Social Deviance

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Social Deviance and Social Acceptance

Social deviance is defined as a violation of social norms. So what qualifies as a social deviant? According to sociologist Howard S. Becker (1966) the best definition for social deviance is described as: “It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.” In cultures around the world there are many practices that we Americans would find deviant, but to them it is their everyday life. In many countries around the world girls are married as young as 11 years old. To Americans that is considered child abuse and rape, but that is only because of our social norms. To the men and parents in different countries, it is perfectly normal because of their social norms. It is hard to actually define social deviance around the world, but it is easy in one country. Or is it?

In America social deviance comes in many different forms. We have our sexual deviants, criminal deviants, appearance altering deviants and many others. The definition of social deviance is constantly changing due to the acceptance of deviant behavior. For example, tattoos did not become socially accepted until the 1980’s. Before then tattoos were associated with sailors, gangs, criminals and bikers. To be tattooed meant that you were most likely vulgar, violent and socially outcast. Now a day getting a tattoo is one of the most socially normal things to do. Tattoos and piercings are everywhere on youth and older people. People can now make a very good living owning a tattoo and piercing parlor. It is estimated that America has 15,000 tattoo studios with more opening daily. According to the most recent Harris poll, 15% of Americans have at least one tattoo. On a similar form a deviant appearance modification, there are those that dedicated their entire life to changing their appearance. Such as a sideshow artist Erik Sprauge called the “Lizard Man”, he has undergone hundreds of hours of tattooing, ear...
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