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Session 2: Man's Manner Manifests

This 15-minute activity can be used alongside other activities on these pages, or on its own, to continue conversations around 'toxic masculinity' and men's role in changing patriarchy.

Suitable for groups, in person or online.

In-person materials:

- note-taking materials
- large paper
- post-it sticky notes (optional)
- whiteboard or other shareable writing material

Online materials
- A prepared padlet with the human figure outline on it, ready to be shared with participants.

This clip is from Vincent Dance Theatre's Shut Down, which, alongside Virgin Territory, was devised with young performers to examine identity, masculinity, femininity, sex and sexuality, and digital harassment. The pieces in these resources are clips from a longer multi-screen dance theatre film installation: this is to say that some parts tell a story, some ask you to think, and all pieces are designed to evoke emotional responses. Participants should be encouraged to engage with these dynamic pieces on a combination of these levels.

These resources come with a content note, particularly around sexual harassment. If anyone who engages with these materials needs support they can do so via Wellbeing Services here.

The spoken word was developed and written by Eben Roddis through Audio Active Brighton

  1. Watch the above video - participants should try to write down immediate responses: what was meaningful, evocative, interesting, exciting, and/or striking in the work just witnessed? (Remember that there is no right or wrong way to respond!). (Online - the session leader can share their screen to show the video).
  2. Discussion: open up the discussion to participants' immediate responses. The session leader may wish to build on the discussions from Session 1Link opens in a new window on 'toxic masculinity'. What is this video about? What challenges does it make? Do you agree with its message?
  3. Activity: In-person - Session leader to draw a person-outline on a large piece of paper or a whiteboard, perhaps around a volunteer. Participants then are invited to add words and phrases about how masculinity is presented to the outside world (in conversations, online, what does a 'man' say or do?) outside of the person-outline drawing; participants are also invited to add words or phrases about how this might be different in private inside the line - who is a 'man' inside? What might the men in the film clip actually feel? These ideas might be written on post-it notes or directly on the drawing depending on resources.
    Online - The session leader shares a padlet, or an online whiteboard with an outline of a person and replicates the above using the shared padlet resource. Session leaders may wish to use the person-outline image at the bottom of the page to start off. The activity commences as above.
  4. Feedback: Session leader reads and responds to some of the responses to the above task - this may lead to a discussion about where the 'lines' are? What can you do to make inside and outside match up in yourself and others? How do these differences play into 'Active Bystander' issues?
    Note: the session leader may wish to keep the annotated person-outline or padlet somewhere safe, and revisit it in Session 3

Transcript: Man’s Manner Manifests from SHUT DOWN on Film (2017)

EBEN: Man’s manner manifests

into swift slick beats of the chest

man’s manner manifests

into manifestos

of ghettos and wrecked homes

and a facade man can’t let go

see man’s manner

is not naturally that slammed hammer

or face paint of hood hoodies and bandanas

well why’s man like that

the problem goes right back

to when they say that every boy

should strive for man hood

where weakness is a bad look

and you must laugh at the brother who ran shook

all those moist yutes man ain’t got nothing to say to them

cos you gotta have more balls than a football stadium

teenage years come and man’s manners gotta be manic

leave home no note tills man’s fam start to panic

bring the world to its knees like the titanic

then man’s manner becomes unmanageable

as he views women as pieces of meat as if he’s a cannibal

but then man’s maniac manner

is hit with reality’s back hander

hits twenty

drinks and drugs there’s plenty

feels young again like Peter Pan and Wendy

but he’s scared

his future is shrouded in doubt

so he smokes, drinks gets with girls but is really just blocking it out

releases anger in bar fights

leaving faces battered and bruised in the half light

but those wounds inflicted are how he feels inside on those dark nights

as he keeps wondering if he chose his path right

then like that his 20s are out of sight

man buckles up and knuckles down

the hustle’s up and for some the 9 to 5 commute bustle comes round

straps on a suit becomes the gentleman

that’s those who make it

others are trapped in a workforce that remains faceless

to an employer that leaves them virtually payless but

man’s gotta provide so can’t say shit

man’s role as a breadwinner

is making him work overtime to rustle up dinner

his lack of success leaves him emasculated

the teenage head of hot air is long deflated

neither path makes man happier than he was before

but he’s got kids on the way can’t be reckless no more

must provide

must provide

this pressure is the thorn in his side

as the 24/7 masculine mask

leaves any worries trapped in the dark

where man’s manner manifests

but it’s not man’s natural manner that leaves him depressed.

It’s the feeling of never being able to have a break

It’s the feeling of not being able to talk mental health to your closest mates

and it’s a feeling man can’t shake...

so why’s man like this

why does he not dare cry even behind the shelter of eye lids

so why’s man like this

can’t speak out so he’s playing out the Jekyll and Hyde bit

why’s man like this


why am I like this...

Mon 24 Jan 2022, 14:22