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Michelle Obama’s Advice to Men: “Y’all Need to Go Talk to Each Other About Your Stuff.”

Remember when the U.S. had a president and a first lady who actually cared about people? Those were some good times. Barack and Michelle Obama didn’t stop caring once they left office, so they created the Obama Foundation, the purpose of which is to “equip civic innovators, young leaders, and everyday citizens with the skills and tools they need to create change in their communities.” The foundation just held its inaugural summit, at which Michelle Obama took to the stage yesterday.

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In a conversation with poet Elizabeth Alexander, the full, hour-long video of which you can watch HERE, Obama discussed her sources of inspiration, and what it takes to live a life of public service. She also spent a good portion of the conversation talking about the importance of women having female friends to keep you grounded and help you take care of yourself. She then talked about how she believes that similar relationships would benefit men. She said:

“Women, we do it better than men. I know … sad for you guys. Y’all should get you some freyuns. [laughs] Get you some friends! And talk to each other. ‘Cause that’s the other thing we do. We straighten each other out on some things, our girlfriends. And sometimes I wish…sometimes I’m like Barack, who’re you talkin’ to?! Y’all need to go talk to each other about your stuff, because there’s so much of it. It’s so messy. Just talk about why y’all are the way you are. Because you’re running the world.”

The conversation then turned to how gender affects how we raise our children, and she brought up the fact that parents tend to “love our boys, and we raise our girls.” Meaning that boys very often get to follow their own stars, whereas girls have to be perfect.

It reminded me of two of my best female friends, Latinas who come from a family of seven kids. The five older brothers came and went as they pleased, got to sleep in whenever they wanted, and never had any household responsibility. All of that was left to my two female friends who had to wake up at specific times, help with dinner, take out the trash, and were expected to lead a more disciplined life. Girls are raised to be there for others, boys are raised to be there for themselves.

Obama calls this a “we” problem, since mothers are partly responsible for raising their children. Male entitlement isn’t entirely on men. It’s a problem that we all help perpetuate.

It’s a fascinating conversation that also happens to be hilarious. I’m so grateful that the Obamas are continuing to do work that aims to make the world better. I’m absolutely here for it.

(via Mic, image: screencap)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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