Period 3 Conformity in the United States

What is conformity?
Conformity is an action or behavior in correspondence with customs, rules or styles. This can include developing attitudes, opinions, and behaviors to match others in a specific group.

Types of Conformity in the U.S.A

1. School

  • School teaches universality, that the same rules apply to everyone, regardless of who their parents are or how special they might be at home. Conformity is expressed here because every student is taught to do the same thing, that the rules are meant for everyone, not just to one. They are shaped to this sense day one in school.
  • In school students are taught lessons that include patriotism, democracy, justice, and honesty. This is conformity because schools are trying to shape each child’s values.
  • There is corridor curriculum. Corridor curriculum is when students teach other students values outside the classroom. The students’ teachings will center on their opinions and beliefs on racism, sexism, illicit ways to make money, and coolness. The students teach each other how to judge others, treat others, and what they should and should not do.
  • The wealthy class places their children in private schools. The school’s teachings and values will center on how to match higher positions. The school is teaching the kids their ways on how to become successful as an adult.
  • The poorer class will send their children to public school. The school basically sets the standard that they wont become professionals or leaders. The children are less likely to take college prep or honors courses. The schools will set a child’s standard of themselves early on in life showing conformity.
  • To sum up schools with conformity, schools all around the world reflect and reinforce their nations social class, economic, and political systems.

2. Peers

  • Peers will separate themselves into groups of friends. They separate by sex with similar values, they share their own unique norms.
  • Boys conform by setting values and rules for popularity which include
  1. Athletic ability
  2. Coolness
  3. Toughness
  4. Bad Grades
  • Girls conform by setting values and rules for popularity which include
  1. Family backgrounds
  2. Physical Appearance (ex: clothing and use of makeup)
  3. Ability to attract popular boys
  4. Good Grades
  • Peer influences extend to other behaviors. This can include the normal society’s social norms.
  • You are taught by your peers in your sub group to do what they do. This is what seems “cool” to them. You conform to become the accepted in your group.

3. Media


  • Girls are shown to to be cooperative, giggly, and less capable of tasks. They portray the girls as sexy and submissive. This creates conformity because the girls watching this advertisement will think they should shape and become the same way as the girls in the advertisement.
  • Boys are portrayed as aggressive, dominant, and rugged. Boys will watch this and tend to think they should have those behaviors.
  • Advertising will give a person images of how they should be. Examples include cowboys roam in wide open spaces or women have unrealistic physical assets.
  • Advertising is teaching one to be a certain way and they need to look like too. After they set the standard for “normal people” they sell their products in a way that makes them necessary to have to be considered normal.

Television and Movies

  • There are more males than females. This is conformity because it is teaching girls they should be surrounded by guys and that is what they should want.
  • Males in these movies will have higher status positions. Conformity is presented by saying males hold authority in the world and teaches other men to be like that.

Video games

  • It has a change in sex roles. They will have a stereo breaking character to change the times or area of how that sex should be. As an example, some games show females cussing more than men. This causes women to think they should become more dominant and independent.

4. Religion

  • Religion teaches us our values and beliefs about life and about what happens after life. Those under the same religion tend to have same beliefs as each other.
  • It has dictated what is appropriate to wear on formal occasions.
  • Even for people in non-religious homes religion is important. Religious ideas provide the basic ideas for morality for everyone.

5. Family

  • Our family, arguably, is the greatest factor in how we conform in society. They are the first to teach us what is right and wrong, unacceptable and unacceptable, and the also teach us what to believe.
  • Our experiences within our family have a life-long impact on us.
  • They push us into our gender roles without even realizing it themselves. They may use very subtle messages such as the father carrying the child or pushing the stroller when the child is in it,
  • Depending on the family’s social class, a child may be raised differently. More often than not, a child raised in a working class family has their parents focusing on obedience and stresses conformity more than a child raised in a middle-class family. The way the child was raised sets the standard for how all children should be raised and this standard carries over into the child’s adulthood.

6. Sports and Competitive Success

  • Boys use sports as a way to achieve status among peers by making themselves more masculine, thus, causing them to conform into their gender roles. This encourages boys build relationships based on what you can get out of them. This carries over to the relationships they build with girls.
  • Sports are not as important to female identities but are slowly becoming important. Girls build their identities on meaningful relationships but that may change as sports become more popular.

Conformity in the United States during the 1950s.

United States society in the 1950s was living under a lot of conformity coming from different areas of life. That time was a period of not only an economic, but a population growth. In an era of the baby boom, more children were being born each year. Families were supposed to have at least 2 or 3 children.

People used to live in idealistic time. Naive in believing in a utopian world shown in the TV screens and newspaper’s pages. Gender roles were strict and divided. Women were expected to be housewives, raising their two children and waiting in an apron with dinner prepared for their husband coming home from work.

After the end of the World War II American society took a big step in religion. With interest in religion some people even believed in the new awakening of society. But that interest decreased. Education was thought of as  “a little learning goes a long way”. Some schools did not care as much to give children a good education. People were told to look the same way by commercials, advertising and mass media.  Sales of television sets boomed in the 1950s. Now intolerable ideas of sexism or racism were an ordinary part of many advertisements in that time. Most of things were stereotyped and had labels.Hoover

Sexism in "Kenwood Chef" advertisement, 1950.

Nowadays we hardly can imagine it, because it has became unacceptable and illegal in the 21st century society. However, the 1950s is also famous for its great changes. Domestic housewives started working outsides and fighting for equal rights. Big changes also happened in the world of art: Rock and Roll was spreading around young teenagers rapidly; Elvis Presley became a man who turned the page of music’s history in the mid 1900s. All of this shows how great changes were made in society at that time.


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