Warm-up: What is a norm?
Analyzing the Reporting: Watching Flamenco Queer, a 22-minute documentary published in The New Yorker, and responding to comprehension and discussion questions.
1. Creative Expression: Creating a work of art to call attention to a harmful or constricting norm in your community.
2. Reflective Writing: In the form of a brief reflective writing activity, consider your own identity and expression. What impact have gender or social norms had on you?
3. Research and Presentation: Who are the queer changemakers in your own community?
Students will be able to...
- Examine the central ideas of a film challenging social and gender norms in/through flamenco
- Evaluate how art can be a tool for social change
- Use visual art, writing, and research skills to connect the story to their own lives and communities
Take a moment to answer the following questions:
- What is a norm?
- What are some examples of norms in your community?
- When can norms be helpful? When can they be harmful?
Introducing the Lesson:
The film Flamenco Queer shares the story of Manuel Liñán, an award-winning flamenco artist who uses dance to challenge constricting social and gender conventions. Manuel, a queer man, rejects traditional flamenco norms and embraces fluid gender expressions. In this film, we follow Manuel as he directs, choreographs, and performs in his show Viva! We will explore how Liñán uses dance as a form of expectation-defying self-expression, and as a tool for social change in his community.
Some useful vocabulary for this lesson:
Analyzing the Reporting:
Watch the video, then respond to the comprehension and discussion questions.
- In what ways does Liñán say dancing flamenco has helped him?
- What gender norms does Liñán say he is breaking, and why?
- What does Liñán say he hopes to accomplish with his show?
- How does Liñán say he uses flamenco to create change in his community?
- What moments, phrases, or ideas from the film stood out to you? Why?
- Liñán says that “society is uncomfortable if you do not fit into a particular circle.” What do you think he means by that?
- What do you think are the possibilities and the limitations of art as a tool for challenging social norms?
- Liñán challenges gender and cultural norms through dance.
- What are some other ways in which you have seen people successfully challenge gender norms? Try to think of specific examples.
- What are some ways in which you could challenge gender norms yourself, or make it safer and easier for others to challenge gender norms?
- Has this film challenged, expanded, or reinforced any of your own ideas about gender expression? If so, how?
Creative expression: The film Flamenco Queer shows how you can use art as a tool to challenge harmful social and gender norms, while envisioning liberation from them. What is a harmful social, cultural, or gender norm in your community, and what would life be like if more people challenged it? Once you have identified a norm you would like to challenge, create a piece of artwork that draws attention to, challenges, or critiques it. You can do that by directly addressing the harmful norm, or by creating art that simply defies the norm. You can draw, paint, or create a graphic visualization, or write a song, poem, or short story. Consider the following:
- What kind of change would you like your art to inspire?
- What text or images will effectively communicate your message?
Reflective writing: In the form of a brief reflective writing activity, consider your own identity and expression. What impact have gender or social norms had on you? Like Manuel, are there any rigid gender or social norms that you reject? Write a one page response. Address the following question in your paper:
- Why is this gender norm harmful?
- How can you begin to tackle the way this harmful gender norm is sustained and reproduced in your daily life?
Research and presentation: Who are the queer changemakers in your community? Do some research and identify a person or organization that is challenging gender norms and/or making it easier for others to challenge gender norms in your town, state, or country. If possible, reach out and interview this person or a representative of the organization. Put together a short presentation to share with the class:
- Who is the changemaker you identified?
- What gender norms are they challenging, and why?
- How are they challenging those norms, or making it easier for others to do so?
- How might you or other students be able to support their work, or replicate it in your own lives?
Common Core Standards:
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
If you are looking for more lessons and resources related to gender norms and LGBTQIA+ rights, explore these options:
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