Footies in Walmart(A Deviant Assignment)
In 100-degree weather the expected outfit is usually shorts and a t-shirt. For my deviant act I went against the acceptable attire to be worn in public and walked around in footie pajamas. On Thursday, July 21, 2011 at approximately 10pm I proceeded to walk around the local Wal-Mart in footie pajamas. I acted as if there was nothing wrong or strange with me. I did not act out in any attention seeking behavior except by the clothes I was wearing. I was walking around by myself with the company of a friend photographer that stayed hidden so the act was not ruined. I asked workers and customers questions to seek their reaction to my outrageous outfit. I shopped around the store like a normal customer would with the exception of a rather different style of clothes that most people are used to.

As I walked down the aisles of Wal-Mart I noticed that people would stop dead in their tracks to stare at me. The young children would point and ask their parents what I was wearing and why I was wearing it. The parent’s response to their child’s curiosity was typically turning their child’s attention away from me and distracting them with something else. When I would ask a worker where a certain product is their response was to look me up and down with a puzzled look on their face and answer my question with a doubtful or confused tone. A few of the workers I asked giggled and asked why I was dressed like that while some just looked angry and would watch me like a hawk expecting me to do something wrong as they sent me away towards the product. The answer I would give people when they asked me why I was wearing footie pajamas was usually one like “ This is my favorite outfit” or “ why wouldn’t I wear this”. By the looks on many people’s faces they probably have never seen someone over the age of 3 step into a pair of footie pajamas. The majority of people that enjoyed seeing me wearing that were usually under the age of 30. The younger people had a more relaxed attitude towards me walking around in such a strange outfit, whereas the people that looked over 30 years old looked more angry or upset with my actions. My reaction to most of people’s reaction was laughter and humor. The majority of people I interacted with I got a good laugh with and felt good that I made them laugh and maybe lightened up their mood. There was also the few people that made me uncomfortable by giving me dirty looks and whispering things with an agitated look on their face to the person they were with. Overall the main reaction I had from people was curiosity. People would usually giggle and try to figure out my intentions of wearing such a crazy outfit for one of the hottest days of the year.

In America we have norms about how you dress in different parts of the country. In Chicago in July the norm is to wear clothes that you will not overheat in. Footie pajamas are definitely against the social norm of our society. My act is considered taboo because no one in their right mind would dare to walk around in something that hot in this weather. Even if it was cold out that still would not be acceptable because those are something that are considered to be clothing only for babies and not full grown adults or teenagers. Many people are too concerned with their own impression management to do something like this. In my opinion I think many people wear certain types of clothes not because they like it but because that is what is considered to be cool. You see groups of young boys or girls walking down the street and typically they are wearing the same types of clothes. Stereotypically speaking the boys would be wearing skater shoes, baggy shorts, a t-shirt and a sideways baseball hat. The girls usually wearing flip flops, short shorts, tank top, and sunglasses. People wear these clothes to make sure they conform to the dominant group. In the case of kids it would be the popular or cool kids. It is the same for adults too. People don’t wear what they personally want to wear most of the time because they are sucked into conforming into the group. The adult group that they have to conform to would be society as a whole. Many people practice dramaturgy because if they don’t conform to society and act like society wants them too they will not fit in. For kids not fitting in means not having friends to hangout with but, if an adult cannot fit into society they may not be able to live a fully functioning life. People need to fit the part that their boss needs them to in order to keep a job. They also need to fit the part of a good parent. If someone is not conforming to the part of being a good parent and has a different style of parenting they may be shunned by society and claimed as a “bad parent”. That is why people are like actors and have to act in a way that is acceptable or it would be way harder to live a fully functioning life. If a high profile person in society walked around in footie pajamas as I did they would not be taken seriously and that could make living a lot harder for them.

My experience walking around in footie pajamas as Wal-Mart has made me realize how sheltered and narrow minded many people are. Our society is not accepting of outcasts and it is almost impossible to express your own opinion without someone judging you and trying to bring you down. Even the people that accepted my actions would not do such an action themselves thus confirming that society should open their minds and accept different people instead of judging them for not being like everyone else.