I have always listened to all genres of music: Rock, rap, show tunes, country—you name it. I never thought anything of it until one day in high school, when I was listening to some top 40 songs and a classmate of mine told me it was weird that I still listened to popular commercial music. I asked what she meant, and she said that she hadn’t listened to pop music in years because it was “too mainstream,” and that she was “really only into alternative music right now.” Don’t get me wrong; I love alternative music, too.
I just found it bizarre that she made a comment criticizing the fact that I was listening to a certain kind of music because it was too popular.
This was my first experience with the sort of fad that nonconformity had become. Since then, the concept of conforming versus not conforming has become a topic of discussion in the social sciences as well as in my everyday life.
Conformity is behavior in compliance with a set of socially accepted norms, or “rules.” In the realm of the social sciences, there are two types of conformity: normative conformity, in which the goal is to fit in with a group even though we might privately disagree with the views of the group, and informational conformity, in which we look to a group for guidance in times of uncertainty and accept the views of the group as our own.