Breaking the Social Norm

Topics: Sociology, Norm, Heteronormativity Pages: 5 (1557 words) Published: December 2, 2014
Breaking the Social Norm
My social norm was walking on campus backwards for an entire day. This was a major challenge to me because when people are not doing the expected in a social environment, I have many opinions on those particular people. So this was definitely a new experience for me. When I first knew this was my idea, I was very nervous and anxious. I was so worried about what other students on campus would think about me. I had various questions going on in my mind. What were others going to say about me? Would the students make fun of me? How would I react if they were to respond to my actions? After the first initial thoughts, I became excited. I wondered how many people would be humored by me walking backwards to class. I was scared that my observations would change my perspective on a lot of ideas. I was nervous because I felt like I was not ready to change my perspective on everything after only one day. This was a huge step for me. I knew that I could not be laughing because the experiment would then be pointless. So I gathered myself together the night before and hoped this major challenge would go smoothly.

I woke up like I do every morning knowing that I had to walk on campus backwards for an entire day. I began brushing teeth and washing my face. As I was washing my face, I accidentally put soap in my eyes because I was very nervous about the day. Afterwards, I got dressed and I started by walking backwards out of my room. Unfortunately, the elevator was broken that day and I had to walk backwards down two flights of steps. As you can imagine, this did not have a great outcome. I missed a step and fell down five steps. I was happy I was not hurt and many people helped me up. Many of the people laughed at me as they were helping me get on my feet. Also, they asked questions such as “Why are you walking backwards?”, “Are you okay?” Did you know walk backwards on steps you will end up falling?” ,and “Are you slow?” These questions affected me in a huge way because it not only hurt my feelings but I knew that my day was just getting started. My next big step was walking across the crosswalk on West 4th street on campus. As I began walking backwards, many people in their cars had funny looks on their faces and began to make weird gestures. For example, their gestures were putting their hands up in the air, hanging their head out the window, and waving me down with their hands out of the window. Many cars honked at me because I walked slowly in order not to fall again.

The duration of walking backwards to class was quite difficult for me. Considering the fact, that I cannot see the people behind me and I still have to dodge cars. Once I was able to walk for a long period time without dodging cars, people began to look, whisper, laugh, and talk to me. One girl asked me, “Do you not realize that you are walking backwards?” I said, “Yes I do.” And she said, “Do you know you know that you are distracting others?” I said, “I did not know walking backwards was such a huge issue to others.” I began walking backwards and did not wait for her to respond back. When I walked into class, my professor was quite humored at what I was doing. He asked me, “what caused you to begin walking backwards?” I said, “I am doing an assignment for Sociology.” He said, “Well, I hope you do well on it. It seems like you will.” As the day ended, I was walking back across West 4th street and a car was waiting for me to finish crossing the crosswalk. As I was walking, the person got out of the car and asked me, “What are you an idiot? I am trying to drive here!” I was appalled at how he approached me as well as scared for my life. I politely continued walking and did not respond.

My experience with sanctions came from a negative stand point as well as a positive one. In reality, not doing that is not the norm is bound to be looked at negatively. According to “The Real World: An Introduction...
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