Tracee Ellis Ross calls on women to 'acknowledge their fury' at TED conference in Vancouver
Black-ish star wrote a guide in the style of a children's book to teach men about sexual harassment
The annual TED conference kicked off in Vancouver Tuesday, with Black-ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross starting off the first evening of the signature short talks.
Ross, an outspoken Hollywood advocate of women's rights, gave an impassioned speech that urged women to "acknowledge their fury."
"Women have been trained to think that we're overreacting or that we're too sensitive," Ross said, notes in hand. "We try to swallow the furious feelings."
"Men, I call you in as allies as we work together towards change. May you be accountable and self-reflective, compassionate and open. May you ask how you can support a woman and be of service to change, and may you get help if you need it." <a href="https://twitter.com/TraceeEllisRoss?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TraceeEllisRoss</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TED2018?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TED2018</a>—@TEDTalks
Ross is best known as Dr. Rainbow Johnson from the hit show Black-ish, for which she won a Golden Globe.
She wore a grey pantsuit and her hair back and started off her talk with a story about a friend who was gently moved out of the way at the post office — a seemingly innocuous act that provoked deep anger.
"Her fury was ignited by lifetimes of men helping themselves to women's bodies without consent," Ross said, adding that "the innocuous makes space for the horrific."
Guide for men about sexual harassment
Men feel entitled to help themselves to women's bodies, not because they're less moral, Ross argued, but because it's a blind spot for them.
Last December, Ross joked about that same blind spot on the late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live, where she read from her book The Handsy Man, a humorous guide for men about sexual harassment, written in the style of a children's story.
"There is a guy with 10 long fingers, creepy glares and hugs that linger. If you're a woman, you're not a fan. I speak, of course, of the Handsy Man," she read.
Her talk at the TED conference was a more direct plea for men to question their behaviour and for women to stand up for themselves.
"Today, the global collection of women's experiences can no longer be ignored," she said. "Time's up on women being held responsible for men's bad behaviour."
Parkland history teacher speaks out
Also on the roster Tuesday was Diane Wolk-Rogers, a history teacher at the Parkland, Fla., high school where a mass shooting in February prompted U.S.-wide demonstrations calling for for gun control.
"It's been two months and every day I still hear the echoes of the pop pop sound of the gunfire," she said, adding that she still experiences flashes of pain, grief and anger.
Wolk-Rogers laid out her arguments for gun control, asking gun owners to question if they need their weapons.
"Perhaps it's time for some of us to lay down our arms," she said.
Other talks on Tuesday evening included Canadian Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, who spoke about the importance of investing in and trusting scientists.
Psychologist Steven Pinker, whose book Enlightenment Now explores how the current era is the best time to be alive, capped off the evening.
There are more than 80 speakers scheduled to speak at the conference at themed sessions throughout the week.