Genders, Roles and Expectations

Genders, Roles and Expectations
Main Topic
Empowerment and Inclusion – Pride
Additional Topic(s)
Empowerment and Inclusion – Diversity
Empowerment and Inclusion – Gender
2-4 hours
Implementation Mode
Indoor F2F
The activity aims to bring light to the concepts related to gender (such as biological sex, sexual orientation, affectivity, sexual identity, and sexual behaviour) and to make people think about the social construction of gender roles. The aim is to make participants aware that the social construction of gender has a significant impact on the lives of heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
Overview of Activity
The differences between sex and gender are often not completely understood. This activity helps provide clarity on the different components of gender and how social expectations force women and men into roles that are not natural, but socially built. While helping to reflect on how these expectations are often the source of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.
Description of Activity
The activity consists of several stages. Participants should be divided into groups consisting of 3-4 people and encouraged to use their inventiveness and creativity.

Each group is handed some magazines (current affairs, fashion, news, gossip) with pictures of women and men. Groups have thirty minutes to reflect on the messages they receive from these magazines: How are men and women represented in these magazines? What do they look like? How do they behave?

Then, for the second phase, the total number of participants is divided according to gender: the girls will work on the “MAN” poster while the boys will work on the “WOMAN” one, trying to describe them according to the standards of our society (i.e., a "REAL MAN" and a "REAL WOMAN"). Groups have 30 minutes to draw and/or write on the poster freely and are provided with markers, scissors, glue and various magazines from which they can cut out visual and textual elements to integrate into their poster. The following elements must be taken into account in the presentation: What body should he/she have? What should he/she look like, how should he/she be dressed? What idea must he/she have of himself/herself? Which personality should he/she have? Who should he/she fall in love with? What ambitions, aspirations, dreams should he/she have?

The final phase consists of a debate between all participants (around 30 minutes), which can begin with these guiding questions: How many of us recognize ourselves in these models? Is it possible to meet all these expectations? What do you think are the main differences between what is expected of a man and a woman? What sanctions or punishments do we risk if we do not meet these expectations(e.g. exclusion, taunting, bullying)?

Moreover, it is important to reflect on how what has been discussed affects the lives of LGBTQ+ people by asking the following questions: What is meant by the acronym LGBTQ+? How do you think LGBTQ+ people deviate from the most common gender expectations? How do such expectations affect the lives of LGBTQ+ people?
Sources & Additional Materials
Materials: magazines with lots of pictures, poster board, scissors, glue and markers.

External sources/Links

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Additional Notes
To explore this further, it may be proposed to carry out research on the image of men and women in other media and organise a small information campaign on their impact on young people, e.g. by involving other comrades through video interviews.

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