Sociology 101: First Assignment Sample Essay Paper

Sociology 101: First Assignment

As instructed by our professor, I wore a big red bathrobe to school on May 27, 2015. Although I did not like the experience that day, I did it because I knew what I was doing. On my way to school, the bus conductor asked me whether everything was okay and I replied in the affirmative. Before I entered the classroom, I tried to imagine how my colleagues had dressed and what they would think of me. Immediately I entered the classroom, I laughed at my colleagues and myself. Everyone was weirdly dressed. When we went out to the square to take pictures of ourselves that day, I jumped up and down to be noticed by everybody. Finally, on my way home I tried to walk confidently and act in self-defense when people stared at me.

The theory of emotional distancing by Tom Scheff suggests that when our emotions are threatened, we tend to act in self-defense. Tom claims that we discharge our emotions through catharsis that may be under-distanced, over-distanced, or even aesthetically balanced. The four distress emotions that Tom identifies in his theory are boredom, anger, fear, and grief. These emotions may be discharged spontaneously or by distancing ourselves from distressful emotions. I remember the way I reacted to stares from some people. On my way to school, I told the bus conductor that everything was okay when he tried to insinuate that something was wrong with my dress code. Before entering the classroom, I pondered how I would handle my colleagues and decided to confront them. Thus, when I entered the classroom I did not care what my colleagues thought about me. When we went out to take pictures of the whole class, I jumped up and down to distance myself from my colleagues. On my way home, I did not make any stop over as I usually do. Instead, I rushed home to change my dress. This theory explains my thinking by suggesting that when I face unfavorable circumstances, I tend to distance myself from those circumstances to defend myself. Consequently, when people stared at me that day, I acted in self defense by looking at them sternly and leaving them alone later on. My understanding of this theory is that it addresses the manner in which we handle our emotions when emotions are threatened.

The theory of symbolic interaction claims that we use symbols to enhance our shared meanings of certain objects with the people we live with. For this reason, shared meanings influence the way we behave because we understand the meanings attached to certain objects. This means that we evaluate our behaviors with regard to the objects we use because we anticipate certain responses from other people. With regard to this theory, although I did not care what my colleagues thought about me that day, I felt embarrassed because of the meaning that our society attaches to bathrobes. In fact, at one time, I would think that my colleagues thought that I was late for class thereby I decided to wear the bathrobe that day. At another time, I thought they did not understand why I decided to wear the bathrobe. For these two reasons, I felt embarrassed throughout the day until the following day when I wore as expected of me. In terms of explaining my thinking, this theory explains it by suggesting that I share a certain meaning of bathrobe with the other members of my society. Consequently, even if I wore the bathrobe that day, I knew that I was not doing the right thing because a bathrobe is worn indoors. My understanding of this theory is that it addresses the meaning that we attach to certain objects thereby when we attach new meanings to certain objects, the society cannot accept those meanings easily. 

  The theory of impression management concerns itself with the behaviors that people pose to other people for the sake of creating and maintaining desired views about themselves. The theory claims that people are concerned much about the way other people view them. For this reason, people strive towards creating good impressions about themselves to other people for those people to identify them with those impressions. In relation to this theory, I tried as much as possible to impress my colleagues that I had dressed for the occasion and that I was the only person that dressed appropriately that day while the rest dressed inappropriately. For this reason, I would walk bragging with my head held high throughout the day without caring about what my colleagues thought about me. This theory explains my thinking by suggesting that even if I knew that I was not doing the right thing wearing the bathrobe to school, I tried as much as possible to create and maintain a memorable perception about myself. For this reason, I would not create and maintain a bad impression about myself even if I acted against the norm. My understanding of this theory is that it addresses the manner in which we react to create and maintain perceived perceptions about ourselves.

Although I felt a bit embarrassed for wearing weirdly that day, I learned a few things. First, I learned that when one tries to change shared meaning, the society does not accept that meaning easily. Second, I learned that we try to distance ourselves when our emotions are threatened. Third, I learned that even when we are wrong, we try to protect ourselves by creating and maintaining good impressions about ourselves.