MODULE EIGHT: THE MAN BOX
In this module you will be discussing gender stereotypes and being a young man in the culture and society we live in. This module includes information about the ways boys are trained in our society to become men. The model will support youth to identify the ways that they were trained and to recognize some of the effects of male socialization.
- Participants will start to recognize the ways boys are trained to be men within our society.
- Participants will analyze masculine stereotypes.
- Sign-In Sheet
Activity One: What Men Do and What Men Are
- Chart Paper
- I Am Courageous Posters
Activity Two: Leaving the Box
- Lebron James Masculinity Handout
Activity Three: Fotonovela/Comic Strip
- Group Process Notes
INTRODUCTION: (5 MINUTES)
THE PURPOSE OF THIS MODULE IS TO DISCUSS WHAT ROLES SOCIETY PUTS ON MEN AND TO DECONSTRUCT SOME GENDER STEREOTYPES THAT ARE PUT ON MEN.
Have the participants sign in. Ask the participants how their week is going.
Review agreements established during Module One. Remind them of the importance of these agreements given the personal nature of the information that will be discussed.
Today we will be discussing ways boys are trained to be men. Ask participants to think about what it means to be a “real man.” Have participants listen to the Engaging Men PSAs.
You probably are not violent with your partner. Most guys aren’t. Even though most guys aren’t violent with their partners, girls are more likely to be hurt by their partner than anything else. That includes car accidents and all health problems combined*.
It’s time to do something. The majority of guys who don’t use violence need to let the few that do know that violence is not okay. Stand up and be the solution. Tell the few that violence against women and girls is not cool. Treat girls with respect and expect your friends to do the same. If you think someone needs help, talk to a trusted adult or call Martha’s House at 863763-0202.
You know, when most guys hear about violence against women …. we tune it out. Most of us aren’t violent with our partners so we don’t feel like violence is a problem. But the truth is that for women and girls it is a problem. Violence against women and girls is committed overwhelmingly by men. So even if we aren’t violent, as men, it’s our problem. We all need to take a stand against violence against women and girls. If you hear someone talking negatively or being abusive let them know that it’s not ok. Those of us who are not abusive need to tune in and become the solution to ending violence against women and girls. If you think someone needs help, or want more information on being an active bystander to end violence against women and girls, contact Martha’s House at 863-763-0202.
*Taken from the International conference of the European Campaign in Lisbon, “Centro de Congressos de Lisboa, 4-6 May 2000”
State that the majority of men do not hurt their partners. Today’s module will focus on how society supports men being violent and different stereotypes related to masculinity. If needed review the definitions of sexism and stereotype.
ACTIVITY ONE: WHAT MEN DO AND HOW MEN ACT (15-20 MINUTES)
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ACTIVITY IS TO BREAKDOWN THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS AROUND GENDER AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MALE IN SOCIETY.
To start this activity, draw and then share your personal experiences about being a man. This may include who you learned about “being a guy” from and what that meant to you. Personal experiences may be from childhood such as not being allowed to play with your sister while she played with dolls, from adolescence such as being told by a coach to play a game after being injured and “take one for the team,” or from adulthood. The example you use should be age appropriate for the participants and will serve to show that everyone in society has experiences in which gender roles of being male are put onto them from outside sources be they parents, family, friends, co-workers, or other groups.
Draw a line down the center of the board or chart paper (see example on page 83). On one side label “What men do” and on the other side label “What men are”. Ask participants to finish the following sentence. “Act like a man; men ” If the participants need prompting you can start with an example such as don’t cry, take charge, are strong.
After the left side is full, ask participants to finish this sentence with qualities that men have. For example, “Men are powerful”, “Men are leaders”. After the right hand side is full, the mentor will draw a square around both columns of answers. Let the participants know this is the box that men are expected to live in.
Ask the participants to think about what qualities/emotions are missing from the box. Answers may include compassion, sympathy, or emotional.
- What characteristics may move in and out of the box?
- What characteristics may be difficult to maintain all the time?
- What if a man does not behave “inside of the box,” what is he called?
Write down answers outside of the box.
- If someone calls you one of the things that is listed outside of the box, what are you expected to do?
- What emotions are allowed to be in the box? (anger)
- If a man feels any emotion other than anger, why is it he cannot express it?
- What are some of the down sides of the names listed in the box?
- What are the expectations from other men?
- What types of communication we discussed before fit inside of the box and which ones go outside the box?
The only emotion men are often allowed to openly show in public is anger. Discuss why participants think that is the case. Ask participants if they agree that it is okay and normal for men to have a whole range of emotions.
