About this exercise Understanding the training to “act like a man” is important because it allows men and young men to understand how they have been trained through a pervasive and often painful process of socialization to act in certain ways. The next step is for them to understand that, as part of that training, they have been prepared to pass on their pain, anger, and frustration to the women around them. Since we often define violence as very dramatic incidents of hitting or sexual assault, it is important for men and young men to see the everyday acts of abuse and disrespect they commit which help perpetuate and support sexism and male violence. This exercise, which can be facilitated in male only or mixed-gender groups (with the women observing), helps men see that they participate in an active, routine way in perpetuating male violence and the cultural norms which allow it to go unchallenged. This is not a stand alone exercise. It should only be conducted in the context of a workshop or talk on sexism, power, violence, and safety that allows the group to process the feelings, thoughts, and issues which arise from participating in the exercise.
Instructions Tell the group that you are going to read a series of statements and that each male to whom a statement applies should stand up after that statement is read. Tell the group that all of the men and/or young men are being asked to participate. Those who are physically unable to stand may raise their hand to indicate that they are part of the group standing.
Each man or young man should decide for themselves whether the statement applies to them or not. If they are unwilling to stand for a particular statement that applies to them they may pass for that statement but should notice any feelings they have about not standing.
Explain that the exercise will be done in silence to allow participants to notice the feelings that come up during the exercise and to make it safer for all participants. After a statement is read and people have stood for a few moments, ask participants to sit down and read the next statement.
Please stand up (or if unable to stand raise your hand to indicate) if:
- You have ever interrupted a woman by talking loudly?
- You have ever thought that what a woman has to say is not as important as what a man has to say? - You have ever found yourself looking at a woman’s breasts while talking to her?
- You have ever stopped what you were doing to look at the body of a woman going past you?
- You have ever put down a woman you were with because she wasn’t as pretty as other women?
- You have ever whistled at, yelled at, or grabbed a woman in public either by yourself or as part of a group of other young men?
- You have ever talked about a woman’s body with another man or talked about whether she was easy or good in bed?
- You have ever called a woman a bitch, slut or whore?
- You have ever been told by a girlfriend that all you wanted from her was sex?
- You have ever been told by a woman that you were being sexist?
- You have ever lied to a girlfriend about having sex with another woman?
- You have ever left birth control up to a woman when you’d had sex?
- You have ever downplayed a woman’s fear of male violence?
- You have ever used your voice or body to scare a woman into doing what you wanted?
- You have ever tried to control where a woman could go or what she could do?
- You have ever threatened to hurt a woman, break something of hers , or hurt yourself if she didn’t do what you wanted her to do?
- You have ever hit, slapped or pushed a woman?
- You have ever had sex with a woman when you knew she didn’t want to?
After the exercise ask people to pair up to talk about what feelings and thoughts came up for them participating in the exercise. Reassemble the group and facilitate a group discussion of the feelings, thoughts, reflections, and insights that people want to share.
This exercise is adapted from Young Men’s Work: Stopping Violence & Building Community by Allan Creighton and Paul Kivel. Center City, MN: Hazelden, 1995/98. Ó 1994 Allan Creighton and Paul Kivel.
For information about books and other training and curricular materials or for feedback or questions about this exercise contact Paul Kivel at 510-654-3015 or at email@example.com. Other resources are available at www.paulkivel.com.
- Resource Type:
- Toolkit Sections:
- Get to Work
- Toolkit Sub-Sections:
- Get to Work - What Men & Boys Can Do
Last modified 2004-10-17 08:17 PM