Pipe Dream spoke with Kaly Otero, a senior majoring in comparative literature. Through her talk, “The Trinity of Blame: Women, Sex and Shame,” Otero aims to reevaluate the representation of women, sex and tradition. This interview had been edited for length and clarity.

Pipe Dream: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Kaly Otero: “I am a passionate scholar, poet, feminist, mother and advocate for change. I grew up in rural upstate New York and am no stranger to being barefoot or in the woods. In the face of controversy, I generally find quite a lot to talk about. I find myself simultaneously navigating between ideals and experience while desiring an authentic reevaluation and representation of women, sex and tradition. If I’m not reading or cooking, I’m dancing and laughing.”

PD: What inspired your talk?

KO: “I recognized that it is time to strip off our shame and knew TEDx would be an invaluable platform to do so. As a side effect of toeing boundaries my whole life, I learned quickly that shame meant if I wanted to change things I couldn’t expect tradition not to fight back. As a reward for my perseverance, I’ve also come to understand that shame is the glue holding the glass ceiling together. Women keep breaking boundaries and culture recycles and pieces barriers back together with shame. We won’t let our blood and tears be the glue anymore. Hillary Rodham [Clinton] said it best, ‘We are, all of us, attempting to come to grasp with some of the inarticulate things we are feeling. We are, all of us, exploring a world that none of us understands.’ I am attempting to create and promote a condition of compassion, generosity and kindness within that uncertainty.”

PD: Why did you decide to get involved with TEDxBinghamtonUniversity?

KO: “I recognized that it is time to strip off shame and set an example to live our truth. I knew TEDx would be an invaluable platform to do this.”

PD: What do you hope the audience takes away from your talk?

KO: “A desire to weave their own network of knowledge and compassion.”