February 4th, 2015
Breaking Cultural Norms Paper
Cultural norms are established standards of behavior maintained by society. For a norm to be significant it must be widely shared and understood. Such behaviors are learned from parents, elders, teachers, and many others whose values are in the context of a specific culture.
When faced with others expectations regarding our own behavior, we have a tendency to typically do what is expected. I decided to do the unexpected and break a cultural norm.
The cultural norm I chose to break was to not flush or wash my hands after using the bathroom. I decided to choose this norm because I witness this revolting act almost every day at college. The concept of flushing and washing after using the toilet was something everyone …show more content…
When I opened the stall door, I noticed there were three women washing their hands, and the same woman doing her makeup. With a slight peek in the mirror, I noticed all three of the women gave me a snobby look. When I walked out, I could not help but put my ear against the door in hopes of one of the women saying something about my actions. Just as I hoped, one of the women expressed her disgust by calling my actions
“unsanitary” and “inconsiderate of others”. I was able to hear the other ladies agree and say what
I had done was disgusting.
When I broke this cultural norm I felt unclean and alarmed, almost like I needed to go back and flush the toilet and wash my hands right away. To me, this norm is an everyday action that should be second nature to everyone, not a once in a while process. I was pleasantly surprised to see and hear the ladies reactions because I felt as if I was the only one who was bothered by this. I witness many people breaking this cultural norm on a daily basis, but I never
seem to catch others reactions, so it was reassuring to know there are people who are concerned.
I am very focused on my health and consider myself to be a germaphobe, so breaking this cultural norm made me