My life has been defined by the fear of consequences. That isn’t to say that I haven’t done anything, quite the opposite. But I have been guided by an internal scale of action versus result since I was a girl. This is very much a result of my standard punishment — going to my room to reflect on my behavior. This was a very reasonable and measured punishment in the mid-1970s. But for me, it was effective in terms of long term impact. I have taken enormous risks — moved to foreign countries, started businesses, gone on intrepid solo adventures, and loved some pretty out-there people. But never without a constant assessment of the consequences. If it is worth it, go for it. There is so much out there in the world to be afraid of. I have walked down streets at night, slept in empty buildings, driven all night when I didn’t have money for a hotel, and danced with strangers. Most resulted without harm coming to me, yet I wasn’t always lucky. But the real threats to our lives are not dark alleys, unknowns or strangers, but toxic familiarity and self-doubt. Clarity has come for many people, especially young women and girls, over the past two years. We have begun to see what is shown to us, both in ourselves and others. People present themselves as users, takers, manipulators, narcissists, and gaslighters, but we made excuses for them. Some of us didn’t know have the language or understanding that how we were being treated was neither normal nor acceptable. But through social justice movements, especially #MeToo, we now have language, community, and a growing zeitgeist. These revelations, while painful, give us power. Seeing that the world does not make space without claiming it means you must demand your place, your time, and your voice. Online action is never enough. If love and fear are humanity’s biggest motivators, let’s be motivated by love.
-Ashley E. Remer
Girl Museum Inc.