The Power Of Norms In Society

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Throughout society, norms have been developed over centuries. We as a society have been doing typical everyday things without challenging these norms. We have created such norms as to how someone should act in public and how someone should dress in public. We as a society see norms as guidelines to living a perfect life with no type of judgment. Individuals don’t challenge outside these norms typically due to the fear of looking crazy to others. If people were to live outside, then society would be so strict about being different.

The norms I decided to break were yelling and speaking a different language to strangers. As I conducted this experiment I noticed that I would get strange looks from individuals. They would look at me like I was doing something wrong or as if I was out of place. I would go to Walmart and just stand there for a couple of minutes. I noticed individuals walking to check out what was in their cart and shopping.

I would then begin to yell as loud as I possibly could to see the reaction I would get. After I screamed, immediately everyone stopped what they were doing. They looked towards my direction to see what was going on. I think continued walking further into Walmart. I walked down towards the entertainment section and proceeded to do this experiment again. I received the same reaction as before.

I had certain individuals come up to me to see if I was okay. When this would happen, I would speak in a language that doesn’t even make sense. I would say certain words backward in a sentence. Individuals face expressions were as I would imagine, which is expected it wasn’t every day you come in contact with individuals breaking norms.

I wouldn’t make eye contact with them while I responded to their questions. In today society eye contact is seen as a form of respect when talking to another individual. After, I left Walmart and went to Ross to see if I would get the same reactions I did at Walmart. I did the same routine as before. I walk in and waited a couple minutes before I started the experiment.

I yelled and again everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at me. I continued walking further into the store. I stopped at the back of the store and yelled again. Some individuals came up to me and asked if I were okay. I responded in my made-up language with no I contact and proceeded to exit the store. This experiment has taught me that there aren’t many individuals that go outside of the norm. The experience also taught me that individuals judge you quickly without really knowing you. I think norms make us act like robots and everyone is the same. Individuals aren’t willing to break norms or to be different in fear of being looked at differently and labeled.

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