Bite-Sized Pieces and the Snapchat Syndrome

Thus far, we have created a survey that has been circulated around the school about perception of gender bias and gender roles to help us form a hypothesis about the state of gender equality in this community . This has been an excellent way to collect data and to observe larger trends that occur in our school.

We have observed that there are a shocking number of people that either do not think there is gender bias in our school, don’t know, or have never thought about it. More specifically, males were more likely to have overlooked gender bias than females, non-binary persons, or the “other” category in which genders like “dragon” or blank answers to the gender identity question are put. Also, more males than any other group have no opinion about the dress code of our school, or have never thought about it.  Other trends include females being more interested in language arts than men, who are in turn on the whole more interested in history than females, but in both categories science is most popular. Among non-binary persons, language arts were  most popular.

Teachers were more inclined to admit gender bias, among both students and teachers, but their answers regarding the consequences and origin of gender bias were widespread, as were feelings regarding the the attempts to counteract it and the morality of dress code.

I think that first and foremost we need to spread awareness about gender bias and the ways it can manifest itself, as well as ways to deal with it. This will hopefully help people recognize gender bias when it does happen, whether it comes from themselves or from others. Hopefully, this will help reduce gender bias.

Easier said than done. But I believe if we go about it in the right way, people will take it seriously enough to really listen to what we are saying. I believe we need to include the following:

  • An explanation of who we are and what we are doing
  • A visual representation
  • A concise explanation of gender
  • A definition of gender bias
  • Examples of this that are not blatantly obvious, including gender roles
  • An outline of the consequences of gender bias to the members of our community
  • Ways to counteract gender bias

I imagine our audience being both teachers and students, as it is clear from the student and teacher surveys that both groups are affected by gender bias.  The above could be done in many ways. We could use our documentary to educate people in this area, but a recurring factor in my mind is the teenage attention span. If we tried to put them through a 20 minute movie about gender bias, they would exhibit the Snapchat Syndrome, otherwise known as  “click here for an accurate representation of this reaction” and those that felt that way would not absorb our message. So, I am bringing up an idea we had a while ago in conversation with the chaps over at Breaking Binary (check out their website here )  which is a web series of short videos breaking down the information into bite-sized pieces. This would make this much needed knowledge easier for students especially to absorb.

My group will convene shortly to discuss which method we wish to use, but think this would be a workable way to make Vermont a safer place for everyone.

Theo Wells-Spackman

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