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The first time I saw Sarah Jessica Parker sauntering across a New York City sidewalk in a tulle ballerina skirt, I was starstruck. It was something about the bounce in her step, the quirkiness of her outfit, and her fierce challenge of convention that spoke to me— and actually influenced my future choices. After inhaling season after season on an epic weekend binge, I knew two things:

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

On one of my first assignments at a large corporation, no one could remember my name. It wasn't because they couldn't pronounce it. It wasn't because they had never met me. It wasn't because they had forgotten it. It was because everyone kept calling me by someone else's name.

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A few weeks ago, while I was boarding a plane, one of the male flight attendants was checking me in. He looked at my passport, looked back up at me, and said "I like your hair better blonde. You should dye it back." My jaw dropped. What gives him the right—the entitlement—to comment on the way I look⁠, let alone tell me which way he prefers I look? I am not there for his consumption!

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I've spent years now encouraging people to have difficult conversations, to talk about the things that are bothering them and yet, remain unspoken. I've read the research showing that couples who argue effectively, instead of staying quiet and avoiding conflict are ten times more likely to have a happy relationship.

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I don't like to make predictions. There's a degree of hubris involved in any effort at prognostication; the future is an unknowable thing, mysterious and hazy and prone to rapid shifts, evident in the way the last half-decade utterly upended the conventional view of where America and the world were heading. But it's not just a new year; it's an entirely new decade, which is a cause for reflection not on the past, but on the future. What kind of world do we want to build?

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Teenage girls have it very hard.

Anyone who has ever been one knows this instinctively. Navigating your newfound emergence into the contradictory social and sexual politics and expectations, where your body is weaponized against you and your value dictated by its degree of conformity to a Barbie doll, where you're either a slut if you have sex or a prude if you don't, where eating disorders are tacitly encouraged and you're constantly told to be quiet, be small and meek and always complaisant, and stay out of the way – it's a lot. Their argot is maligned, their speaking habits policed, their manner of dress demeaned and insulted as vanity, and their interests automatically deemed shallow, frivolous, and intellectually deficient by their mere association with them. In short, being a teenage girl isn't easy.

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Influential Voices

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Swaay is dedicated to elevating female voices and changing the narrative by celebrating the stories of women who are challenging the status quo and giving them a platform to participate in more meaningful conversations.
Badass Babes Join our virtual dinner table of friends and friends of friends who came together to trade notes, offer support and share insider secrets. Badass Babes only need apply.
Age = experience and we've got that here. Join our community of over 45 ladies who are owning it, running it, stepping back in, and reinventing themselves.
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We're told life is full of choices and to succeed you have to "act more like a man." We're not having it. In this post #MeToo and #TimesUp world, we celebrate our strength as women. You don't have to choose between femininity and success. Ladies, let's harness our power.
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