Examining socially created expectations for gender in children’s loot bags.
Raise awareness of gender norms while fostering your ability to continue talking about this in your community and peer groups.
Purchase or create two loot bags, one that would be typical for “boys” (for example, with images of superheroes or trucks on it) and one that would typical for “girls” (for example, princesses or unicorns).
Place items in the bag, some that align with the gender typically associated with the images on the bag (for example, a toy truck in the boys’ bag and a doll in the girls’ bag) and some that do not align with the gender typically associated with the images on the bag (for example, toy soldiers in the girls’ bag, a necklace in the boys’ bag).
Have participants pass the bags around the class. As each participant receives each bag, ask them what they expect to find in the bag.
Ask students to remove items from the bags and ask them if they are surprised by what they pulled out and why.
Review the items within the loot bags discussing what makes them specifically for “boys” or for “girls”.
Identify items instead which might replace the gendered items to make the loot bags inclusive for everyone.
Paper bags and markers
Small toys and treats
Create gender neutral loot bags and share with children from a neighbouring elementary school for their opinion.
Have teachers and principals get involved.
Adapted from: Ophea’s Campaign Messengers: Taking a Stand! 2016/17 school participant.