Week 5 - Positive Masculinity

This topic delves into the notion of 'positive masculinity' and how flipping the switch can effect the nature of violent crime in Scotland. Regardless of which gender we identify as: men, women or non-binary, the way we stereotype genders in Scotland has a massive influence on how we behave - both good and bad.

What you will need

You will need...

Timing: 1 hour 30minutes

  • A screen and PC or device to play the podcast and powerpoint.
  • Boxes or printed template.
  • Pens.


Start by...

Playing a game of masculine or feminine. Make space in the room and place a piece of paper with the word masculine on one side and feminine in the middle. Discuss these terms with the young people and explain that they must choose whether the images on the powerpoint are masculine or feminine. Discuss why the young people labelled them as being masculine or feminine.

Middle bit...

Ask the group who is ‘man’ enough to go into the box. On the outside of the box invite the group to use marker pens to write down all of the things that they think keep men in a box.Invite members to read out to the person in the box what they have written on the outside. Ask the person in the box if they relate to any of these things.

Here are some prompts:

  • not expressing your emotions
  • not showing weakness
  • being powerful and in control
  • viewing women as objects/property
  • being fit and sporty
  • don't need help to make decisions

Now give each member a sheet of paper and ask them to write down one thing that they think will help the person inside to break out of the 'man box' (without using any physical force). Remember the box is a metaphor, we're not trying to escape from a real box, but the box we can't see that has a negative effect. One by one ask each person to read out their suggestion and tape it onto the box.

Ask the person inside the box, which of the suggestions they would be willing to try first. In what way would group members be able to help our 'man in the box' break out of the box without using any force or aggression.

Working together, everyone should pick a safe part of the man's body and with his consent, count to three and quickly lift him out of the box and gently place him down.

If you have young women, or non-binary group members it's important to tease out their perceptions of masculinity. For example, most violence against women is committed by men. Women that get involved in knife crime often say that they are trying to behave like males, to act tough and protect themselves from abuse by men. Mothers and females in families and communities often reinforce the stereotypes that keep people in the 'man box'. We all need to work together to tackle these issues.

End by...

Play the Imagine a Man podcast by Royston Youth Action. Ask the group what they think positive masculinity is. How can boys/men exhibit positive masculinity? How can this help them break free from the box?

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