TRANSITION/DISCUSSION: BYSTANDER INTERVENTION
Discuss how participants can use their emotions while engaging in bystander intervention. When we talk about bystander intervention, we are not referring to one man intervening in the actions of another through the use of violence or anger. What we mean is men holding one another to high standards using accountability.
Discuss accountability. Accountability is obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. Use “I am Courageous” posters as examples of non-violent, bystander intervention and to ask the participants for other examples.
ACTIVITY TWO: LEAVING THE BOX (10 MINUTES)
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ACTIVITY IS TO EXPLORE WHY WE RESPOND TO MEN WHO ACT OUTSIDE OF THE “MAN BOX” THE WAY THAT WE DO.
Ask the participants if they all know who Lebron James is. Ask what Man Box characteristics does Lebron fit, such as makes money, powerful, and athletic. Show the following photos of Lebron James and read what they are to the participants. After showing each photo, ask the participants what they think when they see it. After they have all responded; move onto the next photo. Show the photos in the following order:
- Dunking during 2012 Summer Olympics
- Lebron James pointing
- Lebron James with his wife Savannah Brinson
- Lebron James with trophies
- Lebron James crying
Discuss how he is behaving outside of the Man Box and point out what people have said about him and put online as a result.
- What man box characteristics does he fit when he is crying?
- Why do they think people have reacted the way they have?
- Do they agree with the images and ideas they have seen about Lebron James since this image came out? Why or why not?
Discuss gender stereotypes.
- Is it wrong for males to have emotions or show empathy?
- These characteristics are typically viewed as female characteristics which is harmful to both women and men. Men have these emotions but feel that they need to hide them in order to live up to society’s expectations of them.
- Think about the characteristics listed when you were defining your relationship rights. Were characteristics like compassion, kindness, and empathy listed?
- People often feel pressure to act in certain roles and not be who they really are just to fit in or to avoid being made fun of. A healthy relationship is one with equality for both partners regardless of gender and societal expectation of that gender.
- What happens when a man doesn’t fit in the box?
- He is called names that denote him to be feminine. Girls are taught to be passive and not speak out about their needs and guys are taught to be aggressive and do what they want without thinking about the other person. All these stereotypes are hurtful to both the individuals targeted and their relationships. This perpetuates a society where the expectation is that men are supposed to be violent. Refer back to the PSA that it is a small percentage of men who are violent and the majority of men are not violent towards their partners.
Note strict gender roles are a risk factor for perpetration and victimization of teen and domestic violence. By reinforcing strict gender roles, women are encouraged to be passive and men are encouraged to be aggressive.
Participants will be encouraged to think about the Box and how it is damaging for men and women. Ask participants to think back to when they drafted their relationship rights. Were qualities like caring, compassionate or kind on their lists? If they would like those qualities in their partners, then their partners may like those qualities in them.
ACTIVITY THREE: FOTONOVELA/COMIC STRIP INTRODUCTION (5-10 MINUTES)
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ACTIVITY IS TO SPEND TIME DISCUSSING THE FOTONOVIA/COMIC STRIP THAT THE GROUP WILL BE CREATING.
Now you are going to change direction a little and start to discuss the fotonovela/comic strip that is going to be created. Explain that the fotonovela/comic strip is going to be a short, one-page story that carries a social change message, such as the qualities of healthy relationships. Participants can draw from any of the topics that have been discussed thus far to begin creating the messaging for the fotonovela/comic strip.
A fotonovela/comic strip combines photos with voice and narration boxes to present a situation or a story. Fotonovela/comic strips are short and easy to read. They tend to grab people’s attention. People who would not normally read a poster or a brochure will often take the time to read a fotonovela/comic strip.
Review the What is a Fotonovela? handout from Module One. State that fotonovelas are based on real life scenarios. They are composed of pictures to tell the story. The purpose of the fotonovela they are creating is to share with their community what they have learned in this program.
Brainstorm script ideas and chart them.
Remind participants to keep these conversations in mind while they are thinking of ideas for the fotonovela/comic strip you are going to start working on in the next session.
PEAK AND PIT OF THE SESSION:
As part of the closing you will to ask participants what was the peak and the pit of the session. Go around the group and ask everyone to say what they thought the best part of the session was and what the worst part of it was. Record this information in the Group Process Notes.
I am Courageous Posters
Lebron James Masculinity Handout
- Module One: What’s Up?
- Module Two: Who Has the Power?
- Module Three: Healthy Relationships
- Module Four: Dynamics of Teen Dating Violence and How to Help a Friend
- Module Five: Being an Ally
- Module Six: Boundaries
- Module Seven: How We Feel, How We Deal
- Module Eight The Man Box
- Module Nine: Creating a Community Tool
- Module Ten: What can you Do?
- Mentor’s Toolbox