Michelle Obama is (without a doubt) one of the most influential women of the 21st century. The former First Lady is a lawyer and an award-winning author. She is a staunch advocate for health, wellness, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. During her time in the White House, Mrs. Obama oversaw several key initiatives, including Reach Higher and Let’s Move! And she’s also a mom, of course to Malia, 21, and Sasha, 18.
And on Saturday, she got candid about what it’s like to parent two young women, particularly young women who are coming to terms with their changing appearance and bodies. Mrs. Obama told Oprah at the Brooklyn stop of her 2020 Vision Tour that societal expectations of beauty aren’t just frustrat!ng, they are wrong. “We are so rid!cul-ous as women,” she said. “We don’t want to talk about our age, and then we want to act like we should look like we did when were 20, you know? When, I’m sorry, men you can look any kind of way. And it seems to be okay.”
“I told my daughters, because as they’re getting older they start to judge themselves and it’s interesting when they talk about, ‘I can’t fit in my jeans that I had last year.’ I said, ‘But you’re a whole other year older. You’re now becoming a woman. You don’t have a child’s body.'”
That said, she understands where they are coming from. “People called me all kinds of things when I was campaigning for Barack, like it was a competition,” she said. “Men talked about the size of my b*tt. There are people who were telling me I was angry. That stuff h*rts, and it makes you sort of wonder, what are people seeing? That stuff is there. And look, I’m a Black woman in America. And you know, we’re not always made to feel beautiful. So there’s still that baggage that we carry, and not everyone can relate to that.” The good news is that she’s learned how to carry that baggage without letting it weigh her down.
“I try hard not to judge it [my body],” she said. “It’s different. You have to get to know your body, because what this body is at 56—I can’t do the things I did when I was 36. It’s not the same body. We are living things. We’re not machines. You know, we run out of gas. We need fuel. We need sunshine and light. We need to take care of ourselves and when you don’t, as you get older, just like any living thing it begins to fail on you. And for me, I’m trying to figure out, what is that balance that I need to make sure that this body, that God gave me, that I’m taking care of it the best that I can and that it will serve me well as I get older.”
This is not the first time she’s spoken out about the importance of self-care and self-love. During her Becoming book tour, Obama told Gayle King that all women need to prioritize their wellness.”When it comes to our health as women, we are so busy giving and doing for others that we almost feel gu!lty to take that time out for ourselves,” she said. “A lot of mothers will understand this, because I found myself looking around after I had my kids, and I didn’t have time for me, but my husband was at the gym every day. And I was like, well, how are you going to the gym? He was like, ‘I make time for the gym.'” Shortly thereafter, she made time for herself.
“When it comes to our health as women, we are so busy giving and doing for others that we almost feel gu!lty to take that time out for ourselves,” she said. “A lot of mothers will understand this, because I found myself looking around after I had my kids, and I didn’t have time for me, but my husband was at the gym every day. And I was like, well, how are you going to the gym? He was like, ‘I make time for the gym.'” Shortly thereafter, she made time for herself.
This Article First Published On OPRAHMAG