5 TED Talks on Gender You Must Watch

5 TED Talks on Gender You Must Watch

We fell into the world of TED Talks and are here to bring you some of the most insightful and interesting presentations surrounding gender. As a social construct, gender is a very complicated and nuanced topic. These experts, in their own specified fields, bring new perspective to our understanding of gender and so much more. Check out there five talks now!


1. Social media and the end of gender 

I think that social media is actually gonna to help us dismantle some of the silly and demeaning stereotypes that we see in media and advertising about gender

In this talk, Johanna Blakley discusses the way media monitors demographics and presumptions based on these audiences. Blakley has spent most of her adult life studying entertainment, the media, and its impact on our lives.

As social media takes over traditional media, it’s becoming harder for media companies to track a person’s taste online. As this shifts, the demographics of age, gender, and income will no longer make a difference in advertising to different audiences when it comes to media consumption.

Women are dominating the social media space. What impact will this have on our culture? Our media landscape is certainly going to change, and Blakley believes these advertising companies will start hiring more women to help advocate for and adequately sell to these consumers.


2. Why gender equality is good for everyone – men included

Making gender visible to men is the first step to engaging men to support gender equality.

Michael Kimmel brings a funny and clear perspective on men in the conversation of gender equality. He calls out white men for believing in reverse discrimination and reminding the audience that while these obstacles for engaging men are ridiculous, they can be very real.

Gender equality is beneficial for countries. Kimmel makes the case that this is true for companies based on studies – the happier the labor workforce and lower employee turnover are related to gender equality. He throws more data at the audience, reminding us that when men share housework and child care responsibilities with women, their children are happier and healthier. And men want this. There is so much substantial research out there that supports the reasons why gender equality is good for everyone, and Michael Kimmel is eager to tell you all about it.


3. A powerful poem about what it feels like to be transgender 

Tight roping between awkward boy and apologetic girl, and when I turned twelve the boy phase wasn’t deemed cute anymore.

Lee Mokobe shares a gripping poem that explores identity and his personal narrative of being transgender. The discussion of transition sheds light on gender identity issues and the challenges that many people going through transition deal with everyday from their families and communities.

The gorgeous rhythm of Mokobe’s performance and its context will resonate with many listeners still trying to understand their own identity. Mokobe reflects on the meanings society puts upon our bodies, labeling us before we are ready to claim our own identities.


4. A call to men

My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.

Tony Porter wants you to break free of the “man box.” Growing up in a very gender-confined community as a kid, Porter didn’t realize until much later in life that what he was taught was the socialization of men that prevents males from breaking outside of these stereotypes.

Upon reflection, Porter understands that much of what he learned about how to treat his son came from his relationship with his own father. His personal anecdotes highlight the many ways in which we teach boys to confine themselves to the “man box.” Collectively, men are taught to value women as objects–with less value, as property—than women. This equation results in violence against women.

Porter calls to men to recognize that men are a part of both the problem and the solution when it comes to violence and discrimination against women.


5. How to avoid gender stereotypes

There is a very real danger that what we underestimate, we underutilize. 

You’re probably aware of the current conversations surrounding “boss” versus “bossy” when it comes to women in the workplace and taking on leadership roles. In 2012, Eleanor Tabi Haller-Jordan spoke on the gender gap in leadership and her own understanding of the corporate world and how it affects women’s inaccessibility to senior positions in businesses.

Eleanor Tabi Haller-Jordan and her team have identified the 14 key leadership attributes. With this information, they wanted to find out if some of them were more typically associated to a man or a woman. What they found? Almost without exception, the attributes that seemed associated with “taking charge” were linked to men and their competency. Women were perceived to be more competent at “taking care.”

Some solutions include being fundamentally aware of the fundamental challenges that surround these issues. Haller-Jordan knows that perceptions and stereotypes dictate what we tend to look for and expect to find. We see men and women as two monolithic groups, when this is truly not the case.


What are some of your favorite TED talks? Sound off in the comments!

Cover image courtesy of Okay Africa.