The Instigator
samiam96
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
OMGJustinBieber
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points

That we have become slaves to conformity

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/20/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,781 times Debate No: 17134
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (4)

 

samiam96

Con

Title says it all, My BOP is that we have not become slaves to conformity, I will be arguing that we, in fact, have progressed to become less following and more leading.
Ok, I posted this debate about a month ago, only to have my opponent forfeit every round. (therefore I may re-use some material)
Rules...first round is acceptance and definitions...
Definition - That society today worships, serves and acts in a way that is consistent with social norms, standards and conventions.
OMGJustinBieber

Pro

Fun debate.

Before I start I want to define these terms and make sure that we agree.

Conformity: conformity [kənˈfɔːmɪtɪ], conformance
n pl -ities, -ances
1. compliance in actions, behaviour, etc., with certain accepted standards or norms
2. correspondence or likeness in form or appearance; congruity; agreement

The first definition seems to fit the best in this case.

Slave: Invariably involved with (often subconsciously) to a large extent.

This definition is my own, as it's obvious that the idea that we are "slaves to conformity" is somewhat figurative. We are clearly not slaves in the sense that we are bought and sold to "conformity", so I took the liberty here to create a definition that I believe better captured the concept. If you have an issue with this definition mention it immediately, as I don't want us to get caught up in semantics later in the debate.

Good luck and back to you, Con.
Debate Round No. 1
samiam96

Con

Definition is fine, and I understand what you mean by slaves in a figurative sense. My definition was conceptually the same, so I guess we are agreeing on that for starters.

Today my burden is to prove that society today is a slave to conformity
My first two points that I will be discussing this round are:
1. Accepting diversity and rejecting discrimination.
2. Individuality
My next two points in the third round will be:
3. The death of the stereotype
4. Following and appreciating trends
Finally in the fourth round I will be expanding on:
5. Expectations
6. We were afraid, so we conformed.

Trends exist, but we no longer conform.

1. Accepting diversity and rejecting discrimination.
Society has progressed from the hateful chaos that was discrimination. Yes discrimination is still existent, however not to the degree or size that it was before. Our world has realised that differences are a part of life, and that they shape our character, culture and personal identity. In the past, society was rejecting of diversity and conformity reigned, however today we have a different set of values, we realise that discrimination is not acceptable and differences are. For example, could you imagine, even as recent as 50 years ago, the uproar if someone was to suggest that gay marriage should be legalised. Being just a little bit different was frowned upon, but we can see today, with the openness of gays, that that is a false allegation about reality. The reality is that we have moved on, society has progressed to be accepting of other cultures, religions, appearances, races, sexualities, and even gender. Conforming to a social expectation...I think not.

Trends exist, but we no longer conform.

2. Individuality
As society has become more accommodating to differences and personal traits, the development of the concept of individuality is flourishing. People are developing their personalities, so who they appear to be is who they actually are, not what they want to be. We are in a time of change, of spiritual growth, we have no reason to want to conform as not conforming is acceptable. "There is nothing wrong with loving who you are, she said, 'coz he made you perfect babe", "Pretty pretty please don't you ever ever feel like your nothing, your p-p-perfect to me", "Because your amazing, just the way you are..." Yes they may all be song lyrics, but we can tell from the pop culture that surrounds modern society that people know that being an individual is a good thing. Pop culture reflects on society, so therefore the meanings behind the songs are true opinions and themes in our modern world. Being an individual is trendy, and we follow the trend of being individual. No I did not just contradict my argument because following a trend is not being a slave, and because individuality, by it's very definition means to be unique, and one of a kind.

Trends exist, but we no longer conform.

Good luck, and back to you Pro.

Vote Con!
OMGJustinBieber

Pro

I would like to thank Con for this debate.

Con's Case

1. The idea that "society has progressed" is a red herring in this debate. Remember, we are arguing about conformity not whether society has changed. Con associates modern times with non-conformity and the past with conformity. I disagree. The goalposts have simply shifted. Con rightly states "today we have a different set of values" and those values clearly still entail social constructs and norms. Con notes that we realize that discrimination is not acceptable, and in many groups today that holds true. Much of what was wrong in the past is considered acceptable today, and vice-versa. It works both ways, as I could just as easily evoke the idea that children should be able to get married or polygamy and get that same level of outcry today that was used in your example about gay marriage. In conclusion, Con's argument that today is somehow "non-conformist" seems arbitrary. We conform to our own standards.

