How dreamy would it be to be able to sit in a room with Oprah Winfrey and First Lady Michelle Obama? They were at this week’s United State of Women Summit and the only thing that could’ve made it better was if Beyoncé was there too. But we digress. Michelle and Oprah hung out like gal pals, chatting about her time in the White House, gender equality — with Winfrey referencing the powerful speech President Barack Obama gave earlier — and doling out advice for the next generation of women. And men. Oh, don’t forget the men.
— UN Women (@UN_Women) June 14, 2016
FLOTUS had the following pearls of wisdom to share with the men out there. They are words that women rarely say out loud but have been thought for many, many, many years, maybe since the dawn of time.
“Be better,” she said. “Be better at everything. Be better fathers. Good lord, just being good fathers who love your daughters and are providing a solid example of what it means to be a good man in the world, showing them what it feels like to be loved. That is the greatest gift that the men in my life gave to me. And we’ve talked about this, the fact that I never experienced abuse at the hands of any man in my life. And that’s sad to say that that’s a rare reality. So men can be better at that.”
But she wasn’t done. In fact, this is where it gets really good.
“Men can be better husbands, which is be a part of your family’s life. Do the dishes. Don’t ‘babysit’ your children. You don’t ‘babysit’ your own children. Be engaged. Don’t just think going to work and coming home makes you a man. Being a father, being engaged, all that stuff is important. Be a better employer. When you are sitting at a seat of power at a table of any kind and you look around you and just see you, it’s just you and a bunch of men around a table, on a golf course, making deals, and you allow that to happen, and you’re okay with that — be better. . . Just be better.”
Right?! Unless he’s being paid an hourly rate, leaves the house as soon as you come through the door and took first aid classes to make sure he is ready, then HE’S NOT A BABYSITTER. He’s the dad, your partner in all this, from your relationship to the parenting, the cooking and the cleaning. It shouldn’t even be a question, it should just BE.
Of course, it should be said that while most men “don’t have to balance anything” and “don’t have to do it all,” like Michelle says, there are still many who do. And hats off to those men who know. But then again, they don’t need to listen to what FLOTUS has to say because they’re already practicing what she preaches.
Now, if a woman said the exact same words to her husband or partner or children’s father, it would come off as complain-y or naggy. But somehow, when Obama says them in that refreshingly simple and straightforward manner of hers, it packs more of a punch. There’s something about her delivery that is so impactful. Is it her position or title, or is it just that she knows? She lives it, she breathes it, this is her world and what she knows. So it totally makes sense to her. All she’s asking is, why shouldn’t it be that way for everyone else?