My latest essay has been published on the Witches’ Voice this weekend. Titled “Personal Boundaries and Social Norms,” it addressed problems that I have observed relating to establishing and the ignoring of social norms and personal boundaries in the pagan community.
It’s something that we’ve all noticed. A disproportionate number of pagans seem to be, well, socially awkward. Many a pagan – and not only the younger ones – seems to have a bit of a problem with social skills, particularly with personal boundaries. This awkwardness can make pagan networking a little tricky sometimes, not to mention interactions at pagan festivals. It can also make the awkward among us seem that much more unusual to those outside of the pagan community that only have pop culture and media stereotypes as the basis for their expectations.
Sure, some people have problems adapting to social norms. I’ve heard allegations that a higher number of pagans have Asperger’s Syndrome than non-pagans (although I haven’t verified this at all) . Paganism also has a reputation for being more open and accepting to unusual people, which can easily make it seem more inviting to people who are less socially aware. Sometimes, however, social awkwardness is tolerated unduly from individuals who should (or do) know better – the famed pagan tolerance could keep some from correcting socially inappropriate behavior. In a worst-case scenario, that tolerance may be taken advantage of by people who are simply too rude or self-absorbed to be bothered with respecting other people’s boundaries.
You can read the whole thing on the Witches’ Voice. Once I’ve gotten and responded to some e-mail feedback, I’ll also post that here. The essay will appear here in its entirety in a month. Let me know what you think!
I’d also like to welcome visitors from the Witches’ Voice who are new to my work and invite them to check out the rest of the site. Comments and feedback are greatly encouraged!