5 TED Talks That Will Make You Think About Feminism

Too busy doing university work to peruse those feminist works which you feel you “should” read?

Here are a selection of TED talks by influential figures of our time to provide some food for thought and fuel for action too.

1.     Sheryl Sandberg: Why We have too few Women Leaders

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently published a book Lean in: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, a work which caused waves around the world. She shares her personal stories, uses stark research to shine a light on uncomfortable gender differences and offers practical advice to help women achieve their goals. The book was a result of a TED Talk in 2010 which exposed the way women are held back, and the way we hold ourselves back.

2.     Laura Bates: Everyday Sexism

After experiencing a series of escalating sexist incidents, Laura Bates started the Everyday Sexism Project, encouraging both men and women to share their experiences of sexism. After an astounding response from the wide range of stories that came pouring in from all over the world, the project quickly became one of the biggest social media success stories of the internet. Cosmopolitan called it a “game-changing book, a must-read for every woman.” Watch Laura Bates explain her project:

3.     Clementine Ford: Your Vagina is not a Car

Clementine Ford is not afraid to make men and women feel uncomfortable in this talk. She believes that “Rape culture” exists everywhere; she highlights the danger not only of rape cases which are overt, but the mind set which excuses men who believe that women forfeit their right to sexual agency and sovereignty if they flirt with a man when drunk on a night out. It's disgusting to think that some men think that they have entitlement to a woman’s body. Clementine Ford wants to make the world realise that social attitudes and rape culture are inexplicably tied. Hear her engrossing argument here:

4.     Michael Kimmel: Why Gender Equality Is Good for Everyone

This talk is ridiculously refreshing. Michael Kimmel is a middle-aged and middle-class sociologist not only supporting feminism, but also emphasising how important it is for both sexes to fight for gender equality for the benefit of all. He realises that privilege is invisible to those who have it. Privilege, he argues, is to be a man in this world. Preach!

5.     Jean Kilbourne: The Dangerous Way Ads see Women

Activist and cultural theorist Jean Kilbourne was the first person, she claims, to research into the image of women in advertising over 50 years ago. She has published revelatory books, including Can’t Buy My Love, which exposes how advertising conditions young girls to expect a perfection which can never really be achieved. Here, she offers us 15 minutes of her wisdom to make us rethink the influence of advertising which is an omnipresent and powerful force in our everyday life.