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One of my biggest fears as a young woman was not being liked by other people. Nowhere did this come into play more strongly than in my writing career: It took me many years not to take the criticism of others personally. When I published my fifth book, Picasso: Creator and Destroyer, in 1988, I discovered that I’d angered the entire art establishment: how dare I criticize Picasso as a man? The fact is that an unconventional, self-assured woman is often seen as antithetical to her feminine nature–particularly when it comes to taking on an icon such as Picasso.

Has there been a time in your professional life when you held back out of fear that your assertiveness would make you unlikable? If you use your voice fearlessly, what would you say?

–Arianna Huffington

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