Master of None & Advocates for Youth

August 23, 2017

AndACTION partnered with Advocates for Youth to create a pop culture-themed lesson plan based on a scene from “Master of None,” an Emmy Award-winning series that is popular with youth. The lesson plan, called “Trust It or Trash It,” trains students on how to assess whether information and resources about various topics – including sexual health – provide reliable and accurate information.

Photo Credit: Netflix

About the Series:

“Master of None” (S1, S2) follows comedian Aziz Ansari (as lead character Dev Patel) through first dates, friendships, career frustrations and more in New York City. The award-winning Netflix show is a candid portrayal of the search for companionship and the pitfalls that can occur along the way. Apart from garnering critical acclaim for its nuanced depiction of immigrant families, women, and the LGBTQ community, “Master of None” has also developed a cult following among teens, allowing it to function as a means for nonprofits to connect with young people.

Strategic Aims:

  • Spotlight a problem. During the 2016 presidential election, fake news surfaced as an issue that permeated social media feeds and TV screens. Individuals with low media literacy skills were especially susceptible to misinformation. The pilot episode of “Master of None” touches on the tribulations of seeking accurate info when a condom breaks during a sex scene between Dev and Rachel, the two main characters. They check the internet for answers, but find that different sources have dissimilar information. This storyline can be used as a jumping off point to reach youth with characters they find fun and relatable.
  • Combat stigmas with stories. By calling upon a common situation depicted in a popular television series, organizations can use plotlines like Dev and Rachel’s to reduce shame and increase information about seeking out contraceptive options like Plan B just as Dev and Rachel did.

What We Did:

Activity: Lesson Plan and Twitter Chat.

The lesson plan AndACTION and Advocates for Youth created can be used to spark discussions with young people about where to find accurate information and what characteristics make a source reliable. To engage supporters on social media and serve as a platform to share this resource, we co-organized a Twitter chat to answer questions about the curriculum and let organizations know that it’s freely available for their use.

Background:

Advocates for Youth promotes policies and programs that deliver honest information about sexual health. As one of the few organizations focused solely on destigmatizing adolescent sexual development, Advocates for Youth is dedicated to shifting this paradigm and empowering young people. By developing a curriculum that encourages participants to explore a real-life scenario, the organization leverages “Master of None” as a more relatable tool to connect with youth.

“Master of None” doesn’t shy away from the not-so-pretty parts of dating. Whether it’s an awkward first encounter or a sex snafu, the show normalizes people who do not always “have it all together.” The “Trust It or Trash It” lesson plan can be used to promote resources that provide accurate answers to questions about sexual health for youth in a tailored, more impactful way.

Results:

The Twitter chat reached over 160,000 people and ignited discussions on social media about the perils of misinformation online and in the media. During the chat, we asked questions such as “What are negative outcomes of not having access to reliable information?” and “Why is it important for young people to learn to seek valid info online?” We also shared resources like Nieman Lab’s report on what misinformation might look like in the future.

If you’re interested in implementing an activism campaign at your organization, we’re here to help. Thanks to our generous donors, AndACTION can assist philanthropic, nonprofit and other social good organizations in arranging Twitter chats, film screenings, pop culture pivots and many other meaningful activities to spark change. Our services are free of charge. For more information and support, please email us at info@andaction.org.