Do you think our actions must be always in accordance with societal norms?

United States
February 11, 2008 11:04pm CST
What is your perception on societal norms? How do you deal with societal norms? Do you think they should always be followed? Do you feel bad whenever you deviate to the norms of society? How would you react to people who deviate to norms? Do you ridiculed them? reject them? Few questions made me wonder as to why our personality, our way of living, and everything about us is being affected by the societal norms when in fact we have freedom to do things on our own. I have observe many which tend to go against a certain thing because they are afraid they will be rejected by the society. There are some who always do whatever they want and doesn't mind the society's rejection. Let us cite a few examples. People tend to ridiculed lesbian and gays, men who cry in public, women who play boyish sports, men who do household chores. Now, do you think this is justifiable Do you think our actions must be always in accordance with societal norms? Please give me your opinion. Thanks!
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9 responses
• United States
13 Feb 08
I have never been accused of being normal nor average. Nor would I ever want to be. I could care less what society thinks is "normal". I do, however, care about manners. the definition of manners is making everyone as comfortable as the situation allows. It is manners that are lacking in our society, thus the ridicule of those different from ourselves. There can be no justification for lack of manners.
• United States
18 Feb 08
You confuse morals and ethics. Morals are a personal situation between one's "god" and themselves. Ethics is the social medium and deals with the way people treat each other. This is a common error to confuse the two, having been blurred by the religious right wing for many years now. Someone who believes that holding a knife in the right hand and a fork in the left is rude is obviously not well traveled. To base the norm on America would indeed be fool hardy in most cases since Americans tend to be pedestrian at best. In any case, it is not a matter of moral norm to respect the differences of those around you. Making everyone at the table feel comfortable (or as comfortable as possible under the circumstance) is indeed good manners and has nothing to do with "evil" "sin" or social norms.. it is simply good manners. The "under the circumstance" is only added as there are times it is difficult if not impossible to make someone feel comfortable/safe/accepted even if you are another Ghandi or Mother Teresa.. you can only do what you can do. The English language is full of ambiguities .. the Moral Majority is neither for example. Consider for a moment the concept that there is no evil... only lessons to be learned. If someone considers your table "manners" to be lacking I suggest it is their overall manners that are lacking. I don't believe I have ever been called bourgeois. decadent perhaps, but only when I meant to be. I pray I am never "normal" that is pretty much being average and I do expect more of myself and those with whom I associate. (most of them know the difference between morals and ethics.)
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• Finland
18 Feb 08
No, i'm not confusing ethics and morals. On the contrary i'd say your view about morals and ethics is quite original. Morals is a doctrine about right and wrong action, ethics a doctrine about good and bad, eg. the values to strive for in life. The difference between the two is rather clear for me. And certainly i'm not blurred by the religious right. More important difference is the one between the sociological, purely descriptive, and the normative view of moral norms. Descriptive views are about what kind of moral norms there are in a certain time/place (eg. what is the society's view of right action), normative views are about what is (really) the right action. What do you after all mean by saying "It is simply good manners"? Why, if you don't care about morals, should anyone ever have good manners?
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• United States
18 Feb 08
Hey, I miss this out, the discussion is getting hot. I think the two of you has points. I would say if we care about manners, then we care about social norms. If we about manners then we care about morals, and thus care about social norms. Manner as well as the ethics and religion are subtopics of morals. But sorry silvatungfox, I would strongly disagree with your last 3 statements. But, I do believe you have reasons as to why you said that, I am hoping you will further elaborate or explain what you specifically mean with those last three statements.
• Finland
18 Feb 08
I think our actions must always be in accordance with morals. If morals happen to be in accordance with the societal norms, then yes we have to comply with societal norms. But that is just accidental; for me the prime rule comes always from morals. So i also think it is ridiculous and totally unjustifiable to mock somebody for not being in accordance with societal norms, because in many many instances societal norms are plainly idiotic. For me they are just happen-to-be rules, differing from place to another, and to demand obedience to them is just an expression of a particular norm in a particular place at a particular time, and person demanding them just an effect of all this particularism and surrounding cultural narrowness. Sometimes i feel embarassed doing something deviating, some kind of shame, but most shameful i feel when caring about social norms and being unable to do something freely. I would rather not have neither of these feelings, because the former is just stupidity and the latter comes from recognizing my own stupidity. Only deviant people i've found some times irritating are junkies and lunatics, because interacting with them has been difficult. Actually, i think it is quite sad to notice how much there are norms in everything, how one should behave and what kind of life to live, what one should be interested in, what kind of attitude one should have towards life, etc etc, and that if these norms are not being followed, you can get kicked out of interaction. It is sad, because if they're just being followed, then nobody is really thinking for her/himself, and then there's neither ever real interaction between people. If we are just repeating old thoughts copied from outside and living and talking them, then it is not really we who are living but some old ideas in our heads, and we become like robots. So i'm strongly against just doing what the society demands. What i respect is free, individual and moral thinking and living.
