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Social Codes

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Modern society is created in such a way that there exists a set of rules, which are to be known and followed. They are entitled “social codes”. Generally, society created them with the help of laws, traditions, and customs. The paper aims at analyzing the typical examples of these “unwritten rules”, reasons, and consequences of their violation in modern society.

Social codes have been created long ago, and most people would never give the exact explanation of this or that prohibition. For example, some time ago it was unacceptable and rude to leave a party before the guest of honor, or being indiscrete on the streets, or not to arrive on time, or simply not to write a “thank you” note to the person who sent you a present. These times have passed, and nowadays these “social codes” would sound ridiculous, especially for the young generation. According to Curry, in the past, “if an African American was thought to have violated a social code, he or she could be killed for it” (Curry). Today such idea would be considered as racist and inhuman, but back then this was “defending of a social code”. African Americans, as well as American Indians, were humiliated, mocked, and treated cruelly. Nowadays social codes defend them as equals to White Americans. As it is obviously seen, some societal rules disappear, others come to the surface; there are also those that are lasting forever. For instance, violation of personal space, while standing too close to somebody seems to have always been unacceptable. There is also one particularly unfair social rule that allows men to look freely on women. Somehow this is normal while the same situation but with roles reversed is already considered rude. Ignoring somebody in social interaction, talking to strangers, narrating your life aloud so other people hear, cutting somebody in the middle of a line – these are some of the numerous examples of the social  code violation nowadays. Among them, there can also be found such hilarious ones, as ordering food in a restaurant for you and your imaginary friend, or wearing a wedding dress to somebody other’s wedding.

It may seem that people have so much freedom and so many opportunities to express themselves, but still it is not enough for some of us. People create online diaries and blogs, and stare at others while standing in the elevator. This is just their way to get other’s attention. There are also those, who are trying to make a point; therefore, they organize protests, attracting attention with shouting and painting their faces in different colors.

Generally, violation of social codes is followed by dispraises and negative comments on the wrongdoers. For example, if somebody is picking his/her nose in public, he is teased for that. If a man or a woman is walking in the streets wearing pyjamas, they are just considered ridiculous and crazy. Some people resort to physical type of punishment. For instance, if a man makes rude comments to other man´s wife/girlfriend, he may be punched in the face. If a child is using abusive words in a conversation with older people, or even with other children, they may be slapped in the face by one of their parents. But if violated societal rules coincide with violation of state laws, then there are some kinds of set penalties for such wrongdoings. Offense of a judge or policeman, verbal insult of celebrities, beating and stealing money from somebody are such kinds of social code violations that are punished for.

To conclude with, every society must have some limitations, some basic rules of existence and coexistence, and some borderlines that can never be crossed. Violation of social rules occurs when people are trying to get somebody´s attention, to make a point. It may also become a breach of the law. Unfortunately, human beings are notoriously famous for their love for excessiveness. This must not deal with such aspect as social code, because its main essence is to create a society where it is possible to live and coexist with each other. Very often violation of social codes is directly connected with person´s morality. The lower is the morality level, the higher is the possibility of societal rules breach. The important thing to remember is that social rules are to destroy bridges between people, not to create new ones.

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