Obama essay trashes sexism: Extraordinary time to be woman
“This is an extraordinary time to be a woman.”
This was one of the quotes US President Barack Obama crafted in his riveting piece about feminism, family and his presidency published on Thursday.
In a gripping 1,500-word essay for fashion news site Glamour, Obama reflected his tranquil thoughts on fatherhood, elucidating that the “greatest unexpected gift” of being the 44th American President was to have more time for his daughters Sasha, 16, and Malia, 18.
“But for the past seven and a half years, that commute has been reduced to 45 seconds—the time it takes to walk from my living room to the Oval Office. As a result, I’ve been able to spend a lot more time watching my daughters grow up into smart, funny, kind, wonderful young women,” he wrote.
He then swiveled his focus to the evolution of women from the old times up to the modern era, where women sprout as pioneers in sectors once monopolized by men, such as space, sports, Hollywood and government.
Obama saliently noted, “I’ve witnessed how women have won the freedom to make your own choices about how you’ll live your lives—about your bodies, your educations, your careers, your finances. Gone are the days when you needed a husband to get a credit card. In fact, more women than ever, married or single, are financially independent.”
The 55-year-old President challenged Americans to extinguish stereotypes of both sexes—parents should not scrutinize girls for voicing out their opinions and boys for weeping and showing signs of weakness. “We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, and penalizes working mothers…We need to keep changing a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of color,” he wrote.
He concluded that women should have a feminist dad like him because “now that’s what they expect of all men.” His perceptions of women’s struggles, chiefly his wife Michelle’s, shaped his knowledge and stance on feminism, he wrote. As Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton crusades to be US’ first woman in the White House, Obama distinctly illustrated her victory as a “historic moment for America” and a win for gender equality.
“That’s what twenty-first-century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free,” he ended his piece. Gianna Francesca Catolico