Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash
Deviant is defined as:
de·vi·ant/ˈdēvēənt/a djective departing from usual or accepted standards, especially in social or sexual behavior. “deviant behavior”
noun a deviant person or thing.
Is it inherently bad?
Based on this definition the popular stance is that deviant is a bad thing. It’s bad because it departs from socially accepted behavior and because we expect people to not rock the boat or take a stand for what they believe in. However, deviance is neither inherently positive or negative until there’s context surrounding it so why, when I crafted my very official Facebook poll, asking if the word deviant was positive, negative or neutral, were most of the votes for the negative?
Because. Judgement. Opinion. Thoughts.
Being a deviant is not either good or bad, but we are so used to negative events happening and hearing the word used to only describe negative actions, that we automatically assign it in that way.
“We have to acknowledge all the amazing, wonderful and positive things on this planet…”
And let’s be real, there are behaviors that are certainly expressive of negative deviance. Things that involve the involuntary contribution of others for example, but we’re talking deviance as a whole and we have to acknowledge all the amazing, wonderful and positive things on this planet because someone was a deviant. Someone decided to depart from socially accepted behavior and make a difference in the world.
Focus on the positive
So let’s make an effort to focus on the positive deviant people and events that have happened in our society.
Does the Earth revolve around the sun? Today we are completely clear and understand that, yes, in fact, the Earth and all the other planets do revolve around the sun. Silly to think otherwise, right? Well, when Galileo made this now standard discovery, he was put under house arrest because the Roman Inquisition decided that this stance was “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.”
“Galileo could have lost his life because of his deviance!”
Could you imagine having such a powerful force of opposition? The church against scientific proof during a time when the church’s opinion was the only one that mattered…. Galileo could have lost his life because of his deviance!
What about Susan B Anthony? Would us women be able to vote had it not been for her deviance?
Barak Obama… Our first Black President!
Steve Jobs… If you’re reading this on a MAC or an iPhone, thank him.
Henry Ford… pushing the limits of engineering because he KNEW it would change the world.
Marin Luther King Jr… equality. Maybe I should have listed him before President Obama….
Albert Einstein. Mahatma Gandhi. Charles Darwin. Joan of Arc. Margaret Thatcher. Rosa Parks. Marie Curie. Mother Teresa. Eleanor Roosevelt. Nikola Tesla. Princess Diana. Sigmund Freud.
Every single business owner…. Every person who has left the ‘security’ of their J.O.B. to pursue the things that matter most to them. To go against the expectations of friends and family and society in order to be happy and fulfilled while knowing it won’t be easy. To you I say Be Proud of your deviant behavior, for you are among the great!
And in case you were wondering, the answer is yes. Yes, I am a Deviant. I push buttons and envelopes and boundaries. I go against the grain of expectations. I encourage self-love and self-empowerment. I strive to deviate from the norm in order to make positive changes in the world around me. This is my Glitter and I am proud to be a deviant!