What Is It?
Every one of us has multiple, nuanced identities that help form our lives. Gender, race, ethnicity, age, education, among other identities intersect and interact to shape who we are and what challenges and contradictions we confront.
As an introduction to a broader analysis of power, the Power Flower illustrates our social identities and the ways in which we experience power, privilege, and oppression in society in intersecting ways.
How Is It Used?
Each petal of the flower represents a category of our social identity (for example, gender, race, and class). Each petal contains an inner section and an outer section. The outer section represents the dominant (privileged) identity. The inner petal represents the non-dominant (marginalized) identity within the category.
Step One - Describe the flower
Each petal represents one category of identity, point out the specific categories that you have chosen for the purpose of the exercise, and mention some of the others as well so they get the concept. The central part of the flower represents a person’s nationality. The inner petals indicate the individual’s specific identity e.g. sex: female; religion: Muslim, etc. The outer ones represent the specific identity of those in power, e.g. sex: male; religion: Catholic.
Step Two - Individual Work
Hand out pieces of paper with pre-drawn flowers on them to each person.
Ask everyone to work by themselves and write in the outer petals of their flowers
those dominant characteristics that were agreed on by the group for each respective
Have each person write their own identity for each petal/category on the flower’s
When finished, ask them to think about the following questions and jot down some of their ideas:
Keep In Mind
Be very careful about asking participants to fill in the petals. It may put those who don't want to identify, for whatever reason, on the spot. A variation may be to ask participants to look at the categories in the petals and make their own private list of categories they feel they fall into. No one needs to see if someone chooses not to fill out one of the petals. It is important to ensure that someone who is already feeling disempowered is not made to feel more so by an equity activity.