SOC327 2017 Tut1 – Wed 1730

How do you feel? Bodies and emotions seem like the most basic and essential parts of us. You knew your body before you could talk, and your feelings before you could think. They form the core of you. How can such primal things as bodies and emotions – the greatest markers of who you are as an individual – be influenced by society?

Perhaps a few questions might help answer the question:

  • Do you have a tattoo?
  • Do you wear a dress?
  • Did you have braces?
  • How well do you throw a ball?
  • Do you tell people in your life that you love them regularly?
  • Can you restrain your anger?
  • Are you envious of anyone around you?
  • How happy are you?

Think about your answers to these questions. Were these just simple choices that you made as an individual, or skills you did or didn’t pick up at random? Or did your society shape your answers in predictable ways, based on your sex, age, race, education, wealth, health, and social class background? How has society shaped your body, and the way you display and use it? How has society shaped your feelings, their expression, and how you manage them?

#S327UOW17 #Tut1 #Wed1730

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  1. When looking at these questions, one thing comes to mind when considering the idea of happiness. That is conformity. Human beings ultimately conform in order to have a sense of belonging. It’s inherited on the Human condition to be apart or accepted. Society has shaped my body and how I use it by setting standards of what is acceptable today. I can restrain my anger in a public area, but when I’m at home I would find it harder to suppress my feelings. I can look at this as an example of conforming my body and how I display it to societies standards. Where chucking a fit in a public area would be unacceptable.
    Therefore I agree, yes your primal thoughts can be altered by society. Becuase society sets standards. Just like we follow these standards to be accepted by society.

  2. I think that today for many people like myself, we like to go against conformity. Yes we are ultimately choosing to not fit-in with society, however does this mean we are opening a sub group within society?
    Active choices i have made is to get tattoos and skateboard. when reading this would you assume i was a male or female?
    My most common emotion towards the idea conformity is anger … an inherit emotion completely, how else would i realise what i am feeling? does this feeling of anger influence the way i choose to look ? yes completely.

  3. After answering these questions out loud to myself, I became aware of not only my answers, but also how I felt about my answers. I do strongly believe that society can alter and impact my emotions, my thoughts and my own ideologies of the world around me. A prime example can be taken from the question “Can you restrain your anger”, which I answered ‘yes’ to. Anger is an emotion that people experience and can come across regularly. It is also an emotional expression that can be formed and impacted greatly by society itself.

    The emotional expressions and bodily gestures that embody the emotion of anger is something that would be considered obscene if displayed in public. If I were to express my anger, I would come off and be perceived as aggressive and ignorant, and therefore I could potentially be socially unaccepted and viewed as an individual not worth being associated with.
    There are certain expectations of society and of the participants of society, and it is these expectations that control whether an individual would express their emotions, such as anger; which in turn could result into a vast number of negative consequences.

    Von Scheme & Von Luede (2005, p. 319) support this by noting “expressing the appropriate, i.e. the socially expected emotions, is mandatory for an individual to be socially accepted and to receive social gratification”. This sense of social acceptance, belonging and inclusion will in fact play a role in how an individual presents themselves and how an individual will act upon in regards to their emotions. For me personally it has influenced me to remain calm and to control the anger for which I feel, the possible consequences of displaying my anger, are not something worth expressing for.

    Von Scheme & Von Luede (2005, p. 319) also note in their article “expressions considered inadequate signal that the individual expressing and probably also experiencing this emotion does not conform, mentally and behaviourally, to what is socially expected”. Personally, I believe that society has strongly shaped my ability to restrain my anger, with regards to both my sex and my age. As a twenty year old, i have the expectation of being ‘mature’, whilst also having societies expectation of a woman to be ‘polite and classy’- hence not expressing anger and remaining and pursuing my social role.

    #S327UOW17 #Tut1 #Wed1730

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