What are some common examples of deviant behavior in modern society?
Deviant behavior is an umbrella term that may differ from culture to culture. It is possible that what is considered deviant in one culture may not be so in another. These behaviors differ drastically from the pre-existing norms of the culture and may or may not harm the well-being of others.
While some forms of deviance are harmless, others may affect an individual's overall well-being. It is of utmost importance to understand cultural differences to stay away from any form of prejudice or discrimination. It is easy to pathologize anything that is deviant. However, deviant behavior doesn't itself warrant discrimination.
Deviance lies on a continuum and can be associated with any area of our lives. While the definitions of what is normal and abnormal will always keep changing, it is important to know about behaviors different from the typical.
What are some common examples of deviant behavior?
As mentioned before, being atypical or deviant doesn't necessarily mean it's bad for society. However, it's important to recognize that not all of us fall in the middle of the bell curve. Some of us may display the following types of deviant behavior:
#1 Crime-related deviance
The COVID-19 pandemic was a period of extreme change in our lives. We were forced to wear masks to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Food became scarce and everyone was fighting for resources, including toilet paper!
While most of us complied with the safety norms and regulations, there were a few who wanted to go against the law. While these behaviors are not criminal in nature, they can create a general sense of unrest and uneasiness.
#2 Gender deviance
Our society has progressed in a lot of areas. One of the biggest areas of deviance has been when individuals have challenged gender norms. Women are complying with what is considered masculine and men are channeling their inner feminity.
While there is increasing acceptance, it was initially shunned and considered deviant. Individuals may also experience gender dysphoria when they experience conflicting thoughts.
#3 Physical deviance
Unfortunately, societies have ideal or acceptable standards of what bodies should look like. We are often taught while growing up that only a certain body type is 'normal' and 'acceptable.'
Any form of physical deformity is often subject to unwelcome comments and stares from the general public. Individuals with obesity are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. Diet culture can have a negative impact on body image and self-esteem.
#4 Psychological deviance
We are seeing changes in our understanding of mental and emotional health. We now acknowledge that sometimes our health can deviate from the atypical and may become dysfunctional. In some cases like psychopathy, these deviances can also pose difficulties for others.
Deviant behavior adds to our understanding of human beings. It shows that not all of us conform to the stipulated guidelines and some of us form our own unique identities. Deviant behavior is constantly influenced by cultural, social, and psychological factors.
If you or someone you know is displaying deviant behavior that is impacting their physical or psychological health, it is important to seek support. You can begin by understanding your preferences and holding conversations, and it is possible that you will find comfort.
Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.
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