The Self-Esteem Act


I just read this New York Times article about how a software program can detect whether photos have been photo-shopped or not. This is a big deal since much of the advertising that we see on a daily basis is fake. We all know that it creates this false notion of what beauty looks like, and how women are expected to strive towards this. 

I also read that there are groups focused on Congress passing a Self-Esteem Act, which would label altered photos in advertising. Essentially, we would be able to know that an ad was fake. Obviously, marketers and the media will fight this. However, this an excellent political action that overlaps that Barbie workshop. 

If students are interested, we could have them write letters to their congressperson or state senator(s) and ask them to support this. Any other ideas or thoughts?



So this is kind of a superfluous post but I’m excited. I’m here at the MCTC computer lab/library waiting for Tay to be done with class so that we can go over to Second Foundation and do our first workshop on Gender Harassment. I’m pumped. I’m nervous. I don’t know what to expect. This should be an interesting time. I printed off tons of copies of our stuff and made little notecards for everyone just in case. I hope things go well.


Revised Workshop

Okay all, here is the revised workshop on gender harassment. The only thing that I changed from the roles we discussed during class tonight is that I would like to facilitate the debrief. After typing in everyone’s roles, I felt like I had a smaller role than I would like to have, considering I have put a lot of work into this workshop. I hope this is okay and that I didn’t step on anyone’s toes too hard. Look this over a lot before Friday.Comment with changes/suggestions. Make it work for you. Print it out if you need to. We’re gonna rock this!

Gender Harassment Workshop

Gather students in a circle. Ask for their attention.

Madalynn: Hey everyone! My name is Madalynn. (Everyone else introduces themselves) I go to school downtown at MCTC and I’m studying to be a teacher. For a group project this semester, these fellow classmates and I thought it would be awesome to put on some workshops with teenage students that deal with certain issues we find important to confront. Today I would like to talk with you all about gender harassment, and it’s super important that this is a safe space (describe).

Tay: So, does anyone know what gender harassment means?

Wait for answer.

Tay: Yeah, let’s break down this term. (write “Gender Harassment” on board/large paper) Ok, so the first word is gender, what does gender mean? (wait for response) Gender can refer to a few different things. It can refer to a person’s body biologically. Gender can also be referring to how a person views themselves, which is known as gender identity. In our discussion today, gender will be referring to our bodies, how we interpret them, and how we and other people treat them. Does that make sense?

Wait for answer and write down ideas under “Gender”                            

Tay: Ok, so the second word is harassment. Does someone here want to define that word for us? (wait for response) Yeah, harassment is unwanted attention. This can be verbal or physical. It can be something someone writes down, or something someone gestures. What’s important to remember about what makes it harassment is that it is unwanted. Does that make sense.

Wait for answer and write down ideas under “Harassment”

Kevin: So, can anyone have any ideas about what gender harassment is then? (wait for response) That’s right, gender harassment is unwanted attention that a person receives due to their gender or gender identity. One thing I would like to bring up is how gender harassment is not the same as sexual harassment. While sexual harassment usually implies unwanted sexual advances made towards someone. While gender harassment can be sexual harassment, the two are different because gender harassment is unwanted attention that directly relates to their body or gender, but is not necessarily sexual. Does this make sense? (wait for response) Ok, now, let’s talk about what gender harassment looks like, especially in a school setting.

Proceed to write down students ideas, discussing the various scenarios they come up with. If the students struggle, here are some helpful suggestions:

–          Unwanted hugging, grabbing, kissing, touching

–          Making comments about other people’s bodies

–          Standing too close to someone

–          Holding someone down

–          Writing or telling dirty jokes

–          Showing dirty pictures

Kevin: You all came up with some really great examples of what gender harassment looks like. How do you think it makes people feel when they are harassed because of their gender, or how do you think other’s feel when they witness this happen?

Write down responses near corresponding examples. Suggestions:

–          Bad, sad, unsure, anxious, unsafe.

Connor: Clearly, being harassed doesn’t make anyone feel good- not the person who’s being attacked, the people witnessing it, or even the person doing the harassment themselves. Now I have a question, have you read or seen Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? There is a quote in that book that I didn’t notice as very important until I really thought about it: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”-Dumbledore. I know for myself, growing up in a community of basically one race and class, that I had a lot of friends and classmates who said hurtful things. I never found it too hard to say I thought someone was being mean or hurtful, except when that person was someone that I respected or was friends with. Have any of you heard your friends say hurtful things? Have any of you heard your friends harass someone about their gender? If you don’t feel comfortable sharing you than don’t have to and remember not to use names so that we don’t embarrass anyone in this group.

