Tracee Ellis Ross – an activist and global influencer with a cross-cultural and joyful point of view – is an important figure in this day and age, freely voicing her opinion on equality, race, respect, beauty and feeling empowered in your own skin.
Her voice should be heard. And it was, when the actress gave a powerful TED Talk this month at the annual TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada, about the spectrum of objectification women have faced for hundreds of years, and the anger women harbour because of it.
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. That’s lifetimes of women dealing with men who assume they know better for us than we know for ourselves, being the property of husbands, landowners, and having old, white men tell us the fate of our lady parts; lifetimes of having our bodies used for love and objects of desire, instead of bodies that we get to wield and use as we choose; lifetimes of knowing that whether we play by their rules or not, we still have to tolerate harassment, assault and even worse; lifetimes of our bodies being used as property that can be hit and hurt, manipulated and moved and like objects that are not deserving of respect; lifetimes of not being able to express the anger of our bodies. It’s no wonder we feel this fury. And if you add in the history of race ― which is a whole other talk ― it gets exponentially more complicated. – Tracee Ellis Ross
“Women have been trained to think that we are overreacting or that we’re being too sensitive or unreasonable,” she continued. “We try to make sense of nonsense, and we swallow the furious feelings. We try to put them into some hidden place in our minds, but they don’t go away. That fury sits deep inside as we practice our smiles … and try to be pleasant … because apparently, women aren’t supposed to get angry.”
Ross concluded her talk on a powerful note, referencing the anti-sexual-violence Time’s Up movement created in January by dozens of women in Hollywood.
“Today, the global collection of women’s experiences can no longer be ignored. Time’s up on thinking that we’re overreacting or ‘This is just the way it is.’ Time’s up on women being held responsible for men’s bad behaviour,” she said. “It is men’s responsibility to change men’s bad behaviour.”