Tracee Ellis Ross recently opened a TED conference with a talk titled “A woman’s fury holds lifetimes of wisdom.” According to the TED Talk website, her talk discusses how “the global collection of women's experiences can no longer be ignored.”
Most women — most people — can relate to instances where they’ve been angry but didn’t lash out. Often, women feel like they’re over exaggerating by getting angry. Who hasn’t had a man roll their eyes and utter the most ignorant question: “Are you on your period?”
Ross opened her talk with an incident from a story a friend told her, about how a man at the post office physically moved her out of his way to grab an item. Her friend didn’t know how to react, but she did feel furious about the situation. Ross said she felt her friend's pain and told the audience, “This fury is something that I have been chomping on since the last U.S. presidential election.”
The most important and impactful point Ross makes comes when she calls on men to hold themselves accountable for their actions. Women have been dealing with men who don’t care about how their actions affect those around them; this issue with men abusing their power has been our reality for centuries.
“When someone helps themselves to a woman, it not only triggers discomfort and distress, but the unspoken experiences of our mothers' lives, sisters' lives and generations of women before us.”
Ross believes that there has been a shift in our culture and I agree with her. Women, and men as well, are tired of how those in power — who are disproportionately men — get away with bad behaviour.
Her talk comes in light of recent news that Bill Cosby is guilty of three counts of assault. The deliberation took months to conclude and even though dozens of women have spoken out against Cosby, it took two trials and a massive public discussion for their stories to be seen as truth.
Ross concluded her talk by encouraging women to acknowledge their fury. “Your fury is not something to be afraid of. It holds lifetimes of wisdom. Let it breathe and listen.”
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