Social Norm Project
Social norms are these unwritten rules we follow everyday without thinking. I can’t remember the last time I thought twice before putting shoes on before I left the house, or eating my spaghetti with a fork instead of my hands. In the U.S. these things are normal, but in different cultures around the world these norms vary dramatically. You have asked us to go out and break a social norm, and pay attention to the peoples reactions. This is a huge eye opener for me, and I am sure the others in the class as well.
The concept really is a great way to examine yourself, your culture, and to think about how these normality’s have come to be. As for me this proved to be a little nerve racking as I probably fall into the slightly shy category.
So I started thinking about some of these things I do everyday, and decided I was going to take my dog for a walk. But this time instead of looking forward as do most human beings, I would walk backwards, and let my dog lead me through the park. This was my first idea and I figured I would give it a try and see if I got reactions from people. The park where I was walking was completely packed with people because it was a Saturday morning. I couldn’t help but crack a smile as the people around me started to stare at me like I was completely retarded. I’m sure in some ways they were right. I kept walking, nearly trampling over an old man who was power walking. He gave me a confused look, and I could tell he wanted to tell me off. At first all of the looks made me feel very uncomfortable, but then I started to become very amused with myself. I felt like I was in a jackass bit, or in a candid camera show.
I’m not sure there is any place in the world where walking backwards is normal. As simple as this experiment was, it was very effective. Later that day I also went to the Costco by my house, where again I walked backwards through the store. I was facing backwards so people would have...