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    Q: What do you get when you invite 36 influential women to a world-class auto racing course and let them loose on a fleet of gleaming Mercedes-Benz AMG race cars?

    A: A newly minted girl gang of fierce, feisty feminists moving very, very fast.

    As a lead-up to their annual Women of the Year summit, Glamourand their presenting partner Mercedes-Benz invited female media makers from all over the country to Carmel, CA, October 2 – 4 for a high-octane 36 hours of dining and driving.

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    The author, ready to hit the road

    Out on the legendary Laguna Seca racetrack I joined a courageous crew of influencers—including travel expert Alivia Fields, lifestyle guru Dawn McCoy, plus-size fashion phenom Kristine Thompson and more—and a great group of fellow journalists on a crash course in auto racing and empowerment provided by the AMG Driving Academy.

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    Lifestyle guru Dawn McCoy

    My “team” was led by barrier-breaking racecar driver Ashley Freiberg—an auto racing champion who, among other accomplishments, was the first female overall North American GT3 Cup Challenge Winner. She commented that she’d never been surrounded by so many women on a racetrack before as she led us through the corkscrew turns of the track, the wet pavement for controlled spinouts, and a timed automotive obstacle course via headset.

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    Pro-racer Ashley Freiberg

    As a totally non-driving New Yorker, I got to ride shotgun with Glamour’s Communications Director Carly Holden, and I couldn’t have been in better hands. She was a natural behind the wheel, and when all was said and done, she also had the third overall fastest time on the obstacle course. Later, she confessed that she’s been stopped countless times for speeding, so I think she may be a natural!

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    The author with Glamour Communications Director Carly Holden

    Our busy day at the track was followed by an inspiring conversation between Glamour’s West Coast Editor Jessica Radloffand self-made skin-care mogul Kate Somerville at the Bernardus Lodge and Spa. Then we were all treated to facials by Team Somerville before being whisked off to a picture-perfect dinner under the stars at the woman-owned Holman Ranch.

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    Glamour's West Coast Editor Jessica Radloff interviewing Kate Somerville

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    Holman Ranch

    The overall theme of the trip was “Empowered Women Empower Women,” and that vibe was definitely real. By the time our whirlwind adventure was over, we all felt ready to take on the world and were equally amped to help each other out along the way.

    Glamour’s Women of the Year festivitiesare just getting started! Tickets are now on sale for their 2019 Women of the Year summit and awards, held in New York on November 10 and 11. Find out more at glamourwoty.com.


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    Maybe Daenerys Targaryen’s ascent into dragon riding mayhem and massacre wasn’t the lazy narrative arc I’ve been complaining about. Perhaps, instead, Dany and her fire-breathing dragon was a prescient metaphor. Perhaps the Mother of Dragons was harnessing more than just the back of a scaly beast, or even her own “madness”, but the feminine rage which seems to be keeping women crackling with something like kindling in their blood.

    More than anything, Dany’s choice to disregard conventional wisdom was a manifestation of this: We tried it your way. Again, and again. We played nice, and you fuckers still didn’t listen. So now? Now we burn it all.”

    I’m not suggesting there is an army of women waiting in the wings to swoop down upon the world and breath their collective fiery rage onto all and sundry, though honestly, it would be a breathtakingly cathartic moment…at least until we had to mend the wounds and clean up the ashes. And the only reason I’m not suggesting it is because there isn’t an army, though there shouldbe.

    I’m just never quite sure when it will manifest.

    I don’t know what it is going to take for rank and file women to realize that it won’t stop with abortion laws. I don’t know what it is going to take to ignite that Phoenix flame, to light the fuse that will take the whole house down, to finally let those dragons loose.

    I’ve been following the lava flow of women’s anger for years — mostly because I’ve been living it, using it to temper a steelier version of myself while trying not to burn myself alive on a personal witch pyre. I watched it bubble and froth in 2015, when many white women began to see the writing on the wall — because let’s face it, black women saw it long before white women did. In 2016 I watched it come to a rolling boil as our fears — fears which were roundly dismissed in so many patronizing ways — came to pass.

    We are nothing if not Cassandras, women, predicting a future disbelieved by so many.

