Relationships quiz

Pressures on Young Men to Conform (boys)
To make young men aware of the pressures within society to conform and behave in certain
Activity 1:
Flipchart and pens
Activity 2:
Equipment to play music
MP3 song Pleasure vs Profit music track
Copy of the lyrics (see below)
This session is for boys only.
Ensure a safe environment, preferable in an already established group setting.
The two activities can be done as two separate activities.
Explain to the group that this session is about being a man and what this means in this
society. Also explain that a lot of ‘stereotyping’ will go on, but that we acknowledge that
gender roles may vary depending on ethnicity, culture, class, ability and family etc. Let
participants know that in this exercise we are going to ask them to say words that are
offensive to some people.
Activity 1
"Act Like a Man" Box
1. Ask if anyone has ever been told or heard someone being told to “act like a man”. Write
“Act like a man” on top of the sheet. What are some of the messages boys are given when
they are told to "act like a man"? – what are the expectations (which may not be the
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reality). Remember that this exercise seeks to look at stereotypes, not at individual
Brainstorm with the group, writing down their suggestions linking to the following prompts:
How are men supposed to be different from women? - stronger, tougher, in control..
What feelings is a "real man" supposed to have?- anger, superiority, confidence..
How do "real men" express their feelings?- yelling, fighting, silence..
How are "real men" supposed to act sexually?- aggressive, dominant, with women..
Possible discussions:
Discuss where these messages come from. (Who is the messenger?)
Discuss earliest influences in boys' lives and how socialisation occurs. (When do we first
receive these messages?)
Discuss whether the messages or delivery differ if they come from a man or a woman
(mother, father, teacher, sibling, peer).
Ask the group if they recognise this?
2. Draw a box around the messages: this is the gender box ‘Act like a man’
3. Ask the group ‘what are names applied to man outside the box? Men who do not ‘act like
a men’ (write these outside the box on the left side of the box)
Wimp, fag, queer, pussy, gay
Note: These words are important to say and to write down, but ask participants to answer this
question calmly and respectfully as possible.
4. What things happen physically to men outside the box? (write these outside the box and
on the right side of the box)
Fights, beat up, harassed, teased, abused, ignored
What happens to men who do not conform to the messages inside the box?
What methods are used to keep you (or the boy) inside the box?
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Talk about name-calling, threats, and use of violence.
How does it make men feel who will be treated like this: Write the answers in the middle of
the box. “These feeling are hidden” behind the ‘façade’ of being a real man.
This awareness can raise some reactions from the participants: i.e. denial (and moving
into the box) or express their vulnerability and identify themselves with these feelings
the nature of these qualities - are these considered "feminine"? How do they differ from
those listed inside the box?
the uniqueness of each person, and how each person has a variety of traits that change
over time.
Ask participants to describe men they know, and ask them if these men fit into the box.
5. Discuss the opportunities for men and boys to move beyond the box:
Ask participants for examples of men in their own lives who do not conform to the
messages inside the box - and how they are able to move beyond these messages.
Discuss if participants are willing to look at their own behaviors and attitudes and talk
about it with their peers.
Circle the positive qualities listed in the box and ask participants to redefine them in ways
that do not include dominance and control. For example redefine what it means for young
men to be strong (i.e. be strong to be yourself)
Based on:
Family Violence Prevention Fund –toolkit for working with men and boys
Activity 2
1. Tell the group they are going to listen to a music track and give them a copy of the lyrics
(see below)
2. Listen to the track.
3. Discuss and note down:
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What is the song about?
Do young men recognise what is being sung about?
What industry is the singer referring to?
What are the pressures young men feel regarding how to behave sexually?
What role does the porn industry have in this?
If you or young men/boys would look in their hearts, how would they really want to be?
What could be done to make it possible for young men/boys to be how they feel inside?
4. Summarise the discussion, ensure ending on a positive note.
Further Activities
 Invite the group to make their own song about this topic
 Search for role models
 Set up a male group, where it is safe to be ‘out of the box’
Music from: Pleasure vs Profit resource.
The music and lyrics were developed by Jucilino Levis Albanos Dos Santos. See: LEVIS
Are you Ready? 2014
Are you Ready? 2014