Gender Differences In Social Experiments

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For my social experiment I chose to ask strangers if I could borrow a chapstick. Not only did this violate the social norm of strangers keeping to themselves, but also the sharing of a personal object, and asking both men and women for this ‘gendered’ object. All these common cultural norms are taken for granted, and I was unsure what would occur once they were broken.
Out of the three subjects I approached asking for a chapstick, two were female and one was male. All three were very taken aback with my strange request. The first lady nervously laughed, squinted her eyes—as though looking for someone else with whom to share her apprehension—and shook her head. She remarked that she only had one—which she was unwilling to share--apologized,
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“Meanings tell us how we should feel and behave, generally in specific conditions” (Lecture 8/30), and if a situation has no specific conditions, there is no meaning associated. When the training wheels of society are taken away, people are unsure how to respond. This is why the participants were hesitant in their answers, and relied on other aspects of reality to respond. Social order dictates individuals keep to themselves, and avoid contact with others unless a relationship is formed. The blatant lack of relationship violates a basic human culture. Additionally, the various statues of myself and the subjects determined the results of the experiment. I am a college student, as were the first and second participant, but the third was older and seemed to be a middle class woman. Since I was not in a status ‘higher’ than the participants, I did not command respect. For example, if President Obama asked a stranger for a chapstick, he or she would be more willing to provide his request due to his prestigious status. One the social order is altered, the response to a situation is changed to match the initial …show more content…
The lack of training for these various situations leaves people in uncomfortable, unknown states. Reactions are based on our culture, which is taught through direct and indirect observations. When no situation is rehearsed, an individual’s true nature is revealed, due to the lack of indoctrinated training. However, if an experiment if repeated, similar results may occur, despite the situation being novel for each participant. This indicates other aspects of culture appearing and taking charge of the situation. By asking various strangers to borrow a chapstick, the common thread of polite apprehension was apparent. Despite the situation being unique, the culture of manners prevailed and guided the subjects through the encounter. The similar responses indicate how individual’s actions are often alike and create a societal

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