Laws are not sufficient to keep people in check. For that reason, norms exist to keep individuals in society checking themselves and their behavior. In American society, citizens take their mode of dressing seriously. Designers make attires meant for different occasions. For example, during winter, one will find people dressed in warm clothes that prevent them from the cold. More so, during parties and family gatherings, individuals dress in casual clothing. Evidently, most people in America are trendy when it comes to fashion. Dressing in old-fashioned outfits might cause different reactions in people. Due to that norm that people are used to in the United States, rarely will one find a person dressed in an entirely different way other than its intended purpose because it will spur mixed reactions.
The norm that I intend to violate is wearing a huge coat that has fur, a scarf, and woolen socks during summer. The norm acts as a mechanism for social control because, during the summer, people expect other individuals to dress depending on the weather condition. Members of society anticipate that others will conform because they are aware that coats, a scarf, and woolen socks are meant for winter. Our family plans to hold a gathering during the summer holidays. I will violate the norm by wearing that outfit during that family function.
I believe that by wearing that outfit, there will be a range of possible reactions from family members. I predict that the major reaction from people will be that I might be losing my mind to some point. Other possible reactions that I expect are people asking whether I am unwell, and others asking if I did not have anything else to wear for the occasion. More so, I know that my cousins will laugh at me. The reason is that some of them have dressed celebrities in America, and they know what and what not to wear in different weather conditions.
That particular day, I decided to wear what I had in mind. The gathering took place at my grandmother's house in Florida. Our extended family has about 200 people. All of them attended the gathering together with their spouses. That day, we were supposed to arrive at the function at 10 am. Since I have my car, I told my parents that I will be picking something at the store then drive myself there. I wanted to be late for the function so I could make a grand entrance. I arrived there at 10.45.am. Everyone was already there. I must say that the look they gave me was nothing compared to watching a maniac moonwalk on a freeway.
Honestly, when violating the norm, I had an eerie feeling within me. My entire body was soaked in sweat because of my outfit. As well, the strange looks that the spouses of my siblings and cousins gave made me feel stupid to some extent. I believe I felt that way because (1), I was the odd one out, and (2), I was doing myself more harm than good due to the dripping sweat. Nevertheless, people reacted the way I expected them to. In fact, at one time, my mother called me to the side and told me that my grandfather was worried about me. As my mother explained, he thought that I was going crazy. In the assignment, the only difficulty I experienced was people staring at me as if I had come straight from a mental institution. Overall, in regards to how social norms exercise social control, I learned that people must comply with all the social standards of society.
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