Good Example Of Report On Norm Violation
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In this experiment, I intend to test people’s comfort levels. I will approach one or two people of in a public place (restaurant outside the university, public washrooms, and a lift at the mall) then sit/stand close or directly opposite to them. Once I gain their attention, I will remove packets of condoms and tear open the wrappings, poke, smell and fondle them. I will also try to engage them with statements like “come here often?”, “have we met before?”, and “thought you looked familiar”. I expect that most people should find it discomforting and may leave, but I do not think they will attempt to engage me.
At the restaurant, I approached a table on which a girl was seated alone and eating. The room seats about 100 people and the spacing of tables in the facility were close enough that patrons at neighbouring tables (which had at least five people in direct view of my chosen table. She was probable 20 or younger. The rest of the patrons were similarly young, except for two middle-aged men that were in conversation. Once seated, I removed a packet of condoms, opened it and tore open the wrappings. I put it on the tip of my finger and rolled it open, fondled, smelt it and stretched it. I put on the table and while I opened another one, I looked the girl in the eye and said “I just bought these, not too I guess, come here often?” She looked with amusement at the beginning, but after a minute or so, her face showed discomfort and disgust. She grimaced, rolled eyes and twisted her lips. When I tried to chat her up, she rose and left, saying “gross”. The two older patrons noticed what was going on, but did not pay much attention to it. The rest of the youthful patrons on the adjacent tables were amused, but not much more.
At the mall, I waited for a lift that had three young people (two girls and a man, possibly in their twenties). The lift was relatively small (about one-and-a-half-square metres) with a giant mirror on the side opposite the door so that I was in their personal space. Once the door closed, I pretended to want to step outside to gain their attention, and then I quickly removed the condoms, tore open the wrapping and repeated the same things as before, only faster because I knew they could get off. The lowest floor stop was the fifth floor (according to the light on the lift’s buttons). All the three appear uncomfortable, looked away, or feigned disinterest. One girl preferred to look at me through the mirror wall. The girls got off on the third floor (instead of fifth), when the doors were about to close, and nobody else joined us, the guy left too.
I went to a large washroom on the university premises. It is large enough to accommodate about 30 people at ago, going by the 15 odd urinal units and about 14 toilets. It is such that there are always people inside, especially at the hand-washing sinks. This time, there were about six people washing/drying hands, which takes about a minute. I opened the condoms, put one on the sink table, while I opened another and repeated the fondling and unwrapping tease, in the same way, that I did at the restaurant and the life. I looked at one person and remarked that he looked familiar. I received little attention. People simply went about their businesses, or deliberately chose to ignore me.
In many societies across the world, sex and many things associated with are considered intimate and private, with numerous norms and taboos serving to ensure that they are only acceptable in private. Throughout the experiment, I took care to avoid places with children. I felt a sense of guilt and fear at the risk of being judged a pervert. I expected that people find it odd and embarrassing or uncomfortable, but not too extreme (mores) that they would call the police. I found that people were visibly uncomfortable at the restaurant and lift, but not in the washrooms. I believe, this is because the washroom is considered a private space, and has people of the same gender, so the sexual tension was markedly lower. I believe the norms confining sex to the private space are meant to ensure public sexual morality by using self-censoring shame and embarrassment.
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