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What was deviant is not deviant now?

Updated on May 4, 2015

Deviant then but not now

As society evolves people have different ideas as to what deviant behavior is and is not. Several behaviors are acceptable today that were considered deviant in the past. Several behaviors are considered deviant today that were not deviant in the past. I am going to give you several examples of assertions stated above. I am also going to answer the question of whether there is a trend toward defining more behaviors as deviant or more acceptable.

Several examples of the behaviors that were considered acceptable in the past that are considered deviant today are slavery, racism, sexism, and spanking children for disobedience. In the 1800’s and before then, slavery was acceptable in our society. If you owned slaves in those days it was associated with having and making money. Many of the slave traders in the 1600’s made a lot of money in the slave trading business by owning and selling slaves. Slave owners profited from having slaves work their cotton fields. In the past it was not uncommon for the upper class to own African American slaves to do house chores as well. Plus, owning many slave was associated with high status as well.

Racism was also acceptable in the past. Even in the 1940’s and 1950’s African American people were segregated from white people and not given as many rights. African American people were victims of discrimination and this was a norm in America until the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s.

Sexism is another example of what used to be acceptable. In the 1800’s to the late 1900’s women were considered second class citizens. Women were given fewer rights than men in America. They were not allowed to vote, and married women could not own their own property or even sign contracts. Much of this changed after 1960’s.

Spanking children is another behavior that was considered acceptable in the past and is now considered deviant. In the past spanking children for disobedience was normal and acceptable. Today if a child is spanked it may be looked down upon as abuse.

Several behaviors that are acceptable now that were considered deviant in the past include: married women who work, homosexuality, and sex before marriage. In the past married women were expected to stay home, have children and tend to household duties. During World War 2 women had to give up being just the homemaker. When these women’s husbands were called to fight their children needed to eat and bills needed to be paid so the women went into the workforce in order provide. It was not the norm for women to be the heads of households before the war. However, in the time women joined the workforce it was acceptable for women to be the head of the house but there was a lot of discrimination going on as far as pay rates and sexual harassment. After the men came back from the war it was no longer acceptable for women to be the head of the house. Today women are encouraged to get an education and have a career and they are able to hold some leadership positions in the workforce. Though there are lot of unfair practices involving women getting paid less than men it is not considered deviant behavior for a women to get a job or have a career in the workforce.

Homosexuality, is a behavior that is considered more acceptable today in society. It is legal for same sex couple to marry in 18 States. In the past homosexual behavior was considered very deviant. Today, it is not considered as deviant in society and is more acceptable.

Sex before marriage used to be looked at as deviant behavior before the 1960’s because people had different and views regarding sexual relations. Today it seems more common to have sex before marriage and people are not ostracized as they would have been in the past if they had a baby before marriage. Our society has become more accepting of people having multiple relationships and sexual relations. In some cases it seems you are deviant if you are not having premarital sexual relations.

I believe that there is a trend towards defining more behaviors as deviant today. The reason that I believe that is because many of the behaviors that were considered not deviant in the past are deviant today. For example, it was not deviant to own slaves, treat women as second class citizens, ostracize homosexuals, spank children for being disobedient or smoke at the train station. However, these behaviors are considered deviant today as well as many other behaviors.


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