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Breaking Social Norms (step4)
Most people in the contemporary society more so, in metropolitan areas look to gymnasiums in an effort to adhere to a healthy lifestyle. Gyms are great places for personal physical fitness regimes. As such, the gym can be considered as a social place where people of different genders, race and age interact with each other. This implies that there are folkways which all gym users are expected to abide by (Carr). Breaking these social norms or folkways is, however, common. For instance, you may often find that people do not wipe of sweat from gym equipment after use or in other cases opt to leave equipment in a disorderly manner putting other gym users at the risk of injury. For my breaking social norms experiment, I opted to see and record other gym users’ reactions after intentionally bypassing two common gym folkways. These folkways included intentionally leaving equipment with my sweat on and leaving equipment I had used in a disorderly manner.
During the breaking gym folkway experiment which was conducted for seven consecutive sessions, I noticed that people of different age groups, gender and race reacted differently after witnessing the social norms disregarded. For instance, I felt anxious while experimenting with people aged 50 and above. My parents are both aged above fifty years as are most of my relatives of whom I have a high degree of respect for. The deviant nature of the breaking social norms experiment instilled in me a feeling of low self-respect and as such, I was anxious prior to witnessing their diverse reactions. When relating to gym users of the female gender, I always perceived rash responses which in other terms I perceived would be unpredictable. As an individual who believes in gender equality, my respect for the opposite sex is of a high regard. The deviant nature of my experiment also made me anxious of their reactions but more so, I had a sense of helplessness concerning whatever reaction they could have presented to me. I. however did not feel anxious while carrying out the experiment targeting men younger than me. I had a sense of self confidence that was markedly high and as such, this later left me with an uncomfortable feeling concerning my indifference towards younger males. With regard to race, I felt that the deviant nature of my experiment supported the unfortunate reality of our society. As such, I tried as much as possible to sound dumb rather than offensive when gym users from other racial backgrounds responded to my breaking gym social norms experiment.
From a sociology standpoint, my breaking the social norm experiment was a success. The diverse reactions from gym users of different racial backgrounds, gender and age all showed that the wiping your sweat off gym equipment and placing gym equipment in an orderly manner after use is an embraced social norm (Carr). However, the different reactions from users of different age groups, gender and race showed that these are factors that determine how they reacted to my deviances. For instance, I noted that one Caucasian male aged over fifty years simply looked at me and responded by saying, “Sonny, it’s not so difficult to lift this dumbbell up and place it on the rack, do you. Exercise your etiquette to.” Ladies were generally harsh while the younger males felt obliged to be insulting. African American ladies and men saw the experiment as an opportunity to express disappointments with people with no respect for other people. All in all, I believe that the breaking norm experiment turned out successful.
Carr, Jason. Sociology in action – the breaching experiment. WiredCosmos. 2012. Web. 3 Jun. 2016. <http://wiredcosmos.com/2012/06/07/sociology-in-action-the-breaching-experiment/>.