Analyzing Neil Cargile’s Case: Is He Normal or Abnormal?

Analyzing Neil Cargile’s Case: Is He Normal or Abnormal?

Document details
Category: English Essay
Subcategory: American Literature
Words: 489
Pages: 2

Certain criteria have to be met in order to determine whether an individuals behavior is normal or abnormal. The article, Abnormality or Eccentricity? The Case of Neil Cargile, describes Neil as a 65-year-old successful businessman and a staunch member of his community. However, he is an established cross-dresser who also happens to be a heterosexual. This makes his behavior questionable as to whether he is normal or abnormal. Some people might be quick to label Neil as an abnormal individual because of his behavior, but according to the four Ds of abnormality, Neil Cargile is not abnormal. The four Ds (deviance, dysfunction, distress, dangerousness) together make up mental health professionals definition of behaviors or feelings as abnormal (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2001, p.8). A behavior is abnormal if it deviates from the population norms, interferes with an individuals daily functioning capabilities, causes distress, and poses a threat to the individual and others. However, at least three of the four criteria has to be met in order for an individual to be labeled as abnormal (lecture, 82311). Neils behavior is not dysfunctional because it did not prevent him from conducting his normal activities. He is not perceived as a threat to himself or others nor did he cause distress to himself. The article, however, states that his brother is appalled by his behavior and his mother is embarrassed of his behavior. Therefore, I believe his behavior is somewhat distressful to his family members. Although his behavior does not fit with the criteria mentioned above, he does fit the deviance criterion because his dress style is unusual and deviates from the societal norm. His behavior would have been seen as normal had he been a cross-dressing homosexual because the society we live in tends to classify cross-dressers as homosexuals. On the other hand, Neils behavior could have met more of the criteria had he cross-dressed to church, business meetings or the local country club. He might have been stigmatized...

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