President Barack Obama takes aim at gender identity stereotypes in powerful feminist essay
President Barack Obama has declared himself a feminist in an article for Glamour Magazine, in which he shared his thoughts about his daughters and gender stereotypes.
On his birthday yesterday, the President published an article in the women’s magazine, in which he spoke about the world his daughters are growing up in.
He declared that “it is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too”, explaining that “Michelle and I have raised our daughters to speak up when they see a double standard or feel unfairly judged based on their gender or race—or when they notice that happening to someone else”
He wrote: “It’s important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.”
Elsewhere in the piece, the POTUS hailed the ways that the younger generation “refuses to be bound by old ways of thinking” in terms of gender identity.
He said: “And you’re helping all of us understand that forcing people to adhere to outmoded, rigid notions of identity isn’t good for anybody — men, women, gay, straight, transgender, or otherwise.
“These stereotypes limit our ability to simply be ourselves.”
He wrote: “When you’re the father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society.
“You see the subtle and not-so-subtle social cues transmitted through culture. You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.
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“And those same stereotypes affected my own consciousness as a young man. Growing up without a dad, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was, how the world perceived me, and what kind of man I wanted to be.
“It’s easy to absorb all kinds of messages from society about masculinity and come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be a man.
“But as I got older, I realised 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.
“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 criticises 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.”