(Listen to examples of bullying by friends of students)

Connor: Did you say anything?

(Listen to stories)

Connor: Let’s about why it is hard to talk to our friends when we think what they are doing is wrong. What makes it different then when we are talking to someone that we maybe don’t like or someone we don’t know very well?

(Discuss in group)

Connor: Does anyone have any ideas on how to talk to a friend about something like this? How do we tell a friend that we think they are wrong or are being mean or hurtful without hurting the friendship that we have with them?

(Discuss in group and write examples on the board)

Madalynn: Alright, so now we’re going to do an activity. I’d like for us to split up into equal numbered groups. What I would like you all to do is write out a role play of someone experiencing gender harassment. You will be given one of the examples that we wrote up on the board earlier and then you can make up a situation around that example. The reason we are assigning examples is because we don’t want any of these skits to turn into harassment on accident. The examples that we choose should be examples that we in no way will use to make our classmates feel unsafe. I want you all to be sure to do three things (write down): Number one, show a clear example of gender harassment. Number two, make sure that your character has a clear emotional response to the harassment. Number three, I would like for you to figure out a way for the characters to resolve the problem and stop the gender harassment from taking place. Sound good?

The students will split up into groups. They will figure out their example and then be given 10-15 minutes to write their skits. Once they’re ready, the groups will present their skits. After each skit, we will discuss what the group did well, and what strategy they came up with to stop the gender harassment from happening. These examples will also be written on the board.

Madalynn: So, does anyone have any questions, or anything more they would like to discuss about gender harassment? (wait for response) Well, you all did a great job. I’m so happy that we could get together to discuss this, and I hope you all feel our time spent here was valuable. Everyone deserves respect. Everyone deserves to feel safe. It is really important that we do our best to create and enforce safe spaces, and you all have taken an awesome step in that direction today. Thank you so much for your time!

Meeting Notes for 16 Nov 2011


1) Bust down walls of workshop 1 into four distinct pieces

2) Assign each piece to an individual member of this group

3) Practice our roles

Steps and Notes

1[&2]) Workshop broken down into [and assigned member to these]

a) Introduction [Madalyn]

b) Defining Gender Harassment [Tay]

c) What it looks / Feels Like [Kevin]

d) Standing up to your friends [Connor]

e) Activity [Madalyn]

f) Debrief [Madalyn]

3) Madalynn will post a revised workshop. We practiced our roles and will modify them slightly before Friday.

4) We discussed more about what the Second Foundations School and Madalynn’s understanding of this local private institution. We will meet at 10:40AM at the Purple Onion.

Assessing our work

I think we need to work not only on our workshops and how we currently envision them, but also consider how we are planning to assess the success of them.

I propose we have students fill out forms with same questions before and after the workshops. The could also include questions like “What do you expect to learn from this workshop” and “What did you learn or wished you had?” OR we could simply have them fill out a form at the end to let us know what they thought.

I would include questions (based on my own perspective) like:

!) What is your own definition of feminism?

2) How have feminist movements affected the rights of women?

3) What political issues affecting women’s rights do you think society should be addressing?

4) How do you feel these should be resolved?

5) Is there anything else you would like to add about how you felt or what you learned through this workshop?

New plan

Hey all. So since I am the only one who would be able to make the meeting tomorrow since Connor and Tay said they couldn’t (Kevin, maybe I have the wrong number for you?), Starri and I figured that since we are already acquainted, we can send her some of her information/progress via email. She just wants to make sure I fill you all in on SFS, so maybe I’ll do a more proper tutorial when we meet early next Wednesday before class. I believe you can also visit

The awesome news is that she’s totally down for a workshop on November 18th, and also wanted to know if we would be down to set up a second workshop for December 2nd. Hell yeah! Let’s get our shit together with the lesson plan we’ve been working on, and then we can work out tails off to turn Tay’s body image idea into a workshop too. Since meeting before class is all that really works for us, let’s make sure to put a lot of effort into revising the lesson plan so it is pretty much ready to go when we see each other on Wednesday, at least that’s my suggestion.

Also, perhaps if people want, we could take a field trip to SFS on Monday during that time slot that works for most of us (what, like noon?) and just go visit the place or something. Starri is really excited and says the school is always looking for volunteers. This is gonna be great. Let me know what you all think!