On His Birthday, President Obama Gives A Gift To Every American Woman And Girl

President Barack Obama, the president who has done more for women than any previous president in recent history, penned a beautiful ode to feminism in Glamour Magazine.

Yeah, he wrote in Glamour. You have to love this guy. But wait, because there’s so much more here.

President Obama wrote that in spite of all of the policy changes we’ve made, “(T)he most important change may be the toughest of all—and that’s changing ourselves.”
Detailing his own struggle with his identity as a male in our culture, Obama talked about life getting easier when he simply started being himself, “But as I got older, I realized that my ideas about being a tough guy or cool guy just weren’t me. They were a manifestation of my youth and insecurity. Life became a lot easier when I simply started being myself.”

Obama’s feminism isn’t just about empowering women and girls but also letting boys and men be who they are, “So we need to break through these limitations. 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. We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.”

The President said we need to change the routine harassment of women from walking down the street to going online (preach!), “We need to keep changing the attitude that permits the routine harassment of women, whether they’re walking down the street or daring to go online. We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women.”

Obama addressed some of the criticisms we hear about Hillary Clinton, without mentioning her name, and true enough these apply to all powerful women, “We need to keep changing the attitude that values being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace—unless you’re a woman. Then you’re being too bossy, and suddenly the very qualities you thought were necessary for success end up holding you back.”

I can’t even keep track of the number of times someone has told me that they don’t trust Hillary Clinton because she seems so ambitious or power hungry. As if there is a powerful politician in DC who is not both of those things.

Obama touched on the specific double gotcha that faces women of color, “We need to keep changing a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of color.”

Speaking of raising his own two girls, the President said, “And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.”

The President urged men to join women in fighting sexism, “It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. And as spouses and partners and boyfriends, we need to work hard and be deliberate about creating truly equal relationships.”

It is never easy for someone who doesn’t experience the ism to advocate for it and get it, but it’s obvious that President Obama has been brought here by the love of four very strong women- his mother, his wife, and his two daughters. Love transforms us and helps us arrive at the place where we listen.

Just as men need to join with women (and I see so many doing this online) to fight sexism, women need to respect men being whole beings who are afraid sometimes and who cry sometimes. Feminism really comes down to our humanity, to see us each as a person not limited by gender roles and expectations.

President Obama has been the family values President of a generation. This is just one more reason why his leadership on moral issues of equality and justice will be remembered and honored for years to come.

This is the kind of article every woman wants their partner to be able to write. And our President did it, in Glamour no less.

It’s fitting that on his birthday, our 44th President would give a gift to women and girls.

Image: Shared by First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday to honor her husband’s birthday

Sarah Jones

Copyright PoliticusUSA LLC 2008-2023