Working for Change 195
Activity: Images of women in popular culture
If people understand how harmful ideas about sexuality and
gender roles are learned, they can begin to think about how
to change those ideas. This activity will help people think
about how radio, movies, popular songs, and advertising
communicate ideas about gender roles.
1. Listen to some popular songs on the radio (record
them ahead of time if you can) or have members of
the group sing or act out the songs. Listen carefully to
the words of the songs. How are women and men being
described? Are these songs passing on ideas about women’s
roles and sexuality? Decide together whether each ‘gender’
message is harmful or helpful to women.
2. Divide into small groups. Give each group an advertisement cut
out of a magazine or newspaper, or copied from a billboard (pick advertisements
that have women in them). Ask each group to identify what the advertisements
say about women’s roles and sexuality. Then, bring everyone together again to say
what messages are being passed on in each advertisement. Then decide as a group
whether the messages are harmful or helpful to women.
3. Discuss how messages about women are passed on by radio, songs, and
advertisements. How do these ideas influence us, our husbands, our children?
4. Identify ideas about women’s roles and sexuality that are important and helpful
to pass on. How can these ideas be communicated in advertisements, songs, and
movies? Ask small groups to draw an advertisement, or prepare a song or a skit
that teaches helpful and healthy ideas about women. Have each group present their
work to the others.
Activity: Identifying barriers to sexual health
It is important to identify the barriers to practicing safer sex. This activity helps show
some of the reasons why women may have trouble protecting themselves.
1. Begin by telling a story, like “Fátima’s story” (page 191). Talk about Fátima and
Emanuel as if they lived in your community.
2. Start a discussion about the importance of understanding the risks of sex by asking
questions like: Why didn’t Fátima protect herself from AIDS? What difficulties do
women like Fátima face if they try to practice safer
sex? Why do women find it hard to talk with
their partners about safer sex? What can
women do to convince their partners to
practice safer sex?
3. Talk about what can be done in your
community to help women like Fátima.
Discuss how you can help to overcome
barriers to safer sex in your community.
(For ideas about ways to work for safer
sex in your community, see page 280.)
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012