WITH YOU*TH

Planet Without Gender

BACKGROUND

The intention behind the technique “Planet Without Gender” is dealing with one’s own gender identity and that of other people and recognizing stereotypes, privileges, disadvantages, and advantages as well as discrimination. The model for it was a technique from Verein Amazone1 which was adapted as part of the WITH YOU*TH project.

“Planet Without Gender” is based on the deconstructivist-feminist approaches and promotes reflection on gender as an often unquestioned category. The participants are asked to explain gender as precisely as possible. This sometimes proves to be more difficult and complex than it initially appeared and shows how diverse as well as deeply anchored gender is in society and which areas of life it affects, or rather, dominates. Without proper guidance, the technique runs the risk of getting stuck in binary ideas of gender. This can either be prevented by choosing the questions mindfully or in the subsequent discussion. The abstract nature of this task can help think beyond real, social conditions and identify various factors that influence gender more clearly.


  1. Merz, Veronika (2001): Salto, Rolle, Pflicht und Kür. Materialien zur Schlüsselqualifikation Genderkompetenz in der Erwachsenenbildung. Gender Manual II. Zürich: Verlag Pestalozzianum; adaptiert durch den Verein Amazone im Rahmen des Projektes mach es gleich: gender & schule; adaptiert im Rahmen des Projekts WITH YOU*TH. ↩︎

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Group Size

The exercise is best suited for groups of 3 to 20 people as there should be enough time to discuss and reflect. The activity works for both groups: with or without prior knowledge.

Duration

Materials

STRUCTURE AND INSTRUCTIONS

The exercise takes place in three steps: Introduction, small group or individual work, and joint discussion.

For example, you can open the activity like this:

“You meet a person from another planet on which there are no genders. You have a lot of questions for this person, of course, and they have quite some for you, too. Try to create a little presentation for this person so that they can better imagine how people of a certain gender live on our planet. Keep in mind that this person neither knows what gender is nor they know the terms that have to do with it such as the words ‘man’ or ‘woman’.”

For orientation purposes, the key questions can either be written down or handed out on slips of paper. It makes sense to use some of the questions suggested here unless you have a lot of time and can work more openly. In addition, it can be helpful for the participants to design posters in which case the exercise takes a little longer.

Possible questions:

After the small groups or individuals have collected answers and prepared their presentations, everyone comes together in the whole group and results are presented.

Note: It can be fun to carry out the discussion as role play, where the alien from the other planet meets human beings from earth, and the roles are played by participants.

DISCUSSION

In a discussion following presentations, it is important to take up and reflect on any stereotypical statements. It is crucial to ensure that gender is not naturalized in a discussion and that there is space for trans and genderqueer identities. Knowledge of queer-feminist gender discourses is therefore essential on the part of the trainers.

Apart from that, possible discussion questions are:

*Trans stands for transgender. Transgender is a term for people whose gender and identity do not correspond with gender assigned to them at birth and that have been perpetuated by language, family, and social interactions. Gender is one’s identity which does not have to depend on one’s sex or correspond to it in any way. Rather, it describes the inner experience of one’s identity. more…

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