Tool "Heroes"

Language: English

The group explores the idea of the social construction of masculinity through role play and looking at fairy tales.

Time 60 minutes
Approximate number of participants 8-20
Age under 10
Date published 9 Dec 2011, 11:24


To reflect upon the social construction of masculinity


Flipchart paper
Small pieces of paper
Markers and pens
Clothes for dressing up (optional)


Draw an outline of a person on a piece of flipchart paper.

Step-by-step instructions

1. Divide the participants into 3 or 4 smaller groups and ask them to think of fairy tales they know in which the main characters is male.

2. Together they should pick one to act out. Ask them to prepare a short role play to present their story to the others. You could provide some old clothes so that they can prepare costumes. All groups present their short plays.

3. After all groups have presented their plays, ask everyone to shout out characteristics of the men in the plays. Write them all on the flipchart around the outline of the person.

4. Ask everyone to come to the flipchart and mark the characteristics that they like and those they don’t like.


Why do you like the characteristics that you have marked? Why don’t you like others?

Do boys and men in real life have much in common with the fairytale heroes?

How do people expect boys and men to be? Why?

What happens if they are different from that?

What can be the consequences of male heroic roles in fairy tales?

Do expectations upon men also affect women? How?

How can we influence and change this situation?


The group can come up with their own fairy tale based on the outcome of their discussion.

Attached files