Here is the full transcript of social media researcher Jolynna Sinanan’s TEDx Talk: Rethinking Culture: Small Actions Today, Big Impact Tomorrow at TEDxPortofSpain conference. This event occurred on October 6, 2016.
Jolynna Sinanan – Social media researcher
Ireland has a very high suicide rate, for the size of its population. Last year, 375 men took their own lives, and men are five times more likely to commit suicide than women.
This is my husband, Filkra. This photo was taken of him in Singapore, a place where, growing up, he never thought that he would visit. Filkra grew up in a village of 300 people. It’s in the south of the country; he’d never really met people from other countries before he left, he’d never seen a coconut, and the idea of drinking wine instead of Guinness would have been stupid-like. I’m not suggesting that people from the village are backwards.
It’s quite the opposite: a lot of the most intelligent and well-travelled people I know are from that village. But growing up, the village felt like a very small place. He’s going to hate that. I’ve put this slide off for so long. This is the latest selfie that Filkra has shared on Facebook. Actually, it’s his only selfie; he doesn’t really post that much.
Him and his friends wanted to share this post because I wanted to say to other young men, “It’s OK to talk”. Filkra and his friends shared this post because they all know a mate who’s taken his own life. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to such tragic outcomes, including mental illness.
But what these young men are trying to tap into is the culture of masculinity in Ireland says that men should be strong, they should be stoic, and they should be silent, even when things are very difficult, and when they have very serious problems; even if it can lead to things like depression and anxiety. In these few seconds, Filkra and his friends were using social media to try to change that aspect of their culture.
What if I said to you, instead of thinking of culture as this sort of amorphous thing, what if we think of culture and society as an ecosystem, and the slightest little action that we take on it will have a ripple effect throughout the entire entity, throughout the entire organic entity.