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Social Norms In America Essay

1163 words - 5 pages

Social Norms in America

They hold us together as a culture, while separating us as unique individuals at the same time. Folkways, which are based more on custom and etiquette are the most broken of all norms. This can be explained because worst case scenario our only reprimand may be someone staring or talking about us. Mores, while a little more serious than folkways, still don’t have a very serious punishment, just maybe a little more than weird looks, double takes and bad mouthing. Mores are usually based on social morals, which can sometimes make people get a little uneasy, but not much more than that. Laws are the most serious or formal norms, with standard punishment respective to the type of law that is broken. The norm that I have chosen to discuss, in my opinion, hits a little bit of all three of these categories. I have chosen to analyze a television talk show and the guests they attract. Maury Povich, while previously known as one of the more serious talk shows with fairly reasonable guests and topics has become more of a “Jerry Springer” type of talk show. It is almost so vile that you just have to watch it kind of a show; at least that is my roommate’s excuse. Monday, March 14th, the show aired the topic “My Boyfriend Controls My Every Move.” Since Maury was straying from his almost everyday topic of “Who Is My Babies Daddy”, I decided to give it a gander. I was absolutely appalled at the things these couples were saying. There was one couple in particular that really had my undivided attention that had been married twenty some odd years. This woman was made to do everything her husband said, or she would be punished. Her duties included cleaning, cooking, shopping, grooming and washing her husband, keeping the laundry done and any other task he came up with at any given moment. He had pencils hanging from the ceilings in case she disobeyed him, he could grab one down and stab her for her punishment. He also walked with a cane that amazingly doubled as a beating stick.

He was even nice enough to bring it along with him to the show to shake it at his wife as well as the criticizing audience. Most of the other men weren’t quite as creative as the first gentleman, (all pun intended), they would just beat the women bare knuckled for not listening or not obeying them as they saw fit. These behaviors that the men seemingly paraded around on national television can be explained by several of the theories discussed in class. The feminist theory, the labeling theory and the differential association theory are the ones that best relate to this behavior. The feminist theory is the theory that strongest relates to this issue because it strictly applies to one gender. It is very stereotyped when thinking of domestic violence that a man is abusing a woman; that way of thinking alone illustrates the fact that it is a “gendered” crime. There was not one case on this particular episode of Maury of a woman that would...

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