Look Out for Lena-Grace Suda!
Advocating the important issues of body image and feminism, she captivated the audience with her powerful presentation during the preliminary round of the TEDxWasedaU Student Speaker Contest. Sharing her own introspective journey of overcoming body image, she emphasized the importance of consciousness. She stresses that individually we have potential to not let these standards manipulate the way we think about our bodies. Not only is she fully taking advantage of the opportunity to speak up about these issues, but her pure honesty and courage motivates those to make changes within themselves as well. With one small step at a time, she believes that society’s consensus has the power to change the standards of body image and to spread body positivity.
Meet Lena-Grace Suda, the winner of the TEDxWasedaU Student Speaker Contest and a sophomore at SILS. I had the honor of asking her a few questions to find out more about her and her presentation, but only enough to get you pumped up for the upcoming TEDxWasedaU event taking place on Saturday!
What made you apply for TEDxWasedaU?To be completely honest, I applied because I had nothing better to do. I had time on my hands and I thought, hey this looks like fun. My gut told me to go with it, so I did.
What is the main objective of your presentation?I want to emphasize that all of us can initiate change, no matter how big or small the outcome is. At the end of the day, it’s the intention that counts. By altering the way we view our own bodies, as well as others’ bodies, we can create an air of acceptance and appreciation. It’s safe to say that the way we see ourselves is heavily influenced by how we think others see us. If we can remove this filter, I believe we can start to understand just how vital it is to be entitled to your own body, instead of using it to please others.
What are some things, people or experiences that inspired your presentation?If you want to, you can be inspired by anything. A change in your perception of deeply rooted beliefs usually leads to an epiphany. Well, that was the case for me at least. I got the “eureka!” moment when I first stumbled upon Arvida Bystrom’s photo. Prior to that particular moment, I never saw an image that boldly displayed women and their body hair. That was when I was forced to question what I had been taught as a teenager. Everything about the photo was the antithesis of what I had been told to do and how to act like a “girl”. In a sense, without that image, this whole presentation wouldn’t have come to existence. Other people that inspired me to write my presentation include Tavi Gevinson and Kurt Cobain. Yes, Kurt Cobain, (as odd as that sounds) continues to inspire me in an ample amount of ways. There are a lot of experiences too. They’re mostly sly misogynistic remarks and incidents that occur in daily life, sadly. But thanks to that, I was able to do this so hooray!
Photo: Arvida Bystrom
What is something that we can look forward to at your presentation on Saturday?Ah let’s see… my nervousness and my jitteriness. The possibility of me falling off the stage and making a fool out of myself is another thing to look forward to. In all seriousness though, I hope people come in and walk out with a different mindset! Now if that happened, I’d be ecstatic. I guess I can say people can expect that to happen, albeit it’s a rather provocative statement.(You can get updates on Lena-Grace Suda’s presentation through the TEDxWasedaU Facebook page or through TEDxWasedaU’s official website!)
Are there any ways you think that we, as girls, can change these “female” standards?Plenty. It all starts with you. Being aware and being conscious of the way women should supposedly behave and look like is a start. It’s key to acknowledge the existence of such standards in order to bring about change. Once you know you do not have to be what others tell you to be, you’ll start to see standards as binary boxes that keep people under control. Just be skeptical, critical, and rational.