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Priya Solanki

Reaction Paper 2
Debra Lafave
Society always plays a major role in how various types of people and actions are
perceived. This is because society has a set standard of rules and regulations that most members
of the community adhere to. Often times, however, different members of society are held to
different standards. This can be seen largely with gender. The Social Learning Theory states that
children are taught how to act ladylike or manly from socialization at a young age. One
example of this is with childrens movies such as Disney princess movies. These movies from a
characterization of women that younger girls then imitate, thus forming an idea of how girls
should look and behave. As a child, I remembered wanting to look like and sing like my favorite
Disney princesses. The Social Learning Theory also applies to the case of Debra Lafave. As a
young girl, a schoolmate over sexualized Lafave when she was raped, as she claimed at age
thirteen. This idea that women were objects of sex followed Lafave onto her adulthood and could
have prompted her to have illegal sex with a minor.
In order to be socialized people must learn what is and is not acceptable in society. A
society has a standard of behavior that the public must assume. If that behavior is not displayed,
the person is labeled as a deviant. Deviance is any behavior that is different than group or social
norms. For example, society expects its members to have a job and earn a living. A person would
be considered a deviant is he or she did not work or do anything all day; this is not necessarily
bad behavior but it is labeled as deviant because it is different than the norm. One major social
taboo is an age difference between couples. A couple can be considered deviant if there is a

major age gap between the two people because this does not fit the traditional idea of what a
couple should be. When Debra Lafave engaged in a relationship with someone much younger
than herself, she participated in deviant behavior. Because she had sexual relations with a boy
who was fourteen, Lafave engaged in criminal deviance with the violation of the law stating sex
between adults and minors is a criminal act.
Often times within society judgments are made about a certain group of people, and these
judgments lead to actions being taken against these people. One case of this is discrimination.
Discrimination is an action toward people based solely on their group membership. As a
minority, I have witnessed and experienced discrimination various times. Many times, I find
certain people being rude to me simply because of the color of my skin. Discrimination can also
occur in companies and businesses who would rather hire the attractive candidate rather than the
more qualified one for the job. Discrimination played a role in the case of Lafave. When Lafave
was in high school, she began cutting her wrists after a lesbian affair was discovered. She most
likely did so because she feared her peers judgments and actions towards this affair. Although it
is unclear if any discrimination occurred, it still plays a part because of Lafaves fear of it.
When members of society form preconceived notions of various groups based on little
fact, they are forming stereotypes. Stereotypes are images of a racial, cultural, or other type of
group that are held by many people whether or not they are true. Some stereotypes that are the
most common within society are racial stereotypes. One example of this is the stereotype that all
Asians are smart. Many people believe that all Asians know how to handle technology and
receive good grades simply because of where they are from. Being Asian myself, many people
simply assume that I do well in school because of my race rather than because of studying.
Stereotypes were made in Lafaves case as well. During her trial, Lafaves lawyer claimed that a

Florida state womens penitentiary was a hell hole and comparing the inmates to lions.
Lafaves lawyer stereotyped all penitentiary members as being cutthroat animals living in
horrible conditions without regard for actual behaviors of the inmates and conditions of the
penitentiary.