Meet Norm, Norma, Sam, and Oscar, college students at BreakthroughU.
In this three-part narrative video series featuring puppets, you will follow Norm, Norma, Sam, and Oscar as they navigate their lives, identities, relationships, and activities on campus. The videos deal with gender-based discrimination and violence in the very tangible ways they occur in the lives of the characters. The characters deal with issues such as intimate partner violence (in heterosexual and LGBTQIA relationships), sexual harassment, non-consensual image sharing, discrimination against gender nonconforming and transgender people; hypermasculinity, and gender policing, and demonstrate ways in which you can take action to disrupt norms and challenge attitudes and behavior to bring about culture change.
These videos connect the dots between gender norms, the culture we learn and reinforce, and the individual and collective power we all have – because of our intersecting identities – to transform culture and create change in our communities. BreakthroughU explores intersectionality and culture change, concepts that we know (now, more than ever before) are central to bringing about a world free from discrimination and violence; a world where we can all live with dignity, equality, and justice.
And now it’s over to YOU. We created the BreakthroughU Action Toolkit to go along with the videos, and there is something in here for everybody. It’s a guide for students, facilitators, organizations, parents, and partners with ways you can use the BreakthroughU video series to navigate critical conversations around gender-based violence. You’ll find thought-provoking questions, interactive activities with simple instructions, and a menu of actions ready and waiting, so that you can go out into the world and challenge violence and discrimination in your community.
Oscar’s boyfriend is abusing him, and reaching out for help hasn’t been easy. Sometimes we feel powerless as a result of our overlapping identities – as though it is impossible to change our circumstances. But the parts of his identity that make it difficult for Oscar to seek help actually make him a powerful ally in other contexts. Through an intersectional view of privilege and oppression we can all access power in ways we never knew were possible!
Meet Norm and Norma. They’re two totally normal students at BreakthroughU who happen to hook up. Gender norms like “act like a lady” and “boys will be boys” may seem harmless, but watch how these attitudes about gender embolden Norm to share intimate photos of Norma – and how she is shamed for his decision to violate her consent. Not cool – and yet: it happens on campuses all the time.
Sam is genderfluid. In the current climate, this means that using the bathroom at BreakthroughU has become a political act for Sam, instead of an everyday act of nature. Of course, we need policies that protect the rights of gender nonconforming students like Sam, but to really challenge violence and discrimination we need to foster a culture that protects them, too. Check out the small ways in which we enact the cultural norms we’ve learned and how they often cause harm.
Remember, we want you to use these videos to create change on your campus. We know that you’re ready to take action and make gender-based violence unacceptable, and want to make sure you have all the tools and help that you need to get started.
It’s a guide for students, facilitators, organizations, parents, and partners with ways you can use the BreakthroughU video series to navigate critical conversations around gender-based violence. You’ll find thought-provoking questions, interactive activities with simple instructions, and a menu of actions ready and waiting, so that you can go out into the world and challenge violence and discrimination in your community.
Share your stories about these issues at THE G WORD.