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Gender Socialization Exercises

Gender socialization, especially adherence to rigid traditional sex roles, are associated with men’s violence against women. In order to address the root causes of violence against women, many primary prevention efforts include work to address gender roles.

The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence centers gender equity and youth leadership in efforts to prevent sexual and domestic violence through the Our Gender Revolution Campaign.

For additional programs, please visit Futures Without Violence to learn more about their work around gender socialization.

Male Socialization

Many programs use exercises such as the “Act Like a Man” Box .

Gender Bias Exercise

This is an exercise done with a male/female presenter team. This exercise is typically done related to domestic violence, and in other settings to examine issues of couples counseling.

The presents play a couple coming in for counseling. The man “enters” the conversation by taking charge immediately, doing most of the talking, explaining that “we’re coming for counseling because we are having some problems.”

Once the collective counselor (the participants of the workshop) start asking questions and beginning the assessment, the man becomes increasingly stoic, mono-syllabic, and seemingly disengaged. The woman, on the other hand, is responsive, engaged, self-reflective to the “counselor’s” questions.
It takes all of…2 – 3 minutes before the man gets all but ignored, and the woman gets all the questions.
Use this exercise to point out how women, who tend to be more responsive and engaged in counseling type situations, get the focus of counseling situations like this. What happens as a result of this focus, is that the message is that women have more responsibility than do men in terms of the work of the relationship.
(original sources: Rus Funk, MSW)