Want to know what a modern feminist looks like? Just read these words. “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.”
This is just part of an essay written by President Barack Obama for Glamour Magazine this month. In a year that has been both historically progressive for women as well as absolutely insulting and degrading, this is an amazing piece of writing. The President so eloquently, but also simply states what it means to be a feminist. Cindi Leive, the Editor-in-Chief of Glamour, said on “CBS This Morning” that she thought the essay went “beyond the kind of boilerplate ‘I believe in strong women’ that at this point anybody can mouth pretty effectively.” She continued, “It did strike me as this very modern moment, something that we wouldn’t have heard probably from any other president, but honestly we would not have heard before this year. I do think the embrace of the term feminism by men as well as women has really been on the rise.” He is also clearly saying what many people are thinking as according to a new survey by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 60 percent of women and 33 percent of men consider themselves a feminist.
Though we shouldn’t really be surprised by this fine piece of writing as he is the father of two smart and proud young women as well as the husband of the always amazing Michelle Obama.”I also have to admit that when you’re the father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society,” he wrote. “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.”
And the President sees that the only way to change those social cues is to make major changes in the culture. “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,” Obama wrote. “We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.”
He ended the already strong essay on a very hopeful not. With this historic election, he reminded everyone about what the possibilities of what having more women in positions of power and influence could be. “I want them to know that it’s never been just about the Benjamins; it’s about the Tubmans too,” he wrote. “That’s what twenty-first century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.”