For my assignment where I was told to violate a “norm”, I was very unsure of what to do. From my perspective, I felt that this assignment should be more of something fun for me to do. But since it was supposed to be violating a norm, it would need to make other people feel, to a certain extent, uncomfortable. The norm I chose to violate was the ‘set’ standard of a male/female relationship. I achieved this violation by walking around Disneyland with my boyfriend while holding hands and being to some degree ‘lovey-dovey’. Now, this is a controversial violation because, even though I felt that it was completely normal and that I should be able to express how I feel just as the many straight couples at the theme park do, this is still, technically, a societal norm violation. And by ‘lovey-dovey’ I don’t mean making-out at every corner in the park or at the sound of every firework as the countless ‘normal’ teenage couples do. I mean, laughing together, joking around, hugging, holding hands, staring at one another, smiling, and just being a generally happy couple. I feel that my violation was a great example of the components of nonverbal communication and you can see that just by the list in the previous sentence.
There were many components of nonverbal communication that were used in my violation. There was a lot of proxemics between my boyfriend and I. We were always between the intimate and personal zones. Our kinesic behavior was a lot of our facial expressions (happy, smiling), gestures towards each other (to come in for a hug or hold my hand), eye contact, and posture (having a relaxed posture because we are with the person we love or leaning on one another because we’re tired). Paralanguage was laughing, talking softer or sweeter, and a flirty, “Get over here!” while pulling closer. Lots of time involved with waiting in lines and being at the theme park all day, but no violations of the component time. A great deal of tactile/haptics went on during our norm violation. I believe that tactile/haptics was the largest part of our violation because otherwise we could have just been two friends at Disneyland together. But because we were holding hands, hugging, pulling in close, poking, pushing, and kissing, people had become uncomfortable and uneasy around us.
Numerous people had various reactions about my norm violation. The main nonverbal component that was evident was kinesic. There were countless looks of surprise, confusion, happiness, pride, hate, and disgust. There were also many gestures such as pointing, head nods, and motioning for their kids to go in a different direction away from us; which also leads to proxemics. There were some families who saw us and immediately turned to go in a different direction or hurried past us. Since we were in a crowded theme park, most everybody was in the social zone of 4-12 feet. But when those certain people or families saw us, they tried to get as close to public zone as possible, if not farther. There wasn’t much paralanguage but the few that happened were: throat clearing, uncomfortable sighs, and coughing. Tourists of Disneyland would first get very uncomfortable, noticeable in their kinesic behavior (rigidity of their bodies), when waiting in a long line behind us, but with time, they seemed to relax a little and learned to not pay us any attention.
I had many different emotions that entire day because I was trying so hard to notice these innumerable individuals and their nonverbal reactions to my own nonverbal actions. I was happy because I was at Disneyland with the person I love and we were having an amazing day just being together, but at the same time I felt alone and cast out as if we were lepers. These peoples’ looks and rude gestures made it hard to stay in that perky, upbeat mood I had taken to the theme park with me and made me want to be alone and sad and made me feel like I was, in some way, in the wrong; it was as if I were a wanted criminal walking the streets free.