Social Norms: Think critically

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about social norms. Defined as a culture’s customary rules that govern society, I’ve been thinking of how they act as cultural policing over people’s ways of thinking and behaviour. Moreover, I’ve been thinking of how social norms have come to dictate right and wrong thinking and behaviour – and not always for the better. Why don’t people question them? And think critically about them? At times, it can really frustrate me when people automatically take social norms as the right way to think and behave – and build a life by going with them instead of actually thinking whether the path they may lead them to is right for one for them. Hence, in certain situations, I strongly argue it is perfectly fine (if not necessary) to question them. To think critically.

Social norms

This is an issue, I find important to highlight. In this sense, let me clarify that I’m not talking about questioning the social norms linked to crime or anything high scale like that, however, every day matters – lifestyles. An example from my personal life could be when I tell people I don’t want to have children in my future, not only are most people stunned (how could I possibly not want to continue the line of human beings in a world that is already overpopulated, right!?), however, people also automatically characterise me as selfish and as rather egocentric… Simply because I have chosen to live a child free life. I find this rather interesting. I mean, all choices we as human beings make are egocentric in one way or another, right – to feed a need we have. Whether this need is in our own best interest or not, isn’t there always a personal need that is fed? So how come that I am characterised as egoistic when people who choose to have children are not? Both choices are personal choices we make based on a need. Not to point fingers, however, isn’t my choice more human in a way considering what overpopulation does to our world – even if it is based on an egoistic no-need for children? Shouldn’t people really be content with me not putting children in the world, as future generations might have to deal with less polution etc. as a result of my decision? More importantly, though, why do I have to justify my decision to not wanting children? Can’t people just accept (and respect) the fact that I don’t want children as part of my future? I mean, it doesn’t affect anybody but me. Not all women are programmed with a maternal instinct nor do some women feel the need for children. For some women personal ambition especially regarding a career is just more important (not to say that children necessarily prevent a career, of course).

In truth, this issue of personal choice can be related to any number of issues concerning lifestyle be it within the fields of for example clothing style, education, eating habits, sexual orientation (although not a choice, really, but discussed as one by some people), climate change etc….you name it! My point, though: To me, it seems that as long as a person goes with social norms, everything is okay – nothing is questioned. However, when a person go against social norms, everything is not okay – everything is questioned. As a result, people that go against social norms are somehow required (sometimes even demanded) to justify themselves and their ways of thinking and behaving – their lifestyle choices. Isn’t it time to question social norms instead of just automatically perceiving them as right!? Think critically… I think so! I mean, if everyone thinks alike, then are we actually thinking at all? What do you think?

xo P!


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14 thoughts on “Social Norms: Think critically

  1. Respect! I like your honesty. You thoughts may as per societal norms may not find lot of support. You have decided and taken a thoughtful decision , taking everything into perspective. The problem is, conformity, which is expected; whether, it is right or wrong,, or may even one cannot take a responsibility, goes ahead and does it; due to pressure from society.

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  2. I respect this. You see I am adopted. My birth Mother is a lawyer. She was told she could never have children so when she did get pregnant it turned her world upside down. The one thing she knew was that she didn’t have what it took to raise a child and she was alright with this. Her child was her work. Her family couldn’t understand and pressured her to keep me but she knew she could not be a mother.
    I respect you for standing up and saying this is not something that I want for my life and I am fine with this. Good for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have kids. But is someone decides kids i not for them, then I respect that. It takes a special kind of person to look after kids, and if one is not feeling worthy to do their part, then there really is anything wrong with that. In fact, I think it’s admirable.

    I wish you all the best! 🙂

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  4. Nice article, however any thinking is futile when lack of observance..almost all form of thinking are ego-centred..perspective generating and lack of social integrating,,, however, ideas cant be without thinking is critical to a process of understanding/accessing/designing social…

    I am sorry, where was I ? Got absolutely lost on call..skipping away with my Philosophical Sh*t, the capsule part is I like your stuff and yes, it missed on Observance (learning through observation part)

    Thank you for your time:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whoa, I can totally relate to the part about having to justify why you don’t want kids. People act like you’re broken when you’re a woman who doesn’t want to harbor a growing, moving mass of life inside your body for 9 months and then worry about it for the rest of your life after it emerges from your depths. Even more frequently, I find myself combating social norms surrounding the consumption of sentient beings. Somehow most of society thinks it’s totally normal to confine, abuse, and ultimately kill living, feeling animals just because people like the way they taste; yet somehow will label a person as an extremist for not wanting to eat these beautiful creatures. Funny how social programming affects every area of our lives.

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  6. Why should a woman justify her right to choose not to have children? Why should anyone justify anything they choose to do? (unless it is something that will hurt another person or animal)
    I’ve heard that so many time, being selfish for not wanting children. I think people forget the many reasons why they get children these days. And most of them ARE selfish! Especially those women who say a woman is selfish for not wanting a child, but she herself has a child because she wanted to (thought she could) keep a man in her life. Hypocracy on a high level I tell ya!

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  7. Excellent discussion of personal decisions, Pernille. I agree with you wholeheartedly. If you don’t want children, don’t have them. You don’t have to explain anything.

    In my personal experience, I wanted children when I was young. Later as I realized I wasn’t the world’s greatest mother, I wished that I had not had them. (My shortcoming, not theirs.) Now, as a great-grandmother, I’m proud of who my children and grandchildren became and how the little ones are learning and growing. I’m grateful for having them in my life. sd

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Totally agree on your point of “thinking critically” about behaviours! As humans, we can be quick to judge sometimes, and we tend to dismiss other people’s point of views if they are consistent with your own.

    After travelling and experiencing different cultures and ways of lives, I believe I am more open-minded of other people’s choices and more importantly, I have also learned to ignore other people’s judgments! As long as I am living by my own ideals, that’s all that matters 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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