Students at the prestigious St. Paul Academy are required to give a five- to eight-minute speech some time during their senior year in order to graduate.
That's a pretty long time for a teenager onstage in front of peers. Some kids probably do their best to stretch out their speech, "use" their pauses, and just get past the five-minute finish line.
Nadia Goldman had the opposite problem. She spent every bit of five and a half minutes racing just to get it all in.
Goldman's speech is a challenging and at times uncomfortable examination of femininity, sex, culture, consent, and the expectations we heap on people — or deprive them of — based on gender.
Given Goldman's facility at speeding through these difficult topics with barely any slip-ups, while still hitting her emotional lines, it will surprise no one to learn she reached the semifinals in the policy competition at the state debate tournament this year.
She is also, according to friends who introduced her, captain of the school soccer team. And "a genius." [CORRECTION: Turns out the reference to Goldman's role on the soccer team was a joke. Her friends stand by the "genius" claim.]
Because it's all some people will be interested in, here's the part where she says something about menfolk.
"Boys, use that big developed brain of yours to think before you speak, rethink the way you invalidate emotions, praise women for being women, and allow your mind to expand its definition of what a woman is."
Oh, and later, she dedicates the speech to anyone who's been "hurt, de-prioritized, abused, or forgotten about in the name of masculinity."
There, that wasn't so bad, was it?
The rest of Goldman's speech often returns to the fact that the way some hear her will always be inhibited by the reality that the speaker is a woman.
"It must be hard for you to hear anything other than annoying when I speak, right?" Goldman says. "Cuz my mouth is in constant contradiction with my body. I say 'no,' but my body says 'convince me.' I get mad, but my body tells you 'laugh.' You ask me a question, my body tells you 'Okay, okay, okay' — no. It's not okay."
Watch the whole thing below. It's a fast six minutes, and is probably just the first time most of us will hear of — and from — young Nadia Goldman. The speech has been viewed about 17,000 times since she uploaded it to Youtube last week.
We're going to go ahead and assume this is good enough to let her graduate.
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