A Self-fulfilling Prophecy, Otherwise Entitled the Sue Minter Chapter.

So, here we are. The end of filming. The beginning of the next stage of change. We are so grateful to all the people who gave us their time to help support the change we are hoping to make. We have done so many great interviews, with so many different perspectives, it is hard to narrow it down to one to focus on. But I will try.

This past week before last, we had the great privilege to interview one of the leaders of Vermont politics, Sue Minter. Since Ms. Minter is obviously a government expert, I went into the interview expecting a wealth of information and experience regarding how gender bias shapes Vermont politics. What we received in the end was not only that, but a picture of how the vast issue of gender bias is deeply rooted in the concept of leadership, ability, and opportunity.

Sue Minter told us how she had seen the effects of gender bias in several different parts of the World, and how in many cases people were resigned to this unacceptable state of affairs where one gender dominates the other. Because they do not think things can  be different. Since in many places (INCLUDING AMERICA!!) see their leadership roles, such as political or executive jobs, the cannot see themselves in those places either.

Ms. Minter used a very important phrase in her interview, which is “role model.” From birth, we look to respected people for help, guidance, and demonstration of what is possible. But what if we had no one to turn to? No one to show us the way forward or help us to speak our minds? Well, that’s what’s happening to women right now, all over the country, and very strongly in Vermont. As most of you probably know, we have only had one female governor of Vermont, Madeleine Kunin. One. Out of eighty-two. This is a disgraceful display of the gender bias that is built into our society.

This is what I would view as a self fulfilling prophecy. Women are underrepresented, and are told by society that they cannot be leaders. In fact, Ms. Minter informed us that in her experience, people are much more likely to elect a woman as a representative than a governor or other executive position. This means in other words than society likes telling women what to say, not the other way around. And since women are unrepresented in this way, and they have a limited number of role models to look up to, and therefore fewer aspirations and reasons for motivation to set things right, they are less likely to create change, less likely to become a role model, and less likely to give women more representation in society. Thus, gender bias is increased, as many people do not see women as equal to men because they seem to play a lesser part in society. And gander bias is more rampant than ever.

Ms. Minter also stressed the need for community activism and leadership. This is especially important  in a time when legislation regarding gender is going to be hard to pass, given that we have an openly biased person in an office which can veto bills. Thus, we must gather together in communities, big and large, and demand change.  This need for change applies to the government, but it is also asking every single person to reflect on their views and actions, and strive to change our unfair social norms through awareness. These are dark times for America. We have come a long way, but we have so much farther to go. WE MUST NOT BE COMPLACENT. There is work to be done. In the past few months, we have gone backward. But at the same time, many of those who have been complacent are now active. Like me. In every dark moment, there will be those who strive for light. These people give me faith in humanity.

Love. Peace. Equality.

-Theo

 

 

Theo Wells-Spackman

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