Social Norms


What is acceptable?

Why is it okay for one person to do something but not another? 

Social norms determine what is acceptable or appropriate in society. They are not laws, just unwritten rules. 

There are hundreds of different ones that are either simple, like greeting someone with a handshake, or more in-depth, like the role each gender should play in society. 

Often there is a giant gap between what is expected of a girl versus a boy. For some reason, men expect more out of women than vice-versa. 

Sitting in class, one will often see boys picking front wedgies, but if a girl ever did that, they would be crucified. No one wants to see that, but for some reason, boys feel that it is okay for them. 

It scars eyes. 

Tim Kiefer, a weights teacher at LHS, thinks in the instance of a front wedgie, it is not okay unless a boy is in weights class or playing a sport. In and around the school is not the place to do that. 

When he first started teaching, the boys of LHS were much worse about that and he notices it much less now. Boys do it so much that they just do not notice it. He does not think girls do that, though, if they did, it would be highly irregular.

He thinks that how boys and girls dress is a social norm as well. For girls, it is normal to wear things that show midriff. If a guy did that, it would be less accepted. 

“Boys should stop fidgeting with their shorts and open a door for a girl,” Kiefer said. 

Social norms are bad in a lot of cases but have become so regular in society that it is hard to move away from them. As time goes on, though, some are slowly disappearing. 

Some years ago, it was a social norm for the man to be making all of the income while the women stayed home and took care of the house. Now society and LHS are allowing young girls to dream and build themselves a career where they can be self-sustaining. 

Regan Wright, a junior at LHS, thinks that the concept of women being at home and men being at work has changed throughout the generations. Her parents’ generation is more leaned toward that gender role social norm, whereas her generation seems to be leaning away from that. 

She thinks in the situation of dressing; there are both social norms for boys and girls. Girls may be too scared to wear long shorts to their knees or most will not buzz their hair when their hair begins to get in the way. Leaving what is normal can be nerve-racking. 

“Stick to the Status Quo OH OH OH OH. If you wanna be cool, stick to the rules,” Wright sang.  

It is possible to move away from these social norms; focussing on how one feels about doing normal things can help to pick out the bad ones. 

I understand the concept of social norms and think that they can be both bad and good.

It is sometimes hard to differentiate between stereotypes and social norms.