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• United States
18 Feb 08
Since morals are the personal, and ethics the social, perhaps you mean ethics.. see above where you deemed to respond to my response to the subject matter.
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• Finland
18 Feb 08
On what grounds do you define the words "morals" and "ethics" the way you do? There's already existing a settled usage of the words and if you are using the words not according to the common usage, you have to explain your usage (otherwise you will be misunderstood) and the reason why you are using old words in a new way, unless you are making poetry. There's no distinction between individual and social that would accord to the distinction morals/ethics.
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• United States
18 Feb 08
Hello Sicelid, Welcome to mylot, I really admire your view point regarding this issue. For me, it really pictures out what is happening in our society. And you have just given a very nice explanation. Thanks for your response. I learn a lot.
• United States
12 Feb 08
No, I don't believe that. If people always lived by the rules there would have been no American Revolution or woman's rights or the Civil Rights Movement. Our society is shaped by those bold enough to break the mold, to rebel, to fight for the things they think are right.
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• United States
13 Feb 08
Yeah, you are right. Those people who are brave enough to show their individuality makes our societal norms a dynamic one. And do believe which is just right.
• United States
13 Feb 08
Yeah, you are right. Those people who are brave enough to show their individuality makes our societal norms a dynamic one. And do believe which is just right.
@MrMalice (83)
• United States
12 Feb 08
Some social norms keep the peace but others are ridiculous. As a punk (as a lifestyle) a believe that a social norm is only something that is created to oppress some ones true self-expression. So no, social norms are made to be broken and revolutionize. They are made by people who are afraid of what is out there and what the world can offer. They keep creativity locked down and try and destroy orginallity. People need to learn to be themselves and quit caring what the world thinks!
• United States
13 Feb 08
yeah, that is what I think. societal norms sometimes control the lifestyle of individual. It hinders some people to express their uniqueness as an individual. I guess it is the societal norms that sometimes made the life of every individual abnormal. thanks for the response.
@cortney09 (1348)
• United States
19 Feb 08
I am one of those people that keep thinking. Who am I to judge what normal is. I think that there really is no normal anymore. I guess that I say that because there are so many different types of people who do things that may not be normal in everyone else's eyes, but is very normal to them.
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@4chanftw (40)
• United States
13 Feb 08
I think some societal norms are meant to be broken. Really why should we follow what everyone thinks is normal. Like my dad used to do laundry all the time hes is straight, he cooks, and he does the dishes. All three of those are considered a womens job. Personally I accept anyone. I don't think anyone should be considered as outcast or you should make fun of them just because they're different.
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@vanities (11351)
• Davao, Philippines
13 Feb 08
What you are in your home as being the first school really counts a lot on the outside(mingling)..and it varies actually..like what you had given as an example above ..if your surrounded with them in your house then you perceived it as theres nothing wrong(and really nothing wrong about being one)..the problem encounters when your outside(society) since some have different views on that matter..but in my opinion..whatever i perceive or think that it is right which means havent offended anybody on the process or no laws been violated..then it is fine..though others think its not right ..it is not a crime..
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@lucy67 (819)
• China
12 Feb 08
most of my actions are in accordance with social norms because i can accept these norms. however in a few cases, i will force myself to do things according to social norms because i don't like to be rejected by others. in a few other cases, i will insist on my own idea in spite of social norms. as long as i do not do harm to others, why should i change my idea.
@aseretdd (13712)
• Philippines
12 Feb 08
"I Refuse to Conform to the Norms of Society"... well, not all the time of course... only when i feel that what is right should be followed... like accepting homosexuality as a part of our society... Norms like humans should evolve to suit human need and wants...not to restrict and hinder one from growing and succeeding...
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