Chapter 5
Violation of norms
Judge dresses down man over T-shirt
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A young man showed up for a court
hearing wearing a obscene T-shirt. “It was
inappropriate, to say the least,” according
to the judge. The man tried to make a
joke out of it but the judge considered the
shirt openly contemptuous and stated the
man should have known better. “It says on
the summons that proper attire is
required.”
Questions to answer
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Why are dress norms violated?
What are some specific examples of
dress norm violations?
How can dress norm violations vary?
Violation of norms
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Based on the assumption that a society or group
agrees on some norms from which an individual’s
behavior can deviate
Deviant behavior is dysfunctional
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Makes social life unpredictable
Causes confusion about norms and values
Undermines trust about people’s behavior
Diverts resources to control the behavior
Reasons for norm violation
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Culture change
Location
Transmission
Values and motives
Physical conditions
Environmental conditions
Demands on resources
Temporal incompatibilities between statuses
Normative system itself
Internalization
Culture change
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Refers to modification of norms at
different periods of time
Culture change
Location
Geographical locality
 Different parts of the country have local
norms that apply to dress
 For example, California-casual
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Transmission
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Not all individuals receive
Comparable instruction
Equivalent contact
Consistent examples
Regarding appropriate and
inappropriate dress
And consequences of norm
violation
Gender-role socialization
Boys and girls socialized differently with
regard to dress norms
 Boys do not receive the same training
about aesthetic rules that girls do
 Boys less knowledgeable about dress
norms, thus,
 Boys more likely to violate dress norms
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Gender-role
socialization
Gender-role
socialization
Masculinity—defined as what it is
NOT
Not feminine
 Effeminate—a male who is similar to or
imitates the behavior, appearance, or
speech of females
 Changes in cultural views of masculinity
 Metrosexual—an urban male who has a
strong aesthetic sense and spends time
and money on his appearance
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Metrosexual male
Stereotypes about cultural categories
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Different social positions (age, gender)
Different contexts (historical, social, cultural)
Lead to different interpretation of norms
Stereotypes are resistant to change
Frame transformation
Refers to a process whereby
 groups take a negative concept (e.g.,
white trash)
 and try to turn it into something positive
 in order to create a sense of belonging
and pride
 E.g., hippie chic
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Consequences of norm violation
Newspaper articles
 Other mass media
 Report examples of sanctions daily
 Not everyone is equally exposed to the
examples
 Mass media—means of communication
designed to reach the general population
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Report of consequences of norm
violation
Agencies of socialization
Conflict is unavoidable
 School vs. family – contradictory purposes
 Church vs. adolescent peer group
 Families vs. mass media
 Conflict within a single family
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Conflict between
socialization
agencies
Attachment to significant others
Significant others—parents, teachers,
peers
 Help children accept conventional norms
 Anticipated disapproval of others
 Lack of proper socialization—not
influenced by “What would people think?”
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Socialization
Secondary group socialization
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Peer group socialization
Distinguish group by deliberate violation of
conventional norms
Norm violation a way of expressing allegiance
to a group
Values and motives
Different values, different motives =
different ideas of the legitimacy of norms
 Motive: That which causes an individual’s
action
 Choice between personal and collective
values
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What caused her
to wear socks
with sandals?
Conformity to fashion norms
Gain friendship and approval
 Reduce fear of ridicule and disapproval
 Maintain or increase security
 Boredom leads to restlessness
 Search for uniqueness, individualism,
novelty, to escape boredom
 Adopt new and innovative fashions
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Normative socialization theory
Behavior is response to sanctions
 Traditional environment – rewarded for
conformity to conventional dress norms
 Non-traditional environment – rewarded
for non-traditional dress
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Non-traditional
dress
Gang
Group of people, usually young, who band
together for purposes generally considered
to be deviant or criminal by the larger
society
 Gang members—reject conventional dress
but conform to gang dress code
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Members of Crips gang
What is the gang dress code?
Physical Conditions
Bodily state over which an individual has
no control
 Inability to meet normative demands
 Old, asymmetrical facial features, physical
disability, large bone structure
 Violate norms of being young, slim,
beautiful, and perfect
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Old age is a physical condition
Bodily states that present obstacles
Facial features—plastic surgery, makeup
 Disabilities—jeans, shoes do not fit
 Wheelchairs—barriers
 Color blindness—inherited
 Blindness
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Stereotypes contribute to obstacles
Bodily state that presents obstacles
Environmental Conditions
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Ecological state such as
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Temperature
Humidity
Precipitation
Professional dress in warmer weather
Demands on resources
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Time, money, energy
Lack of sufficient
resources
Competing demands—
food vs. clothing
Prom: Demands on resources
Extravagant display of consumerism
 Reflection of social status
 Fashion faux pas – mistake – to wear
same dress to a prom as another girl
 Exclusivity and fit—important attributes of
a prom dress
 How to pay for the prom
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Temporal incompatibilities between statuses
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Unprepared to make a change from a
status at one life stage to a later status
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Psychologically
Socially
Technically
Transition to a succeeding status involves
inherent difficulties
 Pre-teen to adolescence; adult to old age
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Transition from young adult to
middle-age
Adolescence
Early adolescence—ages 12-18
 Late adolescence—ages 18-22
 Emerging adulthood
 Lingo—specialized set of terms requiring
that it be learned like a language
 Jargon—language used by a particular
group
 Fashion Maven—an expert in fashion
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Age-appropriate
dressing for
adolescents?
The normative system itself
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Some norms are uncontrollable elements of a
situation in which an individual must try to
conform to other norms
Concurrent but competing statuses result in role
conflict
Role strain—roles associated with a single status
are in opposition to one another
Social role—standardized set of expectations
Gender roles vs. occupational roles
Role strain?
Role conflict?
Internalization
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Adoption of others’ attitudes, beliefs, and values,
either consciously or unconsciously
Norms become a part of an individual’s
motivational system
Committed to norms as being “right”
Not all people internalize cultural norms
Resistance to norm violation—commitment to
norms and an ability to justify to the self the
moral reasons for not deviating
Norms become a part of an individual’s
motivational system
norms as being
“right”; refuse to
buy fur
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Chapter 5 - Dress and Society