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  • my name's Ryan Richardson and I'm living a double life.

  • Actually, no, that's not true at all.

  • So they tell you that you should always start this thing with a good hook.

  • And that sounded like such a good opening line.

  • I was like, I'm just go with it.

  • Um, no, but in seriousness, for many years, I didn't live with a bit of a secret.

  • Maybe even a big one.

  • The secret was, well, how much you might call the beauty queen for more than a decade.

  • Beauty pageants.

  • Where?

  • My hobby.

  • Actually, they were more like my sport.

  • There were the sport that I took up when playing football with the boys list.

  • No longer a sustainable solution for me.

  • Yes, that's me.

  • The one with my name written on my helmet.

  • I can't figure out why.

  • As if I was going to lose it off my head, never mind, but nonetheless, in pageants, as with with all the sports and I played before them, I poured my whole self into competition.

  • And like the elite athlete that I was, I trained year in and year out, and for it I was rewarded handsomely with scholarships that funded the bulk of my college education, with the communication skills that rest at the foundation of what ended up becoming just a rapidly ascending career and with a network of wildly accomplished peers all around the country, many of whom I have the privilege of calling my friends.

  • But all the while I was building that rapidly ascending career and intentionally keeping ah, high wall between it and my pageant life.

  • I did everything possible to try to keep my little hobby a complete secret from my professional community.

  • When I competed for Miss Black America, I had to take a week off of work, and I told my colleagues that it was to spend much needed time with the family.

  • I lied.

  • I got on a plane and flew halfway costs across the country to pursue a decade long dream.

  • And when I won Miss Black America, I reached just this highest of highs.

  • I celebrate it quietly, quietly, the way only like a carb deprived beauty queen, cancel with like an extra large extra cheese pizza in my lap, a bottle of champagne in one hand, the TV remote in the other, but quietly nonetheless, and the next Monday, I put my heels back up on the shelf, retired my makeup, and without any fanfare or fuss, I went back to my day job.

  • At that point, I Waas, a vice president of $100 Million Global Technology Company.

  • I was managing a team in three cities across two continents, and I just jumped back into business as usual and into an environment where I had every intention of never speaking of what I have just accomplished, which is strange, right?

  • Because typically, when we are notable accolades, we want to share that news.

  • I mean, I remember earlier in that year when I had been named to a certain magazine's list of most influential black executives in corporate America, I had to be convinced not to buy, like framed copies of this magazine.

  • For everyone in my company.

  • It was a thing.

  • But this win, this one was different.

  • Don't get me wrong.

  • It was It was big.

  • It was the biggest.

  • It was the combination of 10 years of hard work, the product of my literal blood, sweat and tears in approximately £3.5 of makeup.

  • But I knew that this accomplishment also came with consequences.

  • Consequences that I might suffer.

  • Folks who didn't know me or didn't get me or didn't yet understand the full extent of my capacities learned that I had competed in a beauty pageant, a beauty pageant.

  • In fact, I was even concerned that some folks who did know me who had praised my talents and had watched me excel at my craft, would suddenly start to doubt my capacities.

  • Conventional wisdom had taught me that I had reason to fear that my life is a beauty queen could somehow compromised my position, my hard earned position as a credible, respected, influential exec.

  • I was well aware of that expectation that the woman who is as frivolous as to leverage her physical appearance for personal gain does so because she no doubt lack certain intellectual gifts.

  • Right.

  • And while I always knew that attitude was fundamentally wrong, I couldn't risk my credibility falling victim to it.

  • That that was the reason for the secrecy.

  • That was my greatest fear.

  • But, of course, now is the new Miss Black America.

  • That secret was gonna be pretty hard to keep within 72 hours back at work.

  • I've been outed by a Google alert, and I had to learn to embrace this identity that for so long I regard it as a professional liability.

  • And I can say now that I've certainly settled in tow, living in my truth proudly and boldly.

