This was our first event this year, and we decided to start out with a small activity aimed for younger ISY students so that we could let them know about our club and talk to them about important topics like gender stereotypes which we thought were more prevalent during their ages. With the help of G5 teacher, Ms. Von Zastrow, we were able to arrange a meeting with 5th graders on the 18th of February where all Girl-up members interacted with the students and held interesting discussions.
We showed them three short videos in the main meeting room, each centering around gender stereotypes. Next, we divided all the participants into breakout rooms where Girl Up members then held conversations with the students about the video and shared with them about their own experiences with gender stereotypes. One fifth-grader talked about how he liked to cook, but his father was unsupportive of his interest because of the ingrained idea that girls were supposed to do such household activities. Some girls talked about how often they were made fun of for playing video games, since that was a thing that boys were supposed to do.
It was a wonderful opportunity for all participants to look at their own lives and actively notice how they were affected by such stereotypes and how subtle they can often be. One of the three videos was about an interview where people were asked to perform an action “like a girl”. Before showing this video, we did a mock interview like this with the fifth graders themselves, where we asked them to show us what it means to “run like a girl”.
Surprisingly, all of the students ran as fast as they could unlike the people in the video who mockingly ran with loose limbs and complained about “messing their hair up”. Many girls also seemed offended upon watching the video and complained about why they were shown as weak and appearance-obsessed, which was the major topic of the discussion.
We ended the meeting with a story called “The Paper Bag Princess” which strayed away from the conventional ending of a girl and a boy falling in love and living happily ever after. Instead, in this story, the girl promptly recognized that it was not necessary to marry a boy and decided to live happily ever after by herself. Most students seemed to recognize this difference and commented on how they liked how strong, smart, and self-sufficient the princess was.
All students seemed to be very happy about this opportunity to meet and discuss these stereotypes, reflecting afterwards on how they felt somewhat freer to do what they wished regardless of their gender. All Girl-up members thought it was a successful session and were very happy with the way it all turned out.
Written by Girl Up
Published by Global