Gender Harassment Workshop

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Gender Harassment Workshop

Gather students in a circle. Ask for their attention.

Facilitator: Hey everyone! (My name is Madalynn. I go to school downtown at MCTC and I’m studying to be a teacher. For a group project this semester, a few of my 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. Does anyone know what that means?

Wait for answer.

Facilitator: 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, for example, I was born with a woman’s body (waits for response) Yeah, gender can also be referring to how a person views themselves, which is known as gender identity. So someone who has a woman’s body may still identify as being a man, or vice versa. In our discussion today, gender will be referring to our bodies, and how we and other people treat them. Does that make sense? (write down ideas under the word gender)

Wait for answer.

Facilitator: 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? (write down ideas under the word harassment)

Wait for answer.

Facilitator: 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. 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

Facilitator: 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.

Facilitator: Alright, so now we’re going to do an activity. I’d like for us to split up into equal numbered groups, let’s say no more than four to a group. What I would like you all to do is write out a role play of someone experiencing gender harassment. You can choose one of the examples that we wrote up on the board earlier and then you can make up a situation around that example. I want you all to be sure to do three things (write down): Number one, have 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.

Facilitator: 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! We hope to come back and be able to share more valuable information with you all. You rock!

Let me know what you think!

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2 thoughts on “Gender Harassment Workshop

  1. I think what you are doing and what I want to focus on could flow really well together. You could do your lesson and then I could talk about strategies to stop gender harassment and ways to deal with bullying in general. Maybe?

  2. I agree with Connor. I think it could be quite useful to see if they have experience with gender harassment. (I also think it could be useful to explicitly share why you are using gender harassment and not sexual harassment here. Especially considering the media’s use of it repeatedly. What does this term offer that sexual harassment doesn’t?)

    Just to think two steps ahead….with the skits, I am wondering how you will handle it if the skits themselves become sites of gender harassment. What would you lose if you switched to more theater of the oppressed and used statues? Or imagine in transition?

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