We writers need to get in the habit of finding inspiration anywhere. And one of the many places I get inspiration is from TED Talks, particularly when I’m writing about topics from a feminist perspective. Here are 7 TED Talks I think all feminist writers should see.
Confessions of a bad feminist — Roxanne Gay
Writer Roxane Gay’s talk, “Confessions of a Bad Feminist,” is one of my favorite TED Talks of all time. If you’re a woman struggling to reconcile your feminist ideals with your love for ratchet hip-hop (raises hand) this TED talk will make you laugh, cry, and shout AMEN! But this talk is about so much more. This talk reminds us that while women should not obsess over following a set of rules that will prove that we are perfect feminists, the everyday choices we make can actually make a difference. Thus, we should be intentional and thoughtful in all we do.
Embrace your inner girl — Eve Ensler
I’ve long adopted the stance that we women should never stop being a girl. And this talk by Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler just adds fuel to my fire. Mixing storytelling and spoken word poetry, Ensler will have you declaring “I love being a girl!” by the end of this riveting speech.
We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Beyonce made Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech, “We should all be feminists” everybody’s favorite TED Talk when she sampled a portion of it in her hit song “***Flawless.” But this was one of my favorites long before the release of Beyonce’s self-titled album. Adichie’s explanation of what feminism is and why it’s needed is, well, flawless!
The danger of the single story — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Yes, Adichie makes the list twice because that’s just how awesome this feminist writer is. In this talk, Adichie discusses how hearing only a single story about a person, a group of people, a country or a culture not only leads to misunderstanding and misrepresentation but robs people of their power and dignity, too. The problem with stereotypes isn’t that they aren’t true, she says. It’s that they’re not complete.
Gloria Steinem and Salamishah Tillet
In an interview from the stage of a TEDxWomen event, feminist icon Gloria Steinem talks with writer and feminist activist Salamishah Tillet about aging, writing, stereotypes and, of course, the feminist movement. This TED Talk will always be special to me because Steinem’s comments on aging helped me understand that sometimes to become the woman we’re meant to be, we have to remember the girl we used to be.
A teen just trying to figure it out — Tavi Gevinson
Tavi Gevinson’s talk is one that you and all the girls in your life should watch. The founder of the feminist online magazine for teens, Rookie Mag, Gevinson first made a name for herself as a fashion blogger when she was only 12 years old. This talk, though geared toward teens, reminds us that when it comes to feminism and every part of life, we’re all just trying to “figure it out.”
Storytellers can change the world — Javacia Harris Bowser
And yes, I couldn’t compile this list without a bit of shameless self-promotion. My TED Talk “Storytellers can change the world” is all about how writing can become a feminist act when we use writing to share our stories and empower other women and girls to share theirs, too.
What are your favorite TED Talks?