Michelle Obama & Meryl Streep On Raising Strong Daughters

Photo: ©David Slijper/MORE Magazine
The unofficial First Lady of Hollywood, Meryl Streep, recently joined the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, at the White House for a fascinating discussion on raising daughters. The two joined forces in the July / August issue of MORE magazine. The leading women wasted no time jumping into a candid conversation on the challenges women face today, whether they're in Hollywood, politics or...a teenage girl.

While the First Lady is focused on encouraging daughters Malia and Sasha to be strong, independent individuals, she makes sure to "never lecture them about self-confidence. You sneak those conversations in when you’re talking to them about their friendships, or about the challenges they faced in a game, or something that their dad said that made them mad. That’s when I find they’ll hear the messages most.”

Because at the end of the day, "all you’re doing is guiding," FLOTUS continues. "You’re just slightly steering the boat. They come [into the world] with so much of who they are already in place. It’s easy to step in and push them hard in a [certain] direction. I have to fight that. It’s better to give them space and support."

Streep agrees, admitting that her girls (Mamie, Grace, and Louisa) "came into the world strong —which was terrifying." But the Academy Award winner says the emphasis on strong women over strong men is a bit disjointed: "People will say to me, ‘You’ve played so many strong women…’ and I’ll say, Have you ever said to a man, ‘You’ve played so many strong men?’ No! Because the expectation is [men] are varied. Why can’t we have that expectation about women?" (Sadly, when it comes to Hollywood, the numbers more than support her statement).

The actress continues when asked about the biggest obstacles facing young women today, "For the first time, we have the expectation that we can have a broad array of choices, that we could lead in almost any part of society. And yet we face resistance ... The challenge for our girls, I think, is dealing with that resistance. How can we lift and defuse it, how do we make it so our equality is not so threatening?"

And in case you're wondering, she's still just as supportive of fellow thespian Patricia Arquette’s now-infamous Oscar speech, touting the need to address wage disparity, reminding us that Arquette "wasn’t talking off the top of her head. It’s absolutely true."

So what to do now? At the end of the day, it's all about accepting one another, the First Lady reminds us, because "Sometimes we, as women, are critical of each other’s choices. Should I have a career? What if I want to stay home and raise my kids? What if I don’t want power? ... We’re all different people with different aspirations and goals."

Different people, different goals, indeed. Now let's just say goodbye to different pay scales, please.

Read the complete interview when the June/July issue of MORE hits newsstands, June 23.
Advertisement