Social Norms: A Case Study Of Genie

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Thirteen-year-old Genie was found tied to a potty chair on November 4th, 1970, wearing a diaper and unable to talk. Unaware of the outside world and societal norms, Genie was known as the first modern wild child. Genie was locked in her basement for almost her complete life, unable to learn from others and have the opportunity to mentally develop. Through her attempts at rehabilitation by a number of doctors, Genie was able to learn social norms, develop a sense of self and expand her agents of socialization. As Genie learned and explored her new community, she was qualified to adapt to some societal norms. As she was surrounded by others, Genie was able to develop a self-image based on the looking-glass theory. The doctor, hospital, her foster…show more content…
At the time they were to stay quiet and stay chained to the potty chair. Norms are defined as “rules or standards that are expected of members of a group, society or culture” (Steckley 2017, 79-80) although they are rules expected by groups, societies or cultures, there isn’t always a consensus about them, as they tend to change from community to community and so on. In the community, the spitting and clawing were not part of the social norms and would be considered folkways, because they are not a threat to the human species and are not written laws. In the film Genie (secret of the wild child), the norms that Genie knew and experienced were those of getting beaten when making sounds. Since Genie was kept in severe isolation for the majority of her life, she was unable to decide that the isolation and fear that she was experiencing was not one that every child knew. Genie had experienced copious amounts of trauma at the hands of her parents and because of that, after she was freed she was unable to achieve any social norms put in place by modern society.As she started integrating into society, she began to learn social norms. When she was integrated, she would constantly be spitting and clawing. As Genie began spent more time in the community, she learned that spitting and clawing were not part of societies norms and eventually…show more content…
While isolated, Genie had no sense of self, had no ideas of social norms and her only agents of socialization were her parents. While under the care of the hospital and others, she was able to learn and express herself in ways that she was never allowed to before. Finally, able to speak, Genie became able to pronounce simple words. After years of learning, Genie has never been able to fully communicate and has never grasped using questions and sentences. Genie’s influences and insights are accurately described by the sociological concepts
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