Period 2 – Conformity in the United States

Conformity in the United States

What is conformity?

Conformity is compliance with standards, rules, or laws, or behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards. Conformity is one of the paths people take in life to match their means. Conformists usually come about as the result of a standard lifestyle proving successful for the participant. People who conform accept cultural goals, the legitimate objectives held out to members of a society, and institutional means, approved ways of reaching cultural goals. People who conform feel no strain or anomie (normlessness) reaching their life goals. There are a variety of factors that determine how people think, such as conforming, and gender, the mass media, and family/friends all play an integral role in this.

Males and Females ARE different

In the United States, gender is a huge deciding factor on how we progress in life. We are born into a society in which each sex has specified symbols which forms our personalities, attitudes, etc. for our life, and that in turn implies that we should conform to our gender. Family, the mass media and friends usually support stereotypical views of boys and girls, and these three groups help develop greatly how we feel about our gender. When a boy or girl becomes a teenager, they will witness/become a member of peer groups, a gathering of friends around the same age as them. A stereotyped rule for peer groups is “’conformity or rejection’” (p.83), this can vary widely in effect, the people in these groups can conform to the academic “rule” of getting all As, or simply give up and hang out with friends.

The Information Factor

The mass media, such as radio broadcasts and television announcements, are another gigantic factor on whether people conform or not. Like it or not, the mass media is how we receive almost all of our data on the outside world through it. The mass media commonly supports gender roles, a big influence already mentioned. Advertising sends us messages on what we should do and what do buy on such a daily basis it may actually subconsciously convince us to act. Lastly, even if the media does not convince to conform directly, it may convince our friends to do so, and that is almost always a sure fire way to persuade.

The Ones Close to Us

Our friends and family are perhaps the last major influence on us. Families of course teach their morals to their children for years, having a huge psychological impact. Disobeying the morals of one’s parents usually results in punishment, which generally wants to be avoided. Friends are relatable people, they like what you do a lot, so we are more inclined to conform to their standards. Not accepting the beliefs of a friend may result in isolation, something almost no one wants, and conformity follows suit.

The Truth About Conformity

People love to say they don’t conform as it displays a show of originality, but the truth is, most people on Earth conform to the standards of their genders, the mass media, and the people they are close to. Conformity is really just a part of society, people want you to behave a certain way for the sake of the community. Conformity is usually the most sought after way of pursuing goals in America because the idea that most people are doing it anyway. A good example is the Asch experiment, where cards were shown with vertical lines on them, and each person stated aloud which lines were the same, the result was the majority began saying the same wrong answers and an individual was left to say what they thought. The people chose their wrong answers due to the fact most people were doing it, and were using Group think, the idea that one group’s way is right and alternatives were wrong. Not all people conform in America, but it still plays the majority role in pursuing one’s goals.

Which do you think has the biggest impact on a person’s personality or decision to conform out of the following groups, one’s gender, family, friends, the mass media, or something else?

The Asch Experiment

The Importance of Conformity

The Asch experiment was done in 1951, but much has changed since then hasn’t it? Is conformity included in this change? In some instances yes, but others, no, some have only changed slightly.

During the 50s, there was the Red Scare. During this time many people gave into Group Think, believing every bit of anti-communist propaganda.

This created such a fear for Communism; many people had to hide their beliefs. A possible reason for this is that America has such strong Capitalistic roots, we only see Communism as evil. This is still a relevant belief today when we see bumper stickers such as this.

The conformity to this belief that Communism, and even Socialism, is bad is still strong today, despite Obamas’ presidency.

Another topic would be the conformity of women’s’ roles. In the 50s, the typical belief was that they were the homemaker. They still had the opportunity to work and such, which even if they did, they were not the breadwinner. Since then we have had a couple feminist movements, which did not conform to the typical role. Today, women hold much greater status, being relatively equal to men so in this way the conformity of women has drastically changed.

A final thing including conformity that has slightly changed is fashion.

Here is fashion in the 1950s

& modern fashion.

The idea of “Fashion” has changed the same. The clothing you wear makes you more or less desirable, popular, and attractive and many other things. What we think is fashionable is different, but the underlying purpose has stayed the same.

Conformity is something that can be loved, or feared. Humans are such a social creature that it is impossible not to conform to at least a few things. Conformity has always been with us and will always be.

Conformity is forever.

The End


2 thoughts on “Period 2 – Conformity in the United States

  1. Miss Hickey

    Try to think of a way that you could add to the page to make it more engaging for your peers. Maybe you could add some discussion questions, a poll question at the end, or scatterered review and opinion questions to have audience participation. Opinion questions will probably garner the greatest audience particitpation.


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