Norms. Norms, or normative behavior, are the ways of life and activities that a specific society or community finds generally acceptable. Many of us would say that is "normal" behavior. Or "common" sense.
Yet, in the wider scheme of things, "normal" and "common" are quite relative based on the perspective one has.
Our society is struggling with new types of behavior and thinking, and industries like fashion and advertising are the mediums where the conversation is taking place. One of the major issues at hand is the role of gender. Are gender roles truly necessary?
This can be a touchy issue, for it crosses societal, biblical, scientific, and moral lines. For humans, gender roles made things simple. If you were a guy, you did this, wore that, and you could not do this, nor do that. Likewise for women.
But when the lines blur, or roles cease to be defined, what happens?
In fashion, some very interesting lines come out. One store is tossing gender lines out of the window, allowing people to wear basically whatever their hearts desire.
Where does that leave advertising?
As we talked about before, we believe that advertising reflects society; it doesn't define it. As gender roles become less of a guideline, we could see less of the masculine man and the feminine woman, and more of masculinity and femininity in general.
The question isn't if that is a good or bad thing. The question is, is that normal?
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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