Examples of How Social Norms were Broken

In this article, we will see Few Examples of How Social Norms were Broken. Continue reading for more information.

Human beings are believed to follow a specific routine for every step they get through. Similar to that routine, the social norms are the conventional protocols decided by the society to finalize one type of thing or one type of behavior as the standard any remark against it can be equal to breaking the social norm. Social norms can be anything ranging from the simple steps shown by society to follow in a particular situation or the big decision and the means through which one can deal with it while encountering unintentional conditions.

Social Norms
Social norms are expectations from indviduals to fit into the society

Straight from the start of the day to dawn, each human being is expected to follow a routine that does not hinder impacted social norms. Yet, as time changes, social norms are also required to get rectified. These changes can sometimes occur as breaking a social norm. There are numerous revolutionary movements performed by famous identities, to break or change unfit social norms.

What is meant by the social norm?

Social norms can be interpreted as predetermined behavioral rules for any procured situation that shows how to behave when faced with an unavoidable dilemma. It can be either for a single person or a group of people. The given rules are showcased by society to standardize something. This standard can differ from place to place, religion to religion, caste to caste, and considerable differentiation is found between the people.

What happens if someone breaks the social norm?

Breaking predefined rules by society can cause the person to be liable for receiving a penalty or punishment. Just like when a person crashes a traffic signal, they are responsible for a fine as per the law. Breaking Social norms can cause setbacks such as getting on the bad side of society, being ignored by well-known people. The result of opposing a social norm entirely depends upon its severity.

Why do we need social norms?

Social norms are an integrating part of each cultural system. They are the ones that are responsible for maintaining the equality and sanity of situations. The protocols needed for a society to work in a rhythm are shown by social norms. The prime reason for a social norm is to allow everyone with the right of differentiating between right and wrong without the need for any third-party involvement.

Can a society exist without any social norms attached to it?

Each Society consists of some rebels as its active members. With the same thought, there are many personal perspectives of people thinking including social norms as a basic part of society is illogical. However, if a social norm is not advised to the society. It can cause many misconceptions to arise. Social norms should be changed rather than wholly removed. Social norms are created and imposed with the hope of having a positive result on society. Without them being proactive, they will no longer discover the need to work towards something positive. As a result, the growth of the whole community will be lowered. Also, society will adapt to some other norms after a particular period. It is not possible to live without any social norms in practice.

Can social norms be considered as having a poor impact on society?

Social norms are nothing but a general guideline shown by society. With time, some rules need to be changed. However, social norms once made, are quite hard to be broken or altered because of the mentality of the crowd. There are many people out there afraid of changes made to their predefined lifestyle. This thinking can cause a backward development of society as a whole. The agenda of having a social norm is to make the development of society as a whole and not to lead it backward. Once the process starts of leading society in negative aspects, this indicates that a particular social norm needs to be altered. All norms causing misconception in the society are considered to have a poor impact on society. The best way to avoid this is by having a clear sense of right and wrong. It can also be avoided by having a clear conscience of ethics and morals taught by the elders.

Breaking Social Norms Along With Their Examples:

Norms need to be pursued. They are made with that aim only. But if someone is uncomfortable with a particular norm, they can choose to break it at the expense of punishment received through society. 

The most decent example of this can be given as the belching nose is considered a bad thing to do in public. And as per the social norm, you should avoid doing it in public. But still, if you insist on acting like a crowd, you can get a few stares from strangers and some cursing looks. In this example, you can consider looks as part of your punishment for breaking the norm.

Some norms are quite old now and need a replacement for them as they are being broken up by almost everyone. Some examples of the norms breaking are:

Always speak the truth

The quality of anyhow speaking the truth has been installed by parents right from childhood. Yet, all have failed to follow it up. With the change in the world, the habit of always telling the truth should also be reconsidered. There are always some people out there ready to haunt you, once they know your true condition. To avoid them and some other unnecessary issues, people nowadays speak more lies rather than truth. It is not a good thing to say false things with someone, but the norm has already been broken by almost everyone.

Don’t Talk To Strangers

Just like the above example, right from birth, children are taught to not mingle with strangers and more importantly to not trust them easily. However, with the availability of technology, there is a bigger trend shared by new users to have a chat with strangers. The trend also allows youngsters to exchange their personal information such as names and mobile numbers on the most famous platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The recent generation is successful in breaking this social norm easily.

Marriage is for two people of different gender only

Even though this is one of the naturally occurring processes. Society was bound to make norms regarding this also. It is said that love does not see age, color, nationality, etc. Then does love see gender? This norm was earlier imposed by society, even on those populations who were not ready to believe this. Yet, in recent times, this norm has been eliminated successfully by the present generation and their mindset.

There are many other similar norm-breaking examples found in the history of the world. 

Only women are assigned to household responsibilities

It is an impression that women are responsible for taking care of household chores and children. This social norm has been highlighted for a long time. Any woman failing to do so is termed with rude comments from the community. And any man helping the women is termed with many illogical words. It’s high time people change their thoughts. Many have already mended their ways and are making others follow the change. It can be said that the change has been initiated and is at its peak now.

The best job is the one that follows a pattern

Earlier, any person going to work for a particular period was much appreciated and respected by others. This was done based on an assumption that the best work is done away from home and at a fixed place. However, in recent times there were many cases reported where people left their well-paying jobs to pursue another field. Many people went up to the limit of resigning their career and starting with their passion without fearing for the future. This social norm has seen a considerable change in its pattern for the betterment of the community.

Real Personalities Breaking Social Norms Example

The history of the world has witnessed many scholars who went up to break unfit social norms for the betterment of society. Some of them are:

Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule is considered an important example of India’s feminist movement. She had played an important role in women’s education and women’s rights. Savitribai Phule is an Indian woman who broke the social norm by educating girls.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was an American-African social reformer. He broke the social norm of educating slaves and supporting women. Frederick Douglass was a slave who taught himself about learning and writing to become a great speaker, author, orator, national leader, etc.

Florence Kelley

Florence Kelley was a pioneer social and political reformer mainly focused on breaking the social norm related to labor and racial discrimination. She also worked for the betterment of laborers by initiating movements to finalize their 8 hours per day as their working routine. 


Social norms are one of the methods invented by society to provide basic instruction about behavior and its related aspects. Even though it might feel relatively easy to create a single norm. However, it’s much more complicated to implement. Social norms might sound like something easy to follow. They are one of the most twisted things to consider in reality. Few details about social norms with their uses and needs are explained. What can happen if we break a social norm is also discussed above and which norms have already been broken by the society being replaced by some other norm.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Is there any social norm broken by celebrities? Give one example of it.

Breaking social norms is nothing new. There have been many norm breakers found across the globe. There was an unsaid norm about parenting a kid. It was decided by society that only a couple can take up the responsibility of parenting a child. However, with the changing time, celebrities have started adopting kids as single parents only. The one best example of single parenting is given by a Bollywood actress named Sushmita Sen.

  1. What other synonyms of norms are included in social norms?

Not precisely a synonym but have kind of similar work only, such as societal norms, cultural norms, behavioral norms, social custom, etiquettes, etc.

Which are the recent implied social norms?

Social norms keep on changing with time. In the current scenario, the Covid pandemic has made many changes in everyone’s life. Most recent social norms implied by the society are in relation with covid such as not spitting in an open place, maintaining personal hygiene to avoid infecting others, showing sympathy to the needy one, etc.

Examples of How Social Norms were Broken

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