Michelle Obama Talks Facing Double Standards and Defying Expectation
"Was I too loud or too emasculating? Or was I too soft? Too much of a mom and not enough of a career woman?”
During a commencement speech at Tuskegee University in Alabama on Saturday, First Lady Michelle Obama talked about the varying standards women are expected to live up to and the racist scrutiny she received in the run-up the 2008 election:
As potentially the first African-American first lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations, conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud or too emasculating? Or was I too soft? Too much of a mom and not enough of a career woman?
[…] Then there was the first time I was on a magazine cover. It was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge afro and a machine gun. Now, yeah, it was satire, but if I’m really being honest, it knocked me back a bit. It made me wonder ‘just how are people seeing me?'”
The bad-ass FLOTUS also explained how she stayed true to her own passions throughout her husband’s presidency:
I…worked to ensure that my efforts would resonate with kids and families — and that meant doing things in a creative and unconventional way. So, yeah, I planted a garden, and hula-hooped on the White House lawn with kids. I did some mom dancing on TV … And at the end of the day, by staying true to the me I’ve always known, I found that this journey has been incredibly freeing.
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