TEDxChCh - Linh Do - Defying Social Norms for Social Change

you thank you thank you very much for that introduction so I guess University is one of the few normal things that I really ever do and every time that I'm at university which is quite rare I meant to be in class right now as a matter of fact my friends and my peers constantly remind me of how I'm actually not that normal and I seem to be living in this little bubble of mine this little bubble where I think that everything I do is normal but evidently not so many of you would probably remember when you were a teenager when you're a child or maybe even now we always seem to be striving towards normality not because we want to be like everyone else and we want to be boring and dull but because we want to fit in so being normal is absolutely fine and the reason why I said I feel like I'm normal is when I was speaking to my friends about speaking at TEDx Christchurch as talking to them about defying social norms and that was what I thought I was going to be speaking about etc etc and all of the things that they thought that they were defying in terms of social norms so caring about politics was something that came up quite often wanting to make a difference in the world they kept suggesting all these things and I was like these are things that I'm doing true so doesn't that make us normal because you know it's both of us that want this thing but then as I spoke to people on the streets at bus stops and places of random where you don't expect to be approached by some crazy girl asking you what do you think you are doing differently in your life I started to realize that that it wasn't actually to normal and I really was living in this bubble so I guess today I'm going to be speaking to you a bit about why defying social norms is quite an important thing if we want to create social change to solve some of the big problems that we're facing so whether that be climate change global poverty stereotypes that currently exist which are negative etc now I didn't want to be that girl that was known for coming to a TEDx event and trying to define exactly what social norms were and making this definitive list of what I thought everyone was actually like I won't lie I did do some research someone recently brought me stuff white people liked so I was reading through it and I was like yeah yeah I see some of this like I'm maybe that maybe not that and you'll all be happy to know that you are normal in some way or at least white if you will a number hundred and thirty-four in the website slash book is lacking TED conferences so I think you've all fit that feel just fine but moving on from that so I didn't want to be the girl that defined social norms not because obviously being someone that's not normal I didn't quite know what it was but also because everyone has quite a different perception of what social norms are yes social norms are values and beliefs that all of us hold because society tells us almost what to think through the media but primarily through our families actually from the moment that we're born our families expect various things from us our parents expect for us to grow up happy some parents expect their children to marry have children so that they can consider themselves grandparents or going to university to become an investment banker or a doctor or whatever every family places some sort of expectations which I guess is the basis of how social norms are formed for each and every individual now my parents are fortunately work like weren't like many Asian parents who have that stereotypical you should be a doctor lawyer or accountant or anything like that my parents were against a bit more general about what they felt I should be doing so I went along through my childhood living a rather normal life until I was faced with a fork path I couldn't really find a picture of for path so just lots of forks and and I even brought a fork onstage to demonstrate my next point if I can get it out of my pocket so I guess I was going down the straight and narrow like everything was fine I was going through primary school high school and then I was faced with the decision when I was maybe fifteen sixteen when people started to ask me what is it that you want to do with the rest of your life and I thought about it there were so many different options that I had it wasn't because I lacked opportunity or lacked a choice but I thought what is it that I want to do do I want to go down path a which is a pro may on this frog which was you know greater university graduate do some graduate program and then get a job or did I want to go down be very really young have children did I want to go down sea do some other thing that I guess was quite kill something that other people had done before me something that would have been quite easy for me to emulate in that or that person's already done it and they got to this result by the end of it and that wasn't necessarily what I wanted I still don't quite know the answer to the question so please don't ask me but I sort of know that what I want to do is essentially create social change in some way in society and for me there's no clear path towards creating social change how does someone go about creating social change I'm at university now I am studying but I'm not studying a Bachelor of social change or there aren't any after-school courses that I could have taken whilst I was in high school so instead I guess what I embarked upon essentially was a web it wasn't really a straight and narrow it wasn't something that had been done before it was different it was this web of social change that I was I guess going down it was something that I have no idea and still have no idea about exactly what I'm doing and this all started with that campaign that was mentioned before changed million lightbulbs essentially I set out to change a million light bulbs convert incandescent lights into fluorescent lights you could say that it was successful we did change and ruin your light bulbs we managed to get some laws changed as well and it was just a bizarre process because when I was doing this my one was I wanted to change the light bulbs I didn't quite realize at the time I was 15 what social change I would for creating let alone what social norms I was defying I don't even think I knew what social norms were until I started studying literature at University and the term was just thrown around all the time and it's not until I really look back now and I think there were some norms that I was defying so the fact that I was so young I was 15 at the time I don't think anybody have that included teachers and parents and friends and peers in the light even though they were extremely supportive expected me as a 15 year old girl to go out and change a million light bulbs no one expected that of me no one expected that I would do it in the way that I did which was primarily through online networks through word-of-mouth and things like that it was a different form of communication it was one that I guess the older generations like Generation X the baby boomers which my parents are broke weren't too aware about they were like what's this online thing what social media what's Facebook but that was what we use because they were our target audience young people people that were my aged as well convincing them that they could create change now one of the reasons why I was able to do this so young was because I didn't really I guess fall into this belief that you need some sort of qualification in order to create social change you don't need to rush finished high school you don't need to have God to university or graduated and things like that and that's why there are so many other young people out there now and I could give you a million examples from people I know back in Australia who have created Make Poverty History concerts with over 50,000 people attending at the age of eighteen running massive national advocacy campaigns in their country on poverty on climate change on other social issues and it's because we don't think that we need a qualification maybe it's because none of us are terribly smart and doing well at university but we have this I guess belief in ourselves something that we've carried on from our childhoods we haven't lost that inhibition yet we haven't gotten to the point where we think that we need to conform to what society expects of us we don't think that we need to have done a B and C in order to get to D we can get from A to D through other means and that's what I mean when I say that I've gone down this web to get to social change as opposed to a fork where it's not on the straight and narrow and social change is something that is also hard to define equally as hard as defining what social norms is because who can say what is good social change and what's negative social change all I do know is that if we don't change the ways that we are if we just conform to everything that people expect of us and the like the nothing in society will change because we'll be the same if I did do everything that people expected of me then what would actually be different from everyone that has come before me and everyone that will come after me that does the same and I think that's just I guess one of the integral points of dedicating a life towards social change in that that's defying a major social norm of the fact that in order to create social change you have to challenge the status quo and that in itself is creating some form of change whether positive or negative the reason why a lot of young people now are deciding to not only fix the problems or attempt to fix the problems rather of climate change in global poverty but the reason why we're defying their social norms is because we don't want to just fix the problems we want to change the system people have often said that climate change is a byproduct of a bigger issue a bigger issue of sustainability and of the way that we're living our lives we just solve climate change then what's to say that in 20 years that problem won't occur again because the system is still the same and this is why defying social norms is important because it changes the system it changes the paradigms the constructs the ways that we're taught to think in because there's nothing necessarily right about these paradigms these are paradigms that we've constructed ourselves so it's just as easy for us to change and lastly I'd like to end on the fact that even though I know I've used a lot of young examples and being all I'm 19 I'm still a teenager oh not to make you feel bad not to make you feel bad I didn't introduce myself as the 19 year old I said the almost 20 almost 20 is that people aren't born with the ability to defy social norms or to create social change it's not something that you're born with it's not a talent that I've been blessed with it's a conscious decision that I've made and it's a conscious decision that each and every one of you can make as well it's essentially looking at your life and thinking there's a and there's B B is what everyone else is doing B is what people expect me to do but it's being necessarily right so I encourage you all to think about the a option and maybe go with that and hopefully we can all create some social change together thank you

