Norms In The Mall

Submitted By kasiasr
Words: 1471
Pages: 6

Derek Norman and Kasia Radford
0843343 and 0831004
Class Number: 10065
“Why wear that here?”

When you think of the norms related to the types of clothes each gender wears when they go to the mall, you think that a girl may wear short shorts with a shirt or jeans with a shirt. When it comes to guys, the norm is some wear jeans and a tank top or shorts and a tank top while others wear cargo shorts with a shirt and a hat; the list is endless. However, you do not normally see people wear skin tight dresses around the mall (That goes for both guys and girls). So we decided to do exactly that. So around 5 o’clock or so on a Thursday evening, we decided to go to the mall and buy a dress and see how people react and sanction a female wearing a skin tight black dress around the mall and also see how people react and sanction a male wearing that exact same dress. We conducted this breaching experiment at the Lakewood Mall. At the mall there weren’t very many people but there were a fair amount of both males and females at the mall during this Thursday evening. The age of most of the males at the mall at the time seemed to range from seventeen years old to about twenty-five years old with the exception of a few kids here and there. On the flip side, the females’ ages ranged from 20-30 with the same exception that was just stated. When you think of the word deviance, you think of going against what is set in society (norms). To be specific, deviance is, “any action, belief, or human characteristic that members of a society or a social group consider a violation of group norms and for which the violator is likely to be censured or punished” (Ritzer 689). This is exactly why we chose the place we chose. The reason is simple; no one wears such a nice dress to the mall, especially if you are a guy. Our behavior overall is deviant as well, specifically Derek because no straight guy is going to put on a black dress for the hell of it and not expect people to give him negative sanctions. The sanctions received as a male were very obvious. Yes, as you can guess, being a male with tattoos wearing in a skin tight, black dress got a lot of negative sanctions. As a matter of fact, just asking if I could try on a dress in the first place gave me a sanction from the Windsor employee (Windsor is the place we got the dress from). As soon as I asked her she gave me this look like “are you kidding me? Is this a joke or are you really about to try on this tight dress?” She was even more shocked when I came out with it on. I know this because she started shaking her head because she knows this is not a norm of society in a mall. Then after that I started walking around in the mall and every time I past a kiosk with a person around it helping customers, I would often hear them stutter or pause and look at me because they have never seen anything like it and were shocked that a six-foot four inch man walking around with tattoos has decided to strut his stuff and walk around the mall as if nothing was wrong. As wrong as I personally felt doing this, it just goes to show that when people start to be deviant from what others consider “normal”, people often become judgmental and sanction deviance right away without asking any questions.
The sanctions received as a female were both blunt and yet very subtle. Because this took place at a shopping mall in the later afternoon, I was more prone to judgmental attention from a majority of women. My first sanction was after my exit from the bathroom; I previously went in with jeans and a jacket on then came out with a very tight club dress. Few women were in line to use the bathroom, and many were confused as to why I made this change. After my exit I made eye contact with older women who not only looked but stared, slightly shaking her head. I then continued to venture around the mall and see who I could get a clear reaction from. The next sanction was from two older men who were seated at a bench, I