Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is for you to experience in a thoughtful manner what it is like to break a social norm, to experience the social sanctions associated with breaking a norm, and to think through how these norms affect us as individuals and reinforce social structures. This should help you to understand in a very concrete way how gender socialization works.
Activity: This exercise requires you to violate a norm associated with your gender role and evaluate the impact of this normative violation on yourself and others. In class on Nov 7, we will divide into small groups. Groups will discuss various norms associated with gender roles. Groups will then plan a gender norm violation. Groups should go out into public together. One person should violate a gender norm in a very public place. The other group members should detach themselves from the “violator” and watch how people respond. The group will then get back together and discuss: how did violating this norm make you feel? How did the public react to the norm violation? Why does this matter?
Each individual (not just each group) should write a blog entry at conclusion of the exercise. The entry should include: (1) a list of several gender norms that the group discussed; (2) what gender norm the group violated and why the group felt this is strongly associated with gender; (3) what exactly did you do to violate the norm; (4) how did this make the violator feel; (5) How did other people react to your behavior? Did they try to restore gender role "normalcy"? If so, how?; (6) explain why it matters—how does this affect socialization? Inequality? Construction of self? Our personal decisions about our lives? Or other ideas about why this matters. Remember, you are writing to the public. So, tell this like a story.
The entry should be 500-1,000 words.