Goal: To explore how our sense of self and gender are influenced by media
Time: 30 minutes
1. Ask students to bring a copy of a popular magazine or provide used magazines (Maxim, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Elle work well for this activity).
2. Ask students to trade magazines or randomly pass them out to the students as they enter the room.
3. At the beginning of class, tell students to pretend they are Martians visiting earth for the first time. The magazine they are holding is a good “reference” for learning about what men and women are supposed to act/be like in our culture.
4. As students look through their magazines, have them make a list of 20 items about the media’s portrayal of gender. Encourage them to find at least 10 items related to females and 10 items related to males.
5. Once they have collected their data, have an open discussion about the media’s portrayal of gender roles and how this might affect men and women’s self-concepts and self-esteems.