Cindy’s speech Building Social Courage at the TEDxYouth@BlueSlidePark event:
|Learn more about bringing Cindy to speak at your high school by contacting Jill Friedlander at firstname.lastname@example.org||
Choosing Your Life, Living Your Choices:
Navigating the Influences of Peers, Media and Technology
What people are saying:
“The thing about Cindy is that she is committed to the idea that ‘Growth happens at the edge of our Comfort Zone.’ She spoke to us honestly and hilariously about all that we would go through in our journey of growing up through high school and into college. Cindy opened my eyes to a whole new world of openness, communication, and good humor that has inspired me to challenge and improve how well I treat myself and others.”
– Cedar Farwell, The Sharon Academy Class of 2012, Dartmouth Class of 2017
“Cindy gave me the confidence to feel like a powerful female in my generation. She provided me with the knowledge and tactics to form my own opinions about the popular culture of drugs, alcohol, sex and porn. I got a better sense of how to navigate my own way through all the crap.”
– Makenzie Brown, Burke Mountain Academy Class of 2011
“I saw a lot of similarities to high school life in Sex College and Social Media. This book definitely cleared up things that I didn’t even know I was confused about. It was interesting and a very appropriate gift for someone entering college.”
– Male, senior in high school
My aim is to give students perspective and information to help navigate the cultural, media and peer pressures, particularly around their social lives and sexual relationships.
When kids identify their Healthy Crew of friends and role models, they are more inclined to tap into positive friends and adults for guidance. With the support of a Healthy Crew, kids are more willing to speak up, establish personal boundaries and gain comfort being true to themselves. There are many obstacles keeping kids of this generation from tuning into their Inner Compass and making healthy choices. Kids are surprisingly receptive to considering a shift in their habits when made aware of obstacles such as overwhelming choices, excessive screen time/texting, envy bred by social media, discomfort being alone and widespread difficulty reading social and non-verbal cues.
The pressures and expectations to engage in the casual hook-up scene is prevalent among teenagers. The motivations include feeling desired, fulfilling the expectations of peers, needing relief from stress, gaining sexual experience, and feeling part of the group to name a few. The role of alcohol and drugs in the hook-up culture has led to an accepted social contract fueled by excessive drinking and misunderstanding of consent.
Porn Culture is fueled by advertising, media, music, clothing, gaming and Internet porn. These are only gaining more power in kids’ lives, therefore we need to share information and direct guidance to help them navigate and self-regulate these influences. Internet porn is impacting young people in completely different ways than print porn impacted previous generations. Expectations about how bodies appear and respond are skewed and contributing to genital image issues for boys and girls and to an increase in Erectile Dysfunction in young men. Violent sex is becoming normalized.
Body image concerns and eating disorders continue to be issues for many young women and for an increasing number of young men. The mixed messages from our culture and media relentlessly remind kids that they are not enough. Actively detoxing from and critically examining the messages from the culture have proven to help kids shift how they feel about themselves.
Male Entitlement is a term that makes most young men run in panic of being scolded. Addressing male entitlement requires a humorous and less direct approach. I address how our culture encourages boys to use and abuse their power. With awareness, young men have a better chance to avoid the Quarter Century Crisis. I will discuss the idea of merging one’s public and private self, starting with the use of respectful language (reconsidering the words “pussy”, “fag/gay” and “bitch”). The hope is that more awareness will motivate some of the less assertive followers (protected by safety in numbers) to consider moving towards a more courageous way of being in the world.
Follow this link for my recommended parent and educator resources.