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The Phenomenon of Queer Customs Essay

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Updated: Aug 29th, 2020


Queer customs explain the concept of culture in different societal contexts. Culture constitutes the customs, practices, and behaviors of people collectively in a certain environment. Culture is the center of a person’s life and marks as a blueprint of all practices and behaviors in society. Various societies have unique beliefs and practices and establish a distinct difference in behaviors.


This phenomenon can be explained in Clyde Kluckhohn’s article “Queer Customs,” in “Girls watching” article by Beth A Quinn, and “Codes of Streets” article by Elijah Anderson. Queer customs explain how the customs and cultures of unlike societies show variations. There are many customs and beliefs in societies, some of the activities conducted by members of one community are strange as seen in different cultural perspectives. Some of the behaviors in one culture may not be acceptable in another.

Kluckhohn (1944) outlines the practices and beliefs found in different cultures and various societies. For instance, the Chinese people dislike milk and all milk products; this practice does not make any sense to other cultures, and might even be termed as primitive behavior by members of other cultures.

Most of the individual’s behaviors depend on their society’s beliefs and practices. Significant variations in practices are evident across cultural diversities. Some of the human acts are unusual as perceived by others and do not make any logical sense, but anthropologists believe “humans behave and act the way they do because they were brought up that way.” This means that the whole structure of human life depends on the customs and beliefs of the entire community.

Clyde negates the idea that biological aspects influence on individual actions, and strongly affirms that the culture influences variations in behavior among individuals. Individual’s behaviors follow a framework laid down by their culture but do not primarily depend on biological or supernatural aspects. Some people in the society are considered extremely creepy and odd from other cultural perspectives, for instance, the plural wives are considered as a despicable practice in the United States but for Muslim communities are accepted.

Culture epitomizes and constitutes the system or set of practices and beliefs evident in society. Infants are born with fewer instincts, as they grow, their culture significantly influences their behavior. Customs and beliefs affect actions and behaviors of the infants in the society; therefore, this implies that a common pattern of behavior exists in a group of individuals in society (Quinn, 2002). Clyde notes that the range of actions by humans in society influences the formation of customs and beliefs and that this process primarily follows a conscious and a logical selection. Change in society is hard to materialize; this is because culture institutionalizes most of the ways of handling things in the society and thus a formidable resistance to change prevails.

Women see some behavior and signs from men and terms them as sexual harassment, but such a conclusion is sometimes misleading since men consider such behaviors as usual. At other instances, what woman considers as sexual harassment is considered as fun by men. In today’s world, women always report cases of sexual harassment.

According to men, some of the cases reported are not sexual harassment, and women are sometimes more sensitive on some issues and rush to misinterpret men’s intentions. However, women strongly affirm that men do not know the impact of the harassment: they are just ignorant. This phenomenon is usually reflected when men develop policies to help in containing sexual harassment cases as they ignore some of the women’s views. Gender policies are biased since they do not give a comparison between female and male incidences of sexual harassment. Most of them are unilaterally indented toward women’s harassment only. Therefore, such policies do not constitute true representations of sexual harassment cases.

The article “Girls watching” perpetuates men’s concerns on sexual harassment and disregards women’s views over the issue. These draw attention to the role of men in society. According to the article, men are highly exalted and their roles in society are an abstract of many privileges they earn from society. Men usually incorporate their dominance in gender policymaking.

According to a study by federal civil employees conducted by the United States Merit Protection Board in 1988, it was found out that in a period of 24 months 28 percent of women population experienced signs of sexual harassment. Therefore, the article “Girls watching” sits on an edge between the sexual harassment issue by women and men, where women find such harassment as serious, but most of the men find such occasions as fun.

In the “Codes of the streets,” Elijah considers the interpersonal problems beset the black community as more mysterious than any other problem experienced in society. Such problems are looming in the community since they are a part of living. Violence among the blacks erupts from a hard form of life in the ghetto communities, the harsh situation in life, which forces individuals to act in mysterious ways in a quest to better their living (Anderson, 1999).


In conclusion, it is fair to state that this paper focused on the behavior of individuals exhibited in different cultures and communities. The variations notes and outlines how they affect the community in general.


Anderson, E. (1999). Code of the street: Decency, violence, and the moral life of the inner city. New York: W.W Norton.

Kluckhohn, C. (1944). Queer customs: A survey of human behavior and social attitudes. Greenwich, Conn: Fawcett.

Quinn, B. (2002). Sexual Harassment and Masculinity: The Power and Meaning of “Girl Watching,” New York: Prentice.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Phenomenon of Queer Customs." August 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-phenomenon-of-queer-customs/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Phenomenon of Queer Customs'. 29 August.

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