For our social norm breaking project, we chose to have one person sit behind a public toilet stall and then the individual proceeded to sing while pretending to use the bathroom. We believed this activity went against the unsaid public restroom etiquette our society has created. It goes without saying that it is most proper to be silent while using a public restroom with strangers. We believed that upon hearing a complete stranger belt out a tune in a restroom, most people would act uncomfortable and awkward. Our hypothesis was that the majority of the strangers would show obvious displays of discomfort upon hearing the singing. Our singing in the restroom was the variable for our project.
To do our project we had one person sit behind a stall and that person would sing while pretending to use the bathroom. Another person would be in the restroom as well, and would record the reactions of any people present in the restroom during the singing. We then repeated the activity until we recorded enough reactions. We then collected and organized the findings. After that we came to the conclusion that the majority of people did not enjoy hearing a stranger sing in the restroom, many of them would make some type of face and comment to themselves. Our activity showed us that there is some type of learned bathroom etiquette that we all somehow agree upon. Singing in the restroom with strangers is not allowed.
04/02/02 Phillip Kelly Bathroom Project Critique The class project for my Art Studio/Design class is to redesign the bathroom on our floor ... endeavor. The aim of this project is to create compelling sketches of what our ideal bathroom would look like while sticking to ... design, followed by the sink, wall pattern, mirrors, fixtures, ceiling, bathroom stalls and finally the floor plan for the lounge area ...
Before we did our project I, , felt very nervous and apprehensive towards the idea of singing around strangers. I am personally uncomfortable singing in front of people to begun with, I do not like my voice, and I cannot sing very well. Knowing all these things, I felt even more uncomfortable singing. However, I agreed and reluctantly did the project because I knew this was just a project, and there will be plenty of other things I won’t want to do in my life, but I still have to. both felt uncomfortable with the public restroom singing, but not to the same extent. We also felt curious to see how people would react.
During the project I felt nervous and frightened while singing behind the stall. Sure. I am behind a stall and the majority of the strangers did not see me, I still felt very embarrassed and uncomfortable. During the first reactions, I was terribly scared and I started to sing the lyrics wrong and I laughed nervously a few times.My singing was a bit worse during the first times too. As I did more of them, I felt less nervous and I relaxed a bit more. But during the entire time I still felt embarrassed and lame. My group members felt a contact embarrassment as well. Observing and recording the reactions made us feel awkward and weird.
The reactions consisted of many of the strangers making faces of discomfort and confusion. Many said comments to themselves or to whoever was with them. There seemed to be no difference in the comments of the individuals based on their ethnicity. However, age did show that the majority of individuals seemed to be more outspoken the younger the individual was. The teenagers and young adults seemed to be more comfortable with openly speaking their thoughts on the activity. The older individuals were either more politely spoken, or they simply ignored it. The majority of the spoken comments were some form of, “What the heck?”. One individual even yelled at me to stop. And one individual did not leave the restroom until she believed I had left.
After the experiment, we all felt very relieved and accomplished to finish the experiment. I never want to sing in front of others ever again, and I really would prefer to not use public restrooms now. We all felt a bit embarrassed still, but now we could all laugh at the ridiculousness of the experiment. We all agreed singing in a public restroom, should never occur.
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Norms is define as the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. The norm that we chose to break was to sing while you are doing your business in a public restroom. At first when I heard this idea from my group I was a bit nervous and shy to perform the norm because when it comes to guys they could come up with intense cruel names. When it comes to this norm, I knew most of the people would respond the same, but as the experiment went on, I observed various reactions. On a normal basis, you usually go to the restroom do your business, wash your hands and then leave, on this particular norm, one would be singing while doing their business.
My first idea was to tackle on the little kids and then the teenagers. To me I knew once a little kid hears me sing he would laugh. Almost every kid that heard me started laughing out loudly. To me this was no surprise because most of these kids grew up playing with one another; how their parents nurtured and socialized them. When it came to the other boys, I was speechless. The kids that did not laugh belonged to the Asian family and some to the White family. My first assumptions for these kids were that they were not socialize, that their parents were Authoritarians and did not allow them to play along with other children. I find this heartbreaking because kids should be kids, they should socialize with other kids, to have peers and be able to play around.
When I heard teenagers entering the bathroom I knew I had to sing a noticeable song, I just had to get their reactions. As I was singing most teens were laughing profoundly others were quite. Again, those that were quite and serious came from an Asian family or White family. Throughout the experiment, some even tried to sing along with me, probably to mock me or play around with their friends. Others even told me “Shut Up!” and one had the guts to call me, “Homo!” I of course wanted to know who this particular person was, so I went out and found that it was an African-American.
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My last idea was to see the reaction on adult males and seniors. I believed most of them would be serious and quite, but some actually insulted me. I observed that many of the adults came in did their business as fast as they could and then leave, while some even forgot to wash their hands. To me this was a bit hilarious because I would have never thought they could do their business that fast and try to avoid my singing. There were around two or three adults that insulted to me; these adult males were white. I wanted to confront them and ask why they you insulted me, but I know they would simply ignore me or approach me in a non-friendly manner.
I wanted to go extreme to this norm, to perform a duet in the restroom. Performing a duet is even more embarrassing than going solo, but then again I just had to do it. It was obvious how people were reacting because almost everyone was laughing. They would laugh inside and laugh outside as well as those who were entering the restroom would laugh. Most adults and seniors would not even walk in; they would simply open the door and walk away. One particular white man called us “queer” while leaving. Doing the duet was a bit fun because it was hilarious how people would react to such nonsense.
The responses that I noted from this norm have told me that not many of these people socialized the way they should have. It tells me that the young White and Asian boys had parents that were Authoritarians, how the parent is able to control every action their child does. Most of these children grew up without peers. Even though they go to school, they were not allowed to interact with other kids because their parents would prohibit them. Instead, the parent teaches the children that schooling is their only friend and that they must be extremely smart to be able to enter into a prestigious university and be a doctor or engineer. Those that did had a sense of humor seemed they come from an Authoritative or Permissive family, where the parents are not as strict as an authoritarian family. Where children and teenagers have peers and siblings to play with, to interact with them and build a strong relationship.
At the end of the experiment, I did felt a little harsh because the words I received from the people were a bit cruel. In the end, I was able to finish the project with no bruises anywhere in my body, but my dignity flying away. I did learned a few things from this experiment and that is to not sing in a public restroom, but if you do be warned and be brave enough to accept such insults.
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