President Obama wrote an essay on feminism for Glamour’s September issue, reiterating several points he’s made about feminism and equality of the sexes. The essay, which hit on his 55th birthday, provides a personal look at his experiences with the negative effects of gender stereotyping.
“I’ve seen how Michelle has balanced the demands of a busy career and raising a family,” he wrote. “Like many working mothers, she worried about the expectations and judgments of how she should handle the trade-offs, knowing that few people would question my choices.”
The president also acknowledged that when he looks back at their time raising daughters Malia and Sasha, especially in the early years, he was “often away from home serving in the state legislature, while also juggling my teaching responsibilities as a law professor.”
“I can look back now and see that, while I helped out, it was usually on my schedule and on my terms. The burden disproportionately and unfairly fell on Michelle.”
It’s a common lament of working mothers and celebrities, including Obama family friends John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, who have asked publicly about the lack of “dad-shaming.”
Obama also admitted another common refrain from well-intentioned men: It’s not until a man has daughters that the real awareness of ” how gender stereotypes pervade our society” starts to sink in.
“You see the subtle and not-so-subtle social cues transmitted through culture. You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.”
He goes on to say that it was important that Sasha and Malia’s “dad is a feminist because now that’s what they expect of all men.”
Equally important, we would offer, is for all girls and boys see that the leader of their country is a vocal feminist so that the next generation knows what to expect of all people.