2. Con speaks in very broad concepts here: "[Today] people are developing their personalities...to be is who they actually are, not what they want to be." I don't know what this means or to what extent this is different from the past. Certainly, mainstream society is more accepting of certain views than others, but there are still taboos. Is a racist more "free" to develop his personality today? How about a social conservative on a liberal college campus? Con is practicing a selective bias here.

Con's argument is a little confusing here. He talks about how being an individual is "trendy" and that we follow this "trend." Is Con just substituting "trends" for "conforming?" It would seem so. I would really like Con to clarify this in the next round. Were people not individuals 40 years ago? How about 400? Which year did people start becoming individuals rather than brain dead conformists?

Pro's Case:

1. Psychological experimentation has repeatedly confirmed the power of conformity.

Two prominent experiments in this field have been the Asch and the Milgram experiment. Both experiments demonstrated the power that a group consensus or authority figure can hold over an individual. The Asch experiment, for example, asked groups questions about the lengths of lines and then asked for judgments to be made. The control group gave only one incorrect answer of 35, while the experimental (peer pressure) group led test subjects to answer over 1/3 of the questions incorrectly. Follow up experiments confirmed this effect, namely - that group pressure can largely sway individual judgment. The force was greatest when there was a large number of individuals that strongly voiced the incorrect opinion [1].

The Milgram experiment, similarly, showed how individuals were able to suppress their own moral judgments when faced with an authority figure. In this experiment, the "teachers" (test subjects) were instructed to shock "learners" (actually recordings, no one got hurt) as a method of teaching them word associations. When an incorrect answer was given, the learner received a shock administered by the teacher. The levels of shock were gradually increased, and the learners recordings were heard by the teacher so he could hear the pain that was inflicted. Shockingly, 65% of the participants reached the maximum voltage level of 450 volts after being coaxed by the scientist [2]. The learners stopped reacting after large bouts of screams indicating that they were unconscious if not dead.

2. Social norms exist, and there are consequences for violating them.

Despite Con's attempt to frame the modern day as an era of individuality, there are still very basic social norms that govern human behavior. We operate inside a social network and implicitly abide by social norms that are realized at an early age. Remember, by saying "slave" we are claiming that these social norms exists and exert a clear, strong effect on the individual. The violation of some social norms leads to arrest - having sex with a minor, shoplifting, urinating on lawns - while others just entail social consequences. These social norms are inescapable and govern everyone's behavior, unless perhaps you live alone on top of a mountain. All members of society are binded by these norms.

How about if I try to rebel? Lets say tomorrow I wake up and threw on some black clothing and eyeliner. Unfortunately, that look is already a little slice of society that has been claimed by the Goths, and in doing so I am conforming to their group standards. I could make the exact same point with hippies, punks, or jocks - name the high school stereotype. Now, if I really wanted to get creative I could go outside with only underwear on my head but this is too much of a violation of norms and I would be arrested. My refusal to conform would lead society to step in and directly stop my act. However, there is a middle ground between arrest and normality where social consequences occur that serve as an incentive or disincentive for individuals to follow a given social norm. In conclusion, these norms are an inescapable part of society that play a large role in governing our individual behavior. Additionally, it is much harder than one thinks to truly be a "non-conformist" given the multitude and diversity of groups that comprise a society, and the consequences for true violations of social norms are often direct and may even carry a sentence. The social norms that a society holds bind its members like a social glue in a clear and powerful sense, for better or for worse.

[1] http://www.experiment-resources.com...
[2] http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
samiam96

Con

samiam96 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
samiam96

Con

samiam96 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
samiam96

Con

samiam96 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by samiam96 5 years ago
samiam96
OMG I feel like such a hypocrite, I had no internet access, sorry!!!
Posted by samiam96 5 years ago
samiam96
It worries me that you have said fun debate...
Posted by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
I fought the and the law won.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
samiam96OMGJustinBieberTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
samiam96OMGJustinBieberTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit. Pro made a very impressive argument that would likely have been too much for Con to handle anyway.
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
samiam96OMGJustinBieberTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter to MD, but this leaves it as a tie..someone else vote on this.
Vote Placed by MassDebator255 5 years ago
MassDebator255
samiam96OMGJustinBieberTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: winning no more!