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Norm Violation Paper Essay

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Updated: Jun 15th, 2020

Living in the modern world, we got used to follow specific norms. Some norms are so natural, that we even cannot imagine that we may violate them.

For example, attending public restrooms, men and women always go the ones which are identified for their gender. It is almost impossible to see a woman in a public men’s restroom, and vice versa. Of course, there are different situations and sometimes we may confuse something, however, men are not going to attend a women’s public restroom intentionally as there is a men’s restroom next to it.

I have decided to violate this norm and to choose a men’s restroom. I want to see the reaction of men when they see a woman in their restroom. This rule violation is referred to a folkway as violating this rule I present myself as person who does not know the elementary norms of social behavior.

Violating this norm of social behavior I want to see the reaction of people and their readiness to face the norm violation. Considering the reaction, I want to know whether people are going to correct my behavior or they are too careless for the surrounding world which does not have a direct attitude to them.

The main idea of this experiment is to consider human readiness to point to incorrect behavior and to have a desire to improve the situation by means of teaching a strange person the simplest rules. The experiment will help to understand how many people are ready to spend their time on the elementary notification about the rules violation and correcting it.


I visited several men’s public restrooms where the number of attendants is high. I went to the public places during the time when the rate of people is high. I entered a men’s restroom and watched the reaction of people. First of all, I wanted to know whether men in the restroom would notice me.

Second, I watched their reaction and made notes if men tried to tell me that I used the wrong doors. Third, I considered the way people reacted. It was important for me to see the way of their reaction, whether they were aggressive or not. Finally, I considered the time people were ready to spend on trying to show the door for me.

I was in a central supermarket on Monday and on Thursday. I also visited the central park restrooms in the morning on Tuesday and on Friday, and in the afternoon on Saturday and on Sunday. Generally, I spent almost a week on this experiment, still it was about 20 minutes a day. After each visit I made notes to get as much information as possible about the reaction and the way men behaved when they saw me in their restroom.


The results of the experiment are as follows. In most cases men reacted on me, however, the most common reaction was silent amusement. Men understood that I chose the wrong doors, however, in most cases they either left faster or just closed the doors (if they were just about entering).

The amusement could be read on their faces. There was one case of aggressive reaction on my presence in the men’s restroom. A man told me in a rude way that I used a wrong door and that my place was in the next room. No aggression was noticed, a man just used impolite tone and irritation in his voice. There were only several cases of men’s trying to show me on my wrong behavior. Two men said that I might choose the wrong room. One man asked whether I need help in something. Three men asked me to leave as I used a men’s restroom.

All other men just silently looked at me, smiled or expressed their amusement in another way and remained silent. No one tried to push me or use another physical power. No one laughed at me openly or showed their disrespect. It seemed that I just entered a simple room where I was extra, but no rule was violated.

Analysis and conclusion

Violating this norm I felt embarrassed and ever fear. I was not sure whether the reaction of people was going to be normal and aggression would be absent. Only after several days of normal outcome of the experiment I entered fearlessly the restrooms without being afraid of what would happen. The whole affair was a fun for me, I was interested in the results and the adrenalin rush I felt was great.

My feelings were connected with the violation as breaking the rules I appeared in a frustrating situation, IU showed myself as a person who is unable to distinguish between men’s and women’s restrooms as it cannot come into mind that I intentionally broke the law. As I have already said, after several attempts of rules violation I felt more comfortable.

It says that the absence of the criticism in my direction made me feel comforted under strange circumstances. Moreover, it showed that the constant violation of the norms and absence of negative reaction and punishments allows to think that it is possible to act in such a way and violation of the rules becomes an ordinary behavior.

Giving me just weird looks people understood that I acted n a wrong way, however, no one wanted to make any affairs with me being bothered by their own business. I suppose that the main reason of the absence of actions in many cases was provoked by the lack of desire to spend personal time on an action which has nothing to do with them directly.

People think only about themselves in most cases. When they face the issues which do not touch them directly, they prefer to stand aside to avoid any complicated situations. Speaking about my actions, many people understood that I acted in a wrong way, but they did not want to deal with me as it was not their business.

The rude reaction was the reason of a bad mood of a person who needed someone to cry at to relax. That is all. In another situation this person may behave in a way others did, just a silent weird look and that could be everything I deserved. The experiment shoed that modern people care only about themselves and the violation of the rules does not bother them if it does not touch them directly.

This norm violation helped me understand that society has become too personalized. Thinking only about themselves people have forgotten that we all live in one society and that cooperation between people is a guarantee of success. Only working in a team, people can reach the result. People have become too distant from each other and they think only about themselves. This experiment may be developed and the reasons of human behavior may be studied.

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Further Study: FAQ

📌 What are some examples of norm violations?

Examples of norm violations are as follows:
  • entering a wrong public restroom door;
  • shopping from others’ carts;
  • offering to pay more than the posted price for an item.

📌 What are the common social norm violation ideas?

There are some social norm violations that we meet in our everyday life. For example, pushing extra buttons in the elevator or crossing a road in the wrong place. Even taking someone else’s phone to read a message counts.

📌 What is a folkway violation?

A folkway violation is a mildly enforced social expectation. A folkway violation is not severely punished but most of the time met with surprise.

📌 What are some folkway examples?

Some folkway examples include:
  • holding a door for someone;
  • saying hi to your neighbors;
  • waiting for other people’s food to arrive before you start eating.

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