IoM featured

Images of Men – Let’s Talk a Bit About Gender

The Images of Men project is a part of M3: Man, Male, Masculine, the Goethe Institute’s South-Asian regional project on the theme of Masculinities. The project looked to engage with children and young adults of both genders in India and Bangladesh to reflect on individual ideas of masculinity. In Kolkata (India), the project was realised in a collaboration between ThinkArts and Hamdasti. Tiffinbox was commissioned to design a toolkit – a collection of five activities and their vehicle – that would be taken to schools and NGOs based in Kolkata.

The aim of the project was to engage with teenagers of ages 14 to 18 to create dialogues from their own experiences within their community and daily life, about their notions and ideas about how they look at masculinity and gender through visual art forms and storytelling; to take them on a journey to think about various perspectives across genders and everyday stereotypes of the ‘Image of men’ which they personally encounter, and help them to reimagine the context of the masculine world around them through written responses and visual narratives.

“The project(s) will review, revisit, deconstruct and move towards re-defining what masculinity means today. What has changed in the meaning of the term masculinity and its manifestation in our society and our lives today? The cumulative results of the projects will take on to expand and reimagine what ‘being a man’ might mean in our lives and in our society at large. - Goethe Institut
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Images of Men logo is a man. A type based imagery with an exaggerated, bulked up, upper half carries subliminal messaging around the theme – shouldering the burden, or a misbalance of expectations, of having to carry off the ‘images’ projected by the society.

IoM activity 1 hidden personalities

Activity 1: Hidden personalities

Do we associate some professions specifically with women and some only with men? What do we assume about people from their appearance?

This activity aimed to explore these questions. It came with a set of four human drawings and five character cards. The participants were expected to cut and paste the drawings of humans they thought matched with the characters. And for the last one they were asked to imagine and draw!

IoM activity 2 design your own fabric

Activity 2: Design-your-own-fabric

Are symbols, patterns and colours also a victim of gender stereotypes?

Armed with five stamps – tiger, paisley, flower, mountain and rainbow – the young participants were asked to imagine and print their own patterns, such that the final piece can be worn by a person of any gender or age.

IoM activity 3 lights camera dialogue

Activity 3: Lights, camera, dialogue!

Are some jobs restricted to one gender?

A dinner table setting and dialogues being exchanged between a grandfather, grandmother and a granddaughter – the only thing missing was ‘who says what’. This activity looked into associations of jobs with specific genders, with an added angle of history. To end, this was meant to be enacted by a group of friends and presented as a skit.

IoM activity 4a cut consider paste
IoM activity 4b cut consider paste
IoM activity 4c cut consider paste

Activity 4: Cut, consider, paste

Are some products meant only for men and some for women? What changes when you give a product meant for a man to a woman?

In this activity, the children were asked to imagine that they work in an advertising agency. They must use their creativity to not just write new product names and slogans on ads with swapped products but also construct an image of an ideal home by cutting out parts from existing ads.

IoM activity 5 story time

Activity 5: Story time

A beginning of a story and 3 x DIY Dice = 216 new possible stories!

A sheet of paper began with a story about two siblings, Neetu and Virat, which the participants had to complete. To aid them in this task were three dice templates. One dice contained possible dialogues, the second had locations and third dice was about the general mood. So they had to cut them out, fold them, paste them and roll them! And then they could use these as cues to build the rest of the story.

IoM book 1
IoM book 2
IoM book 3
IoM book 4
IoM book 5

Images of Men pocket book

The pocket guide that accompanied the toolkit to explain all the steps on performing each activity.

Workshop photo

A glimpse into one of the workshops

Image from ThinkArts