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Middle School: Gender Roles

Hostility towards women, adherence to traditional gender role norms, and hyper-masculinity are all risk factors for committing sexual violence. If we want to raise a generation free from sexual violence, we have to start by expanding our ideas around gender, and showing our children that there is no such thing as “boy stuff” and “girl stuff”.

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Woke Feminist Men: Engaging Black Men and Boys on Sexual Violence Activism

In American classrooms, where black children are never granted the luxury of being thinkers, brainy dreamers and nerdy eccentrics, invulnerability becomes their default mode and safe space; protective armor from the criminalizing gaze of school police, administrators and teachers.  Inundated with racist pop culture images of violent black masculinity and hyper-sexualized black femininity, black boys in particular often struggle to define manhood in ways that aren’t based on hardness and controlling black girls and women. Black male feminist allies like Kevin Powell, Byron Hurt and Mark Anthony Neal have long championed linking anti-violence work on sexual assault, intimate partner violence and misogynoir with civil rights and social justice activism.  Powell calls for a progressive men’s movement to deprogram men and boys.  Yet, making sexual violence relevant to young men of color is hampered by legacies of anti-feminist “gender warfare”, epitomized by scorched earth attacks against forerunning womanist/feminists like Alice Walker, Michele Wallace and bell hooks. As a result, it is a persistent challenge to connect young black men to this work in their schools, communities and everyday lives.

We should all be feminists

We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much ... to be successful, but not too successful, or they'll threaten men, says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world — of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.

Bring on the female superheroes!

Why is it so hard to find female superhero merchandise? In this passionate, sparkling talk, media studies scholar (and father of a Star Wars-obsessed daughter) Christopher Bell addresses the alarming lack of female superheroes in the toys and products marketed to kids — and what it means for how we teach them about the world.

How movies teach manhood

When Colin Stokes' 3-year-old son caught a glimpse of "Star Wars," he was instantly obsessed. But what messages did he absorb from the sci-fi classic? Stokes asks for more movies that send positive messages to boys: that cooperation is heroic, and respecting women is as manly as defeating the villain.

A call to men

At TEDWomen, Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don't "act like a man." Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: Break free of the "man box."

To raise brave girls, encourage adventure

Gutsy girls skateboard, climb trees, clamber around, fall down, scrape their knees, get right back up — and grow up to be brave women. Learn how to spark a little productive risk-taking and raise confident girls with stories and advice from firefighter, paraglider and all-around adventurer Caroline Paul.

How Do You Raise A Feminist Daughter?

A few years ago, Chimamanda Adichie received a message from a childhood friend asking for advice: She wanted to know how to raise her newborn daughter to be a feminist. For Adichie — a best-selling author who has also made a name for herself as a leading feminist voice — the question was a bit daunting, but she wrote a long letter back to her friend. Now, that letter has been published as a book. It's called Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, and it talks about everything from how to choose toys to teaching self-reliance to challenging traditional gender roles.

Young men preventing sexual assault

When it comes to crimes like rape and sexual assault, the focus is shifting from prosecution and punishment to prevention. That means finding the cause of the problem and tackling it early on.

Meet the 13-Year-Old Girls Changing the Sexual Consent Conversation

Most parents who ask their kids about their middle school projects probably get an earful on dioramas of the planetary system or poster boards on Charlemagne―but not Tessa Hill's or Lia Valente's parents. Instead, they learned about how their 13-year-old daughters were busy making a documentary about rape culture for an eighth grade assignment.

The Healthy Sex Talk: Teaching Kids Consent, Ages 1-21

Consent is everything! Here are some helpful tips--a LOT of them-- for kids ages 1-21! Check it out...

How to parent against rape culture (for one thing, start young)

In the news, we’ve recently been bombarded with outrageous examples of male dominance, sexual control and coercion, and the objectification of women in very public forums. For example, a fraternity was recently suspended in Virginia after hanging a sign off their front porch that read, “Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time.”

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