  1. Leads me on to the sixty's generation and how things that happened in the sixty's have changed human beings world society for ever some say for the good others for the bad? Long Long topic this one but the sixty's genetation never want it to stop! I believe before the sixty's the general masses peoples where generally of a mind that one grew worked made a home then had a family then passed the ball on sort of speek and where probably in most cases ready to pass over hopefully in the least pain possible. See back then life was tougth very tougth and hardy they had to be but to the point where when they became older they where ready for death there is no other way of putting it! I am sure the masses would have been of the attitude that I have struggled all my life been through every thing there is except death and now I am ready for it. Would be easy to imagine that one was going to go and be with the people they loved once again. do not get me wrong there is similar today people lose people but back then your people where your people if that makes any seance? Non of this moving on type of thing as there would be know one to move on with? And even so people who lived would more than likely be in a lot of pain one way or the other. One thinks yes there was a difference in class but class could not save you from pain and suffering the way it can these days. Theys days the elite class could probably well could get a new heart in a week while the poor stand little to no chance bacj then mortality counted about even across the classes may be a little diffrence but nothing like there is to day! anyway I am getting of topic here!

  2. What does the social norms handbook say what the social norms should be these days anyhow? One would be to lagth at this post for a start I would presume?

  3. Your parents arent giving you “expectations”, they’re giving you some sort of direction in life because why else would you orient yourself as a proper human being.

  4. CFL bulbs are a greater risk environmentally than incandescent with mercury content, while there are UV radiation leaks. The campagne was frankly an utter nonsense. Defying social norms to accomodate increased health risks on a global basis through youthful ignorance is tantamount to criminal negligence. CFL bulbs should be banned on environmental and health grounds.

  5. an inspiring individual – one to check what she's up to now
    be challenged – clearly some commenters below were unable to hear broadly enough…

  6. Defying social norms for the sake of change is disrupting to society. There is enough disruption in the world already. It cause cognitive dissonance and anxiety. How about helping people achieve stability in their lives, instead?

  7. We need to get to a point where every single individual thinks for themselves and does not blindly follow others.

    We weren't given the ability to think and create just so that we could shut our minds and hearts off.

    Don't ever worry about what others think.

    As has been said "Listen to your heart above all other voices"

    Thanks for the talk, the ideas and the video, please keep up the good work.

    Thanks and Peace.

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