  • But that journey has not been without friction.

  • In the last year, I've had my capacities and my intelligence questions.

  • I've had my credential scrutinized and my basic value challenged in a way that I had never experienced in my career before I came out as a beauty queen.

  • So many of my fears in this last year has been validated.

  • But so has my strong belief that it's about time for us to rethink our understanding of what beauty really means, particularly for women.

  • Now, before I get ahead of myself and you'll start rolling your eyes, I'll let you know that this talk is not at all intended to be my defensive beauty pageants.

  • I will concede to y'all and all of the Internet that, like so many other competitive sports communities, the beauty pageant won't is a totally bizarre alternate universe is weird.

  • I get it.

  • This talk is also not about like the woes of being pretty because that would be obnoxious.

  • This talk isn't even about who our culture of patriarchy and white supremacy and capitalism upholds the standard bearers of beauty.

  • I'd love to have that conversation, but it's a different one altogether.

  • Instead, this conversation, this talk is about challenging the fundamental idea that beauty is somehow inconsequential, that it lacks practical value that it's important only exist in a vacuum devoid of more serious matters.

  • This talk is about why it's time for us to cancel the notion that women are either beautiful war smart that were either consciously attractive or competent there.

  • I say that we are sexy or respectable, that we cannot be all of the above because beyond that concept, being insulting in a logical and so easily debunked, it's also rooted in this kind of anti feminism that has real and substantive impact on the quality of life for women.

  • I'm not exaggerating when I say that to deprecate feminine beauty is an act of aggression.

  • It is an intentional effort to encroach on our power.

  • Here's what I mean.

  • Power is the capacity of some persons to produce intended and foreseen effects on others, By the way, this is the part of the program where I geek out for a couple minutes, so sit tight, get comfortable.

  • Dr.

  • Dennis Wrong is credited with this definition of power.

  • He waas Canadian sociologists and author, professor emeritus at N.

  • Y.

  • U and a self described Democratic socialist before Bernie Sanders made that, like all buzzword e school.

  • And he was one of a handful of mid century scholars who were known collectively and academic communities as the New York intellectuals.

  • And sadly, he passed away about a year ago.

  • But I've been diving into what is probably his best known book entitled Power Its Forms, Basis and Uses, which is regarded as this great anatomy of the subject of power.

  • And in it, Dr Wrong asserts that there are four distinct forms of power authority, forth manipulation and persuasion and authorities This really interesting, complex concept that he further breaks down into five other sub categories that I hope you read about in his book cause we're not talking about them today, but we are going to talk about these other three forms of power, these forms that are so ever present in our lives, force manipulation persuasion.

  • We can probably all sight plenty of examples, both big and small in our day to day lives and the world around us of what these look like, whether it's that's schoolyard bully who is just able to physically dwarf all the other kids on the playground.

  • And then he uses his physical stature, tow, either intimidate or physically harm other kids as a means of control, or whether it is the strongman leaders of authoritarian governments that use violence and state sanctioned persecution.

  • Squash dissent in their people.

  • We can all recognize these exercises of force for power.

  • And when we think of power through manipulation, that's where the intellect and the savvy of a con man like a Bernie Madoff who's able to trick people into yielding their trust to him is seen, or where great wealth or access allows those that hold it the ability to bend people to their will, unwittingly not even realizing there are being controlled, influenced, that's think, 0 2016 election, Cambridge Analytica $6 million unfettered access to all your Facebook data.

  • That's power through manipulation.

  • And then there's power through persuasion.

  • This final form of power that is perhaps the most effective and certainly the most sustainable because it's inherently consensual.

  • It doesn't rely on fear or violence or duplicity, all of which require this kind of ongoing cycle of optimization jests just to be effective now instead, power through persuasion.

  • It's safe zone offensive.

  • It's unlikely to provoke manipulative or forceful counteraction, so there is a certain permanence to power that comes from persuasion.

