Norms are rules or standards of behavior shared by most members of a society or subgroup. They are statements about how you ought to, or should, behave. When appropriate behavior is defined differently for women and men, the expectations specific to each are called gender norms. One way to find out what the norms are in any given situation is to violate them–i.e., break the rules.
The purpose of this assignment is to determine the boundaries of some contemporary gender norms and to discover and challenge your own boundaries around gender. A secondary purpose is to give you the subjective experience of violating a self-defined gender norm – to give you “hands-on” experience.
Choose a natural (i.e., non-laboratory) setting in which to violate a gender norm. Think through clearly what norm you’re going to violate–make sure it’s a gender norm. . . . Sometimes the reactions will be minimal; other times it will be strong; remember, no reaction is a reaction!!! Be sure to record all reactions while they are happening. Also provide concrete evidence by way of photo(s) included as illustrations in the body of your paper.
Structure your 4-page typed-double-spaced paper as follows
1.State specifically the gender norm you intend to violate. Explain why or how it is a gender norm, and provide cultural context.
2.State in clear details exactly what you did. Report any variations in your procedure. For example, you may try your experiment in one setting, then in another. You may compare different variations of the same norm violation, or change the degrees of violation. Give all the details of the violation process. Include the photo evidence as proof/documentation here.
3.Describe your experience subjectively in two different ways: (1) your feelings as you prepared and engaged in the norm-violating behavior; (2) your feelings about how other people reacted to you.
4.Report in great detail the general and specific reactions of others to your behavior. If you get no reaction at all, or a mild reaction, report that. Report on the effects of any variations in your procedure, and what you think the significance of any (or no) reaction is.
5.What did you learn from this assignment? About yourself? About your culture? Apply course terminology to your experiences, citing the assigned course readings.
Don’t do anything illegal. Stop whenever you are too uncomfortable with the situation. If you explain your behavior to anyone–report it. Be creative!”
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