Remember when your high school teacher would pull up a TED Talk video on Youtube to explain a concept when they couldn’t be bothered? TEDxSydney is like that, but in real life. One of the largest TEDx events in the world, TEDxSydney brings together some of Australia’s greatest and most interesting minds for a day of ideas. I was lucky enough to attend Session Four in the late afternoon, where Jordan Raskopolous, Scott Griffiths and Peter Greste humoured, enlightened, and challenged us.
Jordan Raskopolous, LGBTQI+ advocate and comedienne, explained her struggles with anxiety to the audience. She has what she refers to as ‘life anxiety’ – on stage, she is completely comfortable, yet in everyday conversations her anxiety can leave her unable to speak. It was an interesting insight into a person who leads a relatively public life and who seemed so at ease talking in front of so many people.
Scott Griffiths is an eating and body image disorder researcher. He explained the phenomenon of muscle dysmorphia and the possible contributing factors surrounding this disorder. Social media and unrealistic role models are impacting masculine ideals for boys and men, resulting in increasing rates of young men presenting with disordered eating and exercise habits in order to gain excessive muscle. It was clear that many of the audience had never heard of or encountered someone who suffered from muscle dysmorphia before, and Griffiths’ statistics surrounding steroid use prompted audible gasps.
Final speaker Peter Greste is a foreign correspondent who was arrested in Egypt on terrorism charges in 2013. He spoke about the state of press freedom in Australia, and commented on the possible causes of increased persecution of journalists across the world. This is an issue that is very interesting and relevant to me as a journalism student. His stories about the differences in reporting pre-9/11 and post-9/11 emphasised the gravity of the situation to everyone, and I heard multiple comments afterwards that Greste was one of the best speakers of the day.
I think TEDxSydney is a valuable event that creates a lot of great discussion and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone. Even if you can’t justify the ticket price, you’re in luck – all the talks and videos are livestreamed and posted online, so you don’t even have to leave your bedroom.