  • Now.

  • I'd argue that the great importance of beauty, beauty being at quality or aggregate qualities in a person that gives pleasure to the senses or exalts the minder spirit the value in that isn't our ability to use it as a tool for persuasion.

  • Beauty does affect the way in which the world around us seize and perceives us in our positions.

  • It's the reason that countless studies into everything from advertising to worker compensation to political science have all found there is a positive correlation between the attractiveness of a person and our perceptions of their trustworthiness of their credibility.

  • Studies of US elections and European elections find that a candidate's aesthetic appeal does service an actual indicator of actual election outcomes in that Children are able to reliably predict the outcome of elections based solely what politicians look like.

  • So if beauty is able to so reliably dictate our perceptions of persuasiveness of that great, sustainable, most effective power than beauty is in and of itself a vehicle for power now all forms of power rely on it in balance.

  • Unequal distribution of resource is we can all access the same powers.

  • And without that imbalance, there's no power to be leveraged.

  • Frankly, we can't all possess the strength or the the reinforcements to take power by force.

  • And oftentimes we see men, because of their physical size and stature, exploit that particular vehicle for power.

  • We don't all have the intellect or the wealth that allow us that manipulative power.

  • And while those assets maybe more evenly balanced across genders, they're far from equal access assets.

  • But nonetheless, we respect a reward.

  • Physical strength.

  • Genius is always celebrated.

  • The pursuit of monetary riches isn't about American as apple pie, But something about beauty is different.

  • Beauty, that vehicle for persuasive power that's trivialized.

  • That's degraded.

  • And I spent a lot of time in the last year asking myself why, and it's not lost on me and hopefully it's not lost on anyone in this room.

  • That of all of those forms of power that rely on unequal distribution of resource, is that beauty is a single vehicle that is disproportionately afforded to recognized in and leveraged by women.

  • So why again, is beauty for Alice?

  • Why, unlike physical strength, intellect or great wealth, do we at least in women, regard beauty as a liability?

  • Why are women forced to make a binary decision between either openly wielding the power of their feminine beauty or being otherwise respected as bright, talented, as valuable beauty as women is our unique superpower?

  • Yet we've been conditioned to believe that it lacks value, that we ought distance ourselves from it if we want to be taken seriously.

  • And that's not an accident.

  • Last time I checked, men are encouraged to abandon any vehicles for their power.

  • That is a burden that lies squarely on our shoulders and refusing through social pressure.

  • Women the latitude to leverage all of the tools available to us Well, that robs us of influence.

  • He creates divisions between us.

  • It doesn't allow for us to see to realize the full scope of our feminine power, so women today, I'm gonna leave you with a call to action.

  • And that's to check your own hang ups about beauty at the door.

  • It's to be mindful of the ways in which you may actually feed into the very notions that are designed to disempower you.

  • I'm gonna challenge you instead to proudly oh, the inherent power of your unique beauty to leverage it boldly and unapologetically.

  • Whenever and however you see fit, I remind you that you were under no obligation to live as either or but actually that you and I, we both have a responsibility to live as this and that and two in turn model the full range and diversity of women's feminine power.

  • It's on us.

  • Every one of us in this room to give permission to the women and girls will come behind us to be able to take up space as dynamic, complex whole beings, not thes one dimensional tropes of what womanhood should be.

  • Toni Morrison wrote, If you want to fly, you got to give up the ship that weighs you down.

  • I'm here to let you notice.

  • Is that shit?

  • It's time for us to let go these broken notions of what our beauty and power actually are women Mavericks.

  • It's time to fly.

my name's Ryan Richardson and I'm living a double life.

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美しさは力。なぜ私は自分のものにすることを恐れないのか|リアン・リチャードソン|TEDxCitrusParkWomen (Beauty is Power: Why I’m No Longer Afraid to Own It | Ryann Richardson | TEDxCitrusParkWomen)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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