Support Group Project
Guidelines: You have volunteered to mediate a support group for six participants who are dealing with some aspect of gender that has become a problem for them. Participants in your imaginary support group should have some difficulty in several problem areas mentioned in our modules.
- culture and history: describe cultural and historical influences on conceptions of gender and other forms of diversity
- gender differences: discuss research findings on gender differences and similarities in aggression, achievement, and communication
- relationships: identify gender issues in friendships and romantic relationships
- gender expectations: explain the impact of gender, gender role expectations, and gender stereotypes on work roles and physical and mental health
Problem Areas: Each member of your support group should express concerns that result from dealing with personal identity, as well as problems in relating to others. All of the members of your support group are dealing with different issues, but the common factor is that each is struggling with stereotypes—personal, familial, and social constructions of gender.
Problem areas should include physical health, work and career goals, interpersonal relationships (friends, intimates), mental and emotional health, and family dynamics. Your group may be a men’s group or a women’s group or a group of non-binary individuals, or you may want to create a mixed group. No matter what, all cases must present problems that are relevant to both men and women and/or non-binary individuals. Your group members should be diverse in at least the categories of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and age. You must define each participant’s problem concisely and develop a dialogue among the group members to address each participant’s key concerns.
Your goal in this assignment is to show that you comprehend a wide range of gender issues and how these issues limit and/or damage an individual’s life, work, and relationships. Consider both negative and positive stereotypes and outcomes.
1. biography: For each group member, write a mini-biography and state the individual’s problem related to gender identity. Refer to at least two of the problem areas above (two to four sentences). Here are two examples of biographies for members of a support group:
- Example 1: Mark is a 25-year-old male student who struggles with the masculinity expectations of his dad and peers and his choice of a career in dance. Stress shows in his depression and painful distance from his dad.
- Example 2: Marta is a 43-year-old single mother seeking a promotion at her law firm. She hears comments from family, friends, and colleagues that disparage her efforts to be a single mother and a high achiever. Marta’s stress shows in her lack of patience and use of sarcasm to hide her anger.
2. opening statement: Each member of your imagined group should make a simple opening statement to the other group members about why they are in the group and about their frustrations with gender expectations or gender identity. Without repeating the biographies, write opening statements for all the group members and a response from one or two members per statement with the perspective the responder might assume based on their own assigned problem.
- For example, a participant speaking from their experience might respond to another group member by saying, “I’ve lived my life to please everyone, and it never made me happy. I hope you find a way to be yourself, even when others disapprove.”
3. peer review articles and module resources: Locate a journal article relevant to each of the issues raised by the group members. Use the resources in your course modules and text to locate relevant supporting quotes for the responses received. You should have six articles and six quotes.
4. dialogue: Continue the dialogue among your group members in the form of a dramatic script as the participants continue to respond to each other’s problems. The discussion should aim for insight, respect, and understanding. Responses should not include sarcasm, spite, resentment, blame, or shame. Continue down the page, going back and forth among the group members.
- This is a short dialogue, and by the end of two to three pages, it should resolve with each participant having gained an insight that will be useful in helping to resolve the original problem. Statements by group members should offer insight to other members. This conversation does not need to be balanced. You can focus on only two or three of the group members’ problems if you prefer. You have six personalities to use to help build awareness among group members and give feedback from diverse experiences.
5. insight report summary: Your group has ended its first session. At the end of the dialogue, write a report that summarizes the final insights of the group members. Include at least one insight for each group member that demonstrates a realization about the original problem. The new awareness may come from you or from another group member. You should have a minimum of six insights.
Grading Rubric: This project is worth a maximum of 100 points. Your grade will be based on clarity and details specific to gender issues.