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Lesson 1. What is gender?

Objectives: the formation of ideas about the socio-psychological content of the concept of "gender".

Equipment: colored markers.

Stage 1. Acquaintance

Participants and moderator are seated in subgroups in a circle. The facilitator invites everyone to introduce themselves in an arbitrary manner: call the name (that is, how the participant wants to be approached), one adjective that most concisely characterizes the participant from his point of view, and also to tell a little about himself (what he considers necessary for the presentation your public self).

The procedure of acquaintance must be carried out even in those groups whose members have known each other well for a long time. This allows not only to tune in to work, but also to start the processes of self-awareness and move on to the implementation of the second stage.

Stage 2. Presentation of a personal gender image

After the dating procedure, the facilitator offers the participants the task to present themselves to the group as a man or a woman (according to gender).

For this, the presenter suggests using his own markers or paints to depict his personal coat of arms on a piece of paper. The coat of arms in symbolic form shows those around the aspirations and positions of a person. The outline of the emblem is divided into four areas. In the left part the main achievements in life are recorded; the middle one is how a person perceives himself; on the right side are the main goals in life; the lower part of the emblem is assigned to indicate the main motto of life.

It takes about half an hour to work. At the end, the participants present each other their emblems and slogans. Specifying questions are asked. The similarities of coats of arms and symbols are discussed.

At the end of the creative process, everyone talks about their emblems. Depending on the availability of time, the size of the group, other components, you can tell about the whole coat of arms, about some of its parts as chosen by the facilitator or participants, and also to do it in a large group, in pairs, in small groups.

Of course, the discussion of the entire coat of arms in a large group causes the most emotion, but if this is not possible, an incomplete discussion should also become comfortable, deep and interesting.

The story about the coat of arms can be carried out according to this scheme: "I drew this and that in such and such a window, because I ..."

Then the moderator asks what the participants felt when they were drawing the coats of arms, when they were talking about them.
What did we do this exercise for? What is it necessary to do?

Which of the windows was hard to paint? Why? Which is easier? Why? Are there any fundamental differences in the arms of men and women? What are they connected with?

Stage 3. Discussion of personal presentations

During the discussion, the moderator may indicate that, in introducing themselves to the group, the participants mostly talk not about the biological signs of men and women, but about such personal qualities that arise and manifest themselves only in the process of interpersonal interaction and in the social space. We should also draw the attention of the group to the fact that the actual sexual characteristics very rarely appear in the role of personal characteristics that we use to present ourselves as men or women. At the same time, individual characteristics can be common in gender images of both men and women. During the discussion, the moderator can draw attention to the fact that most of the characteristics presented are not directly related to the biological sex, although the participants were given the task to present themselves as men or women. From this we can conclude that these concepts and characterizing them, which on the surface of consciousness are associated with biological factors, are actually determined by social relations and interpersonal interaction. If gender and gender were interdependent variables, then in presentations, morphofunctional and socio-psychological characteristics would certainly be presented equally. However, despite the obvious morphofunctional (biological) differences of the participants among themselves, most of these characteristics do not find a place in defining themselves as men or women. Consequently, in real interaction between men and women, it is socially determined characteristics that bear the main load in perceiving differences, while the very notions of masculine and feminine reflect the content of social rather than biological qualities.
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Lesson 1. What is gender?

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