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Monday, January 4, 2010

January: Do People Behave a Certain Way Because They're Being Watched?












Frankie learns about the theory of a panopticon. E. Lockhart asks, "Do you agree with the theory that most people behave because they have this sense of being monitored? Do you think this sense prevails in modern life even more than in previous times? Why or why not?"


15 comments:

Angela Craft said...

I definitely think so. As an example, look how people act when they are sure they aren't being watched (at least in any way that can be connected to who they really are): internet trolls. I am sure that 99% of people who troll on the internet can act in socially acceptable ways in real life, but when they're let loose on the internet and can hide behind an identity that isn't their real life one, they feel free to say all sorts of hateful, crude and idiotic things.

Erin said...

Well, yeah. I mean, I act differently at home with my family than I do in a situation where I'm around people I hardly know. Everyone acts differently depending on the situations--the where and why and who they're encountering.

This specific question about being watched makes me think of celebrities, though, and how they probably do feel as if they must behave a certain way in public because they *are* being monitored so much...

Melissa Walker said...

I agree with both Angela and Erin. I also notice that I don't update my facebook status in a certain way because I know I have teen fans on there, not just my friends from high school. I definitely have a persona that's true, but it's one side of me because I do feel slightly watched. I think that's natural.

Erin said...

Oh, that's another thing to think about, Melissa! Yes, I definitely don't post certain things or thoughts on my blog because I know people are watching. And yes, facebook statuses--I'm careful with those, too.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Absolutely. I think it fosters goodness. I've seen how man acts when he believes no one is looking. (a military tour in Korea in the 80s=scary)

Christianity places followers in the ultimate panopticon, right?

It seems we are watched more today. I think of those cameras at intersections...

Priya said...

Yes, people do believe differently because they're being watched (or at least they think they are), but isn't that what our society is based off of? Because we have this sense, we follow the rules, even if we don't see anyone around.

On a completely different point, people might act differently around different people because they're afraid of what others will think of them.

e-lockhart said...

I am interested, too, in PARANOIA. This feeling that you are watched, even when probably you are not. (although maybe you are!)

I feel this sometimes in elevators.
Where do you feel it?

Melissa Walker said...

I feel paranoia in cars at stoplights. Maybe that's because I tend to look over at others and make up stories about their lives. Just me?

Little Willow said...

Yes, I think that some people do things when they are alone that they wouldn't do if they thought they were being monitored, and vice-versa. Some are based in etiquette (do you pick your nose in front of others?), ethics, morals, and other such things, related to a sense of propriety. I'm all for proper etiquette.

I also value honesty. I like people who are genuine. I am bothered when someone's nice to person A because person B (and perhaps persons C, D, & E) are watching, but mean to person B when the others aren't there.

If you want to read the book that changed my perception of "eye in the sky," pick up WHAT HAPPENS HERE by Tara Altebrando. It's a compelling story that you won't soon forget.

Melissa: There's a great monologue in the play THE WHY about watching people in cars.

E. Lockhart: Now I'm singing I Always Feel Like (Somebody's Watching Me) by Rockwell. (Those of you who aren't familiar with the original version may recognize it from the GEICO commercials.)

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Paranoia. Yep. Public bathrooms, E.!

Thanks for the link, LW. :~)

e-lockhart said...

Public bathrooms!
I did NOT need that idea in my head :)
argggg

What Happens Here is on my "To Be Read" pile!
Tara Altebrando is great.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I enjoyed Tara's book as well, LW.

Oh, yeah. Public bathrooms. You are welcome, E. :~)

Dia Calhoun said...

I have paranoia of being watched in dressing rooms. Especially those with no ceilings--open to the ceiling at the top as in some of the chains like Target.

We are all going to be watched more and more because we have grown more and more fearful as a society. We are trading privacy for security, often a false sense of security. Just look at what is happening with airport screening these days.

JenFW said...

In spite of Google Earth, for the most part, I don't feel as though I'm being watched (except for the grumpy buttinsky neighbor who sometimes drives up our driveway, looks around, and leaves), and I'm glad. I wonder, though, if maybe I'm a bit oblivious.

I think there's another side to this. There are people who *want* to be watched, people who constantly perform in the hope or expectation of being watched. And I think this has increased in recent years with the prevalence of reality tv, blogs, YouTube, etc. Everyone wants to be a celebrity or seems to think s/he already is.

Little Willow said...

You are welcome, Lorie Ann.

E. Lockhart: You'll have to let me know what you think of What Happens Here after you've read it. It's a jawdropper. I want to give it to...everyone. Especially Laura Kasischke fans.