President Barack Obama is a feminist and he’s not afraid to let the world know it. In an impassioned essay for Glamour magazine, POTUS wrote about the negative impact rigid gender stereotypes have on people of all gender identities, racial identities and sexual identities ― and the special importance of “21st-century feminism” in an election year in which Democrats have nominated a woman to be president and Republicans have nominated a misogynistic cheeto.
Obama wrote about his own relationship with feminism, and called on men to join the cause: “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.”
The essay touches on “the progress” we’ve made over the past 100 years in the United States. But, of course, making progress doesn’t mean we’ve reached gender equality. In fact, as Obama acknowledges, we are still far from it in many respects. We still have a notable gender wage gap, which disproportionately impacts women of color. Sexual violence against women (and men) remains underreported. Women of all colors remain underrepresented in the highest levels of government, business and tech. And the list goes on...
It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. Barack Obama
The below messages are pretty amazing coming from the (male) president of the United States:
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.
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.
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 the attitude that values being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace ― unless you’re a woman.... We need to keep changing a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of color.
Obama related these double standards and gaps back to his own life, and the lives of his daughters, Sasha and Malia. As a father of daughters, Obama acknowledged that gender equality has become an even more personal cause for him.
“It’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men,” he wrote.
And in the midst of an election where we have seen misogyny used as a campaign strategy, Obama’s reminder that “it’s never been just about the Benjamins; it’s about the Tubmans too,” feels especially important.
To read Obama’s full essay, head over to Glamour.