[Note: This essay is adapted from a lecture delivered by the author at Utah State University in October, 2017; video of the lecture is available here.]
Raise your left hand in the air and keep it there.
Did you do it? If so, you are extraordinary. A strange woman just told you to do something, and you listened. On a historic scale, that’s not just different. That’s revolutionary.
There are a lot of people in the world who wish you hadn’t done it. People who don’t like me personally, because I’m the kind of woman who gets up in the front of the room and starts telling people what to do. People who don’t like me in theory, because of what I represent to them. People who you know. People who are participating in a cultural narrative that is woven into the fabric of our society.
I’m not mad at these people, even though some of them have threatened my life. Even though some of them have threatened my family. Even though some of them have said they’d like to come to my home and shoot me in the head rather than see me continue standing up at the front of rooms, telling people what to do. I’m not mad at them, and I’m not scared of them. Because I recognize what they really are.