GELS in Action: DHSB


GELS In Action: DHSB Year 10 Boys Lead Successful Lesson on Sexism/Feminism



This case study focuses on the implementation of a lesson on sexism led by a feminism group at Devonport High School for Boys. During the summer of 2014, four Year 10 boys—with the facilitation of a class tutor—managed several activities and discussion topics, including gender roles in employment, media stereotypes in advertisements, and notions of masculinity.

For instance, the Year 8 boys were asked to consider what “Being a boy means…” resulting in the following responses:

  • Being a boy means you have to … Be tough/strong; Don’t show emotion; Be good at sports/active; brave; clever; be the bigger person (not better); do things for girls; have short hair; be in a social group; not hit girls; be manly; be aggressive

  • I don’t like it when boys say… Man up; Like a girl; Don’t be girlie/chicken; get in the kitchen; sexist jokes; rude/gross things; sexual jokes

  • I don’t like it when girls say… You’re gay; going to a boy’s school makes you gay; Man up; go away

  • I don’t like it if teachers/parents assume that… You’re sporty; you’re mean because you are male; you’re addicted to games; you like being outside; you’re dominant & should stand up to people; you’re lying; you’re always in trouble

  • A good boyfriend would be… A gentleman; buy things; kind & sensitive; good looking/handsome/hot; caring, sensitive; a unit; good personality; cool

  • A good girlfriend would be… Loyal; caring; hot/good looking/curvy; flexible/open minded/do anything; clever; not clingy/desperate; likes you

  • Is it possible to have a girl friend as opposed to a girlfriend? … Yes, you could get on just as well; yes, be friends with them before you get to the dating stage; yes my best friend is probably a girl

After the lesson, the Year 10 boys expressed their changed or developed opinions on sexism and feminism, saying that the session “made me realise how much everyday sexism is around & how it can affect people” and “made me think more about what I say regarding women and men which may be considered sexist.” The project may be developed to target older boys and expanded to other areas, due to the interest expressed by boys from other schools.