    And now? Well, now that future is here, isn’t it?

    Just like we said it would be.

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    This anger is not gentle. It’s spitting and its hissing and barely contained. And too many women don’t know what to do with anger like this. I don’t know what to do with anger like this. Even now I am still too wary of my rage exploding onto others, onto innocents, onto those around me, those I love, frightened of the power contained within it.

    Too many of us haven’t learned how to harness that rage and ride it into change. Though there are plenty who have, and we would be wise to look to them for guidance.

    This roiling feminine rage is a tinderbox and there is no release valve. Some days it takes up so much room in my throat I can barely breathe. There are other days I feel as if it is moments away from bursting through my skin, splintering through my rib cage like a scene out of Alien.

    There is nothing gentle about it. It is a birth, raw and bloody and messy and painful.

    How long will women sit by and allow men to craft legislation that targets their bodies, their livelihood, their freedom of choice and movement? How long will women allow men, men who don’t even pretend to understand the basic mechanics of our bodies, to craft policies which will kill us?

    What I am really asking is this: When is it time to burn?

    Will it be banning birth control? Legalized rape? Enforced sex on demand like a Netflix binge watch? Do we have to go full Gilead and strip women of access to their money, their bank accounts, their jobs? Forced veils and modesty police?

    Because if you wait that long, it’s already too late.

    The warning bells have been ringing for years. Heed them. Because at some point those dragons are going to break free all at once and all hell-fire is going to break lose.

    My advice?

    Saddle up and learn to ride.

    This piece was originally published on the author's Medium and has been reprinted here with permission.

    Top photo via HBO / Game of Thrones

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  • naomi osaka 843ee

    Mattel’s official Naomi Osaka doll sold out within hours of it’s release on Monday, July 12th. Osaka joins the Barbie hall of fame as one the extraordinary women honored in Barbie’s Role Model Series. Currently ranked No. 2 by the Women’s Tennis Association, Osaka is the first Asian player to hold the top rank in singles, and is the reigning champion at both the Australian and US Opens. The doll sports Osaka’s Nike outfit that she wore during the 2020 Australian Open along with a miniature version of her signature Yonex tennis racket. Upon the release of this new doll, Naomi Tweeted about it saying, “I hope every child is reminded that they can be and do anything.” 

    Launched in 2015, The Barbie Role Model collection is a result of the brand’s commitment to “shining a light on empowering role models past and present in an effort to inspire more girls.” Others honored by Mattel in previous years include Yara Shahidi, Frida Kahlo, Ashley Graham, and Misty Copeland. This year they honored Osaka along with soccer player Alex Morgan. 

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    The Barbie Role Model collection marks a progressive turn for Mattel along with the Barbie Fashionistas line, released in April of 2019. The Barbie Fashionistas line was dedicated towards showcasing a range of diverse skin-tones, body types, and forms of gender expression.

    Both the Barbie Role Model collection and the Barbie Fashionistas line set a more realistic and diverse standard for young children. These were huge leaps forward for a brand which previously modeled their dolls almost exclusively on a thin, white ideal—with the first Black and Latina Barbie dolls not released until 1980. Now, it is clear that the brand has shifted its priorities.

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    Mattel recognizes the need for young girls to have strong and talented women like Osaka to look up to. Lisa McKnight, senior ranking executive at Mattel, said of Osaka that “she has paved the way for future generations of girls to dream bigger, and through her unwavering courage and honesty, shown the world the importance of being your own biggest champion.” The 23-years-old four-time Grand Slam winner, is also a mental health advocate and activist against racial injustice. 

    This real-life role model has certainly earned the title through her outspokenness about her own mental health issues and the necessity to prioritize oneself, even writing about such struggles in her recent Time Magazine article “It’s O.K. to Not Be O.K.” Although Osaka has withdrawn from both Wimbledon and the French Open as a result of social anxiety and media pressure, she is eager to represent Tokyo in the 2021 Olympics. 

    While the Naomi Osaka dolls are currently out of stock, you can be notified on the Mattel website of any restocks. Fingers crossed, that you can snag one of your own soon. 

    Top Image: Via Mattel, Middle Image: Via Bob Keating