If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve heard of TED given it’s one of theHF’s favorite communities of creativity. We’re sold on the power of the TED community to implement world-changing ideas. That’s why TheHF supports the TED organization, the TED Fellows program, and TED conferences including the recent TEDWomen in San Francisco. TED’s post-conference survey asked for our top three ideas that “stuck” from TEDWomen, and here are mine:
IDEA #1: Time is White
My most jaw-dropping realization came from Brittney Cooper’s daring assertion about Time the elusive measure of moments we arbitrarily divide into minutes, hours, and years. Cooper says Time has a racial identity, and it’s white. I have experienced different Time in different cultures (“island time” does not consist of New York minutes), but I never thought about how white people dominate ideas about Time. Some cultures find it rude to show up at the appointed hour, but have you noticed that White Time tends to define what it is to be “late?” White Time means telling oppressed people that they need to be more patient as they wait for the law and society to grant full equality and dignity. It’s a form of oppression I never considered, despite my efforts to notice cultural oppression, like disapproval of black women’s natural hair, Muslim women’s hijab, and Black American diversion from so-called standard (White) speech.
IDEA #2: Women Can’t Wait For Political Power
Women worldwide need the power to govern and determine public policy or else social progress and gender equity will be stalled everywhere. If we proceed at the current pace, it will take a century for enough women to be in positions of power to create policies that work better for everyone. These ideas were writ large in Sandi Toksvig’s talk on the creation of The Women’s Equality Party in the United Kingdom and Halla Tomasdottir’s account of her run for the presidency of Iceland. We can’t afford to wait hundreds of years for parity.
IDEA #3: Intimate Justice Means Uncomfortably Honest Talk About Sex (Gulp, blush.)
Peggy Orenstein served up a shocker: Sexually active girls rate their experiences based on their partner’s pleasure, not their own. Peggy says frank talk about sex is useless if we don’t tell the whole truth: Female pleasure is not prioritized and that is not fair. Why should we care about that, when there are so many more “important” issues? Because sexual expression, one of the most basic aspects of being in a human body, is currently creating feelings of inferiority and inadequacy among females. This affects girls’ ability to feel deserving, equal, and worthy in other areas of their lives.
Some of these talks are already online – check them out yourself! They’re free to you, but others are paying, so please join us in supporting TED and sharing the ideas you think are worth spreading.
PS - Don’t miss Kimberlé Crenshaw’s TEDWomen talk on intersectionality. I didn’t name that as a top 3 “sticker” because that concept stuck long ago and you can see it in the work of theHF.