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