President Obama Writes Essay On Why Men Need To Be Feminists

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You probably didn’t need to guess that President Obama is a feminist. He’s never been shy about his love for his daughters, respect for his wife, or belief that women’s rights are human rights. Though his presidency has been marked mainly by achievements for all people (healthcare and marriage equality are just two examples), Michelle Obama’s term as First Lady has been one of the most active and powerful since Hillary Clinton's.

Obama wrote an essay for Glamour about the importance of male feminism, especially when it comes to raising his daughters. He says that he had a major personal breakthrough when he stopped worrying about gender roles and focused on being himself.

“We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear,” Obama writes. “We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.”

First of all, it’s incredible that a sitting president would write an essay like that. Secondly, he’s exactly right. One of the best things about progressive social attitudes is that people can unbox themselves from gender and see that there’s a whole world out there.

And Obama says he’s not raising his daughters to remain silent.

“Michelle and I have raised our daughters to speak up when they see a double standard or feel unfairly judged based on their gender or race — or when they notice that happening to someone else,” Obama writes. “It’s important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.”

Obama highlights the real importance of a father’s example. We often look to our parents to model the ideal relationship. Either we accept their lead or go the complete opposite direction, but most of us are immersed in our parents' attitudes towards each other from pre-consciousness. So for him to model a feminist husband and partner is a key thing to show his daughters. The same would be true, doubly so, if he had had sons.

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