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I will violate the norm of wearing light clothing in warm weather. People experience temperature differently. This corresponds with information I have experienced on a trip to India. Multiple times I have seen people from Kerala (averages 80 degrees Fahrenheit) wear coats when going to Munnar (averages 70 degrees Fahrenheit) on my vacation. In fact, Munnar residents usually know who’s a tourist by how bundled up they are. I know this from how I was charged half of what my coat wearing aunt was at a restaurant. Therefore, I want to see the reactions of what people in NIU think of bundling up in weather of 70 degrees or more.
There is a mechanism of social control as people usually wear what others wear, regardless if they are a few degrees to warm or cold. Therefore, I will wear a coat outside when walking to the psychology building from Stevenson, in Japanese Class, and at Newman Catholic Church when the weather is above 70 degrees. It is predicted that if in atmospheres of 70 degrees and up with a coat, most people would avoid asking me about it. I expect most people to give looks and nothing more. I think very few people will confront me about it The time was 10:20 as I exited Stevenson South through a side door. The temperature was 72 degrees. The elevator housed only, on my way, out I saw an African American male walking past me. He did not notice me, and I left through a side door. The weather was sunny which exposed me clearly to those in the distance who were walking back towards Stevenson. I was opposite of another crosswalk where a group of White women in their 20’s. They looked at me and I looked back in a nonchalant Katla 2 fashion. They did not say anything but as soon as we passed each other after the Dusable roundabout they started laughing and talking to themselves. I was approximately past Neptune, in front of the NIU library. When I reached there an older White woman was on her phone. She tried to take my picture without me noticing and I realized this and looked at her. She was smiling and looking the other way. At this point I was nearing the psychology building and the time was 10:36. A group of students were walking on the left side of the crosswalk. They were chatting until I was near them, when they stopped talking and walked silently.
Once I reached the psychology building, I ended the experiment for that day. One day after the walk to psychology, I decided to have my coat in Japanese class. The exterior temperature was about 69 degrees Fahrenheit and inside the classroom was warmer. For the beginning of class, a lot of friends and classmates asked me what’s happening. These classmates were variations of race, including Mexican, White, and African American in their 20’s near me. I told them I was warm and was greeted with laughter. Other than that, I only saw a few looks and whispers about myself. The remainder of the class period was silent. Halfway during the class, the teacher, a Japanese Woman in her 40’s pointed to me and asked if I was warm, in which I said yes. She said ok with a smile and went back to her lesson. Class ended normally, and that day’s session was over.
Lastly, I decided on wearing a coat to church. The church I chose was Neuman Catholic Church. I arrived by car and the exterior temperature was warm. Maybe about 77 degrees Fahrenheit. I met no one on my way from the car to the church as I came early. I was about 20 minutes early before mass. People started coming in and my friend, Angel, was on lookout. He noticed people in their 60’s looking at me and talking. Other than that, there was no direct communication. Mass started and when I first stood up a White man in his 40’s tugged on my jacket. He made a “why are you wearing that” look and I whispered that I was hot. Mass progressed on and exchanging peace occurred. I shook hands with about Katla 3 three people. Two people, the same White man from earlier and his mother, a woman in her 70’s, both asked about the coat. I responded I was cold. Mass ended, and we left to the car. Someone maybe pointed and whispered about me because when I looked back their hand went down, and they went quiet. This person was about a car length away from me and was an older white male.
In all, I went about three different social areas with a coat on while in warm weather. This violated the norm of wearing what everyone else is wearing, even if some people are slightly colder or warmer. When violating the norm, I felt embarrassed. I felt that people were thinking I was either dumb for making a mistake or a new person who’s not used to the climate. The countless whisperings and laughs accentuated this feeling. I felt like this because I knew how goofy it looked when walking with a big coat while everyone else was not. However, this aligns with my prediction. While many people conversed among themselves and laughed, only few people came up and inquired about my choice of wear. In terms of difficulties, I did not experience much. Wearing the coat was a little uncomfortable but not deadly.
Through this activity, I learned about how norms strongly exercise social control. In my case, and for those who experience temperature differently, they would be different. If there were more people who violated this norm it could lead to another “them” vs. “us” but the strength of following this norm is enough to prevent that from happening. Norms in general follow this as I have seen myself following countless norms during this assignment. I am sure breaking those norms would result in varying negative responses just like the one I broke for this paper; however, I know that people follow these norms adamantly, myself included. This shows just how willing people are to not create any social friction among each other and follow what they think is the best for them.
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