To My Magnificent Son

A woman talks to her young son about some of things she hopes for him to know about masculinity, respect, sexuality, pleasure, and other related topics.

For all videos:

  • What did you see in the video?
  • What do you think this video was about?
  • What stood out to you most in this video?

For this video:

  • What did Maralis hope her son would grow up to learn?
  • How do parents often talk to their children about sex? Did this video fit the norm?

Materials needed: paper, pen

Step 1.

Create space for students to think about the messages they were given around sex, sexuality, gender, and relationships growing up.

  • Prompt by giving common examples of messages: “Suck it up, be a man,” “Boys don’t cry,” “You ___ like a girl,” or “Be lady-like,” etc.
  • Ask: What was the tone of those messages? Did these messages make you feel knowledgeable, respected, or supported?

Regardless of the answer to these questions, students are going to write a letter either to their younger self, or to a younger family member. Make sure everyone has enough paper and pens.

Step 2.

Provide the following writing prompt:

Pretend for a moment that you are able to send a letter to a younger version of yourself (or that you are with a young family member). With years of experience and education around sexual health behind you, what would you say to spread positive messages about sexual health and to make them feel knowledgeable, respected, and supported? Think about comforting words of advice or some thoughts you might have liked to hear at a younger age. Think about the messages in the video about sexual health. Be creative and honest.

Step 3.

Tell students: "After you have written your letter, choose your favorite line." Have the class form a circle and have each person read their favorite line to create a group letter to a future young person.

Materials needed: art supplies and random materials such as fabrics, buttons, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, sequins, feathers, etc.

Step 1.

Tell students that they have been grandfathered in as Board Members of the Positive Masculinity Academy and their jobs will be to look for and nominate people on our campus who display great qualities of a role model to young people and who especially exhibit behaviors that do not conform to gender norms (i.e. an athletic coach who respects all athletes and never uses demeaning, sexist language; a history teacher who includes/highlights female representation in their lectures; a music director who encourages girls to play the tuba and drums; a theater teacher who appoints a male to be the costume designer and a female to be the stage/lighting director).

[Note: if your class cannot come up with examples, lead a discussion on why that may be the case and ask for examples of what that behavior could look like.]

Step 2.

Tell them that awards will be given to winners every other Monday and will be announced in the PA morning segment throughout the length of their health course.

Step 3.

In order to prepare for these awards, they must first work together to create the actual awards that will be gifted. Allow them to choose a partner to create two to three awards together. Encourage them to bring random materials from home to use as supplies. Keep all supplies organized in small containers/baskets in a specific location in the room. Give them the dimension ranges of the awards that need to be created. Tell them to be as creative/silly as possible.

Step 4.

Help students connect with administrators to deliver their award announcements over the PA.

Materials needed: random containers from home (lotion bottles, spray bottles, beverage containers, cleaning bottles, perfume bottles, etc.)

Step 1.

Tell students to think of typical behaviors in people that they wish to eliminate because they often cause hurt, harm, or humiliation to themselves and others.

Step 2.

Tell them that they will create their own solution/product to get rid of this behavior. They must look for their own container (lotion pump, compact powder, bottle, aluminum can, aerosol spray, etc.) and design a clever label to cover it with. The label must have a catchy title for their product as well as instructions on how to use it. Student will also create a 30-second infomercial that explains what the product is, what it’s called, what behavior it will combat, how that behavior hurts others/the damaging repercussions of the behavior you are eliminating, instructions of use, and the price. [Note: you can invite them to be satirical.]

Step 3.

Students will take turns presenting their actual product infomercial style. Collect all student containers and put them on display in a prominent area in school for students and staff to see.

    LAUSD Health Standards

  • HS.2.G.14, HS.2.G.17, HS.4.G.22, HS.5.G.27,
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