There’s nothing quite like an empowering, inspiring TED Talk to start the day, am I right? I used to watch or listen to one every weekday morning while eating breakfast and generally preparing my brain for the working day and it felt great to start each day informed and educated on a topic that I might previously never have heard of.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, TED is a nonprofit organisation that organises conferences across the world. It started as a way to spread ideas about technology, entertainment and design, and now covers everything from gender politics to Nintendo Wii hacks. Talks are given by scientists, professors, celebrities and activists, and are usually around 10-20 minutes in length.
Over the time I’ve been watching TED Talks, there are several that have stuck in my memory as fantastic, pro-feminist talks. The theme of these talks might not be feminism itself, but each is delivered by a strong, intelligent woman with an inspirational message. Here are five of my favourite bad-ass feminist talks…
Diana Nyad – Never, ever give up
I cannot think of a more inspirational sportswoman than Diana. If her talk about her repeated attempts to swim 100 miles from Cuba to Florida at the age of 64 don’t inspire and enthral you, then you then her documentary, The Other Shore, will. Warning: will make you feel the urge to run a marathon or similar after watching.
Cameron Russell – Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model
Model and activist Cameron Russell tells of how she won ‘the genetic lottery’ to make it to the covers of Vogue, ELLE and Harpers Bazaar, but also the importance of seeing fashion images for what they are – a construction designed to sell and not reality.
Amy Cuddy – Your body language shapes who you are
Possibly my favourite TED Talk of all time, Amy’s story and the simple tips she provides could have a huge effect on empowering men and women alike. This talk is a great example of what TED is all about – it’s educational, informative and emotive, with a strong message at the core. You’re guaranteed to practice a ‘power pose’ or two after watching this.
Manal al-Sharif – A Saudi woman who dared to drive
I can’t imagine living in a world where women are condemned for the simple everyday things I take for granted, like wearing trousers or driving a car, but it’s what Manal and her female friends face everyday in Saudi Arabia. In this talk Manal describes the fallout after she posted a video of herself driving on YouTube. This may not sound like much but it sparked a long-silenced push for women’s rights in the country and will leave you with both gratitude for your freedom and a desire to support activists like Manal.
Tracey Spicer – The lady stripped bare
Australian television journalist Tracey’s talk on being beholden to society’s beauty ideals as a woman is both funny and so on point. Her comment on what we could all be doing with our time if we weren’t spending hundreds of hours a year partaking in beauty rituals and they way she deconstructs the process she went through to prepare for her TED talk are food for thought.
Are you a fan of TED Talks? Let me know your favourite one in the comments.