- Before facilitating this activity in the group, the facilitator should read this exercise carefully and, if possible, conduct this activity alone so that during the group session you can answer all queries.
- Try and gauge the emotion and sensitivity of the girls.
- Encourage all the girls to actively take part in all the exercises, but if someone seems uncomfortable do not force them.
- At the end of the session, discuss the importance of affection in a sexual relationship. Stress the need to practice safe sex, always using a condom.
- Emphasize to the girls that other men and women have sexual desires and needs similar to their own, and the importance of understanding the needs and desires of their partner (whether male or female).
- You may want to change the names and details of the stories based on your cultural context.
- Stories of Muna and Noor
- To improve awareness and understanding of how gender norms influence men and women to express their emotions, sexuality and experiences.
- Divide the girls into two groups.
- Ask all the girls to stand up and start walking around the room quietly. Ask them to pay attention to their body. In between, ask them to walk fast and then after some time tell them to slow down.
- Tell all the girls that while walking they should try to look in the eyes of the person walking towards them.
- After about five minutes of this activity ask the girls to line up into their groups and ask the groups to stand facing each other.
- Inform girls of one group that they will have to play the role of women and the girls in the other group that they will have to play the role of men.
- Now tell the girls that you are going to say some words and the groups should listen carefully and then enact the word (without saying anything) in the role that they are playing out (man or woman).
- Before saying the first word ask all the girls to close their eyes.
- Then one by one call out these words and let the girls enact them (with their eyes closed) before calling out the next word: Beauty, Strength, Anger, Athletic, Sexuality, Power.
- When the girls enact one word, ask them to open their eyes and observe the similarities and differences between the two groups – one group portraying women and the other men.
- Do the same exercise for each word. At the end, ask the groups to sit down facing each other and engage them in a discussion using the following questions.
- After part one, read out Muna and Noor’s stories (shown on Handout 17).
- Engage the girls in a discussion using the questions following the stories.
- Close by reminding girls that men and women have different ways and means to express their emotions and feelings. These differences are influenced by societal norms and gender constructs. Due to this, women have to curb their sexual desires and feelings and usually their sexual rights are not recognized.Women also have the right to express their sexual desires as well as have the right to say ‘No’ if she doesn’t want a sexual advance or to engage in sexual activity with her husband, lover or partner
- In the women’s group, which was the easiest and most difficult word to enact? Why?
- In the men’s group, which was the easiest and most difficult word to enact? Why?
- For which words did you find men and women enacting similar roles?
- For which words did you find men and women enacting differently?
- What do you think are the reasons for these differences in the way women and men enact their feelings etc?
- How do these similarities and differences relate to the way women and men are raised?
- How do these similarities and differences influence the intimate relationships between women and men?
- Do these stories seem realistic?
- Which story did you find closer to your life reality? Why?
- In these stories, in the sexual relationship between men and women, do you see any respect for each other? Do they care for each other’s feelings and emotions?
- What do you think they should have done differently?
- How important is love and respect in a sexual relationship?
- Has society established different norms for male and female sexuality? Do you feel this is okay?
- Do women have sexual desires and feelings? Are they different from men’s desires? How do women express their sexual desires?
- Do women discuss their sexual desires and pleasure with their partner? Why or why not?
- How important is it for women to have sexual pleasure in their relationship? How do we know when a woman has attained/achieved sexual pleasure (or an orgasm) What about a man?
- Does a woman have the right to say ‘no’ to a man if she doesn’t want to engage in either a sexual relationship or experience? Why or why not? What do you think would happen in such a situation?
- Does society accept it if a married man has relationships with other women?
- How do you think society will react if a married woman was to have relations with another man?
- What is the relationship between men’s alcohol use, sexual expression and violence against women?