october morning, he took the bus at 7 am, which is a very busy hour,so people always try their best to find a seat. he took his seat and surprisingly no one sit next to him the whole ride, passengers chose to stand rather than sitting next to him, not only people were giving him side eye and weird looks, but some were even gossiping.

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After that he went to school ,his usual group of friends consists of 5 people, and he did get a strong reactions from his friends, such as laughing, teasing, mocking and boycott, furthermore his fellow schoolmates were staring and some were even uncomfortable such as his usual seating pal avoid sitting next to him. 

Next, he went to his workplace and there he got the strongest reaction. His boss literally have asked him either to go home and get change then come back or resign if he will carry on with such dress code. When asked why, he replied with its not professional nor acceptable and he is portraying a negative example to his student,also real men do not dress like that, it is not socially acceptable and from religion point of view, it ia a sin and he is putting a bad name on being a men.

To push the experiment even more, he went into a female boutique to shop for femanine clothes, after 5 minutes, he were asked to leave the store as it was making other customers uncomfortable, he then went to another store, where he noticed a differences between the services he received and other customers received, the salesperson was avoiding his presence and ignoring him, providing no answers to his questions, and when he went to the owner to understand the problem, the owner replied very rudely to him only.We end the experiment with an hour of walk at wan chai and mong kok area,there were many stares ,making of videos, taking of pictures,chuckles,shaking head in despair, some even made mean remarks,people went as far as making a distance with him ensure they dont touch them so they dont get his”disease” and one parent even use him as an example to teach his kids that this is a mentally ill person’s behavior and a sin, ”don’t be like that in the future, it’s a disgrace to family “As can be seen, when there is a violation of norms and rules, it provoke a strong reaction and is not acceptable. I will further discuss in detail in the coming paragraph, but before we discuss ,why there is existence of norms and rules.

In general, Social norms are the social rules, either explicit or implicit, that define our expectations of appropriate behavior between people.norm is a rule that guides behavior among members of a society or group, Social norms are created so there could be standard form of behavior and action that people commend to and follows, so there wouldn’t be conflict on how an individual should behave in society as norms has provided accepted standards of behavior of social groups. According to emile durkheim, norms to be social facts: things which exist in society independent of individuals, and that shape our thoughts, behavior and attitude about how things are supposed to function and they have a coercive power over us. The idea of norms provides a key to understanding social influence in general and conformity in particular. Forming from social norm is gender norm, ideas about how women and men should be.

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