Lets start by understanding that cultures are a melting pot of people’s beliefs, language, behaviors, values, material objects, and norms. Norms are written and non-written “expectations of behavior” that govern a certain location, place, or culture (26). These norms also vary from culture to culture meaning what is a norm in the U.S may not be a norm in India. For example, a norm in America would be tipping a waiter after a meal. Another would be acknowledging someone as you walk past him or her, typically done at work or in a public place. In all, norms are folkways, mores, taboos, and written laws that are an established standard of one’s behavior.
For this assignment, I decided to observe a fitness center (gym) setting and break the “workout equipment is not a toy” norm. I conducted my observations at my local Anytime Fitness center that I actually frequent. Ironically, I missed my normal workout time that morning and decided to go later in the day. This worked out perfect for the observation because I arrived at around 5:00 pm, the busiest time for the establishment.
The gym is relatively square with widows covering half of the room. The other half of the room has a wall of mirrors with the last wall having a hallway to bathrooms as well as the fitness trainer’s office. On one of the window walls it has a row of cardio equipment (that has attached TV’s on them) facing the outside. In the back corner near the cardio equipment is a stretching and body exercise area (kettle bells, mats, exercise balls, medicine balls, and stepping stands). In the center are weight machines that range from leg, arm, and abdominal equipment. The wall with the mirrors contains the free weights and other bench press and weight machines. Overall...
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... to do next while the others glanced occasionally at the show. I bounced around for the entire song before I stopped and then gave a bow. To conclude, breaking the norm inside the gym was mixed with positive and negative sanctions. I was given a displeasing gesture (negative; the look) and was rewarded with smiles and laughs (positive). I’m sure most of the members enjoyed it better than I did, simply because I was nervous, embarrassed, and almost busted my but a few times. I was rather pleased with the trainer’s reaction because he maintained control yet didn’t freak out towards my actions. I was over all satisfied with everyone’s reactions and glad that I’m not banned from the gym (I did tell my trainer after that it was a social experiment).
Henslin, J.M. (2012) Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. (10th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
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