“I say that not just as President but also as a feminist.”
Those words, coming from the 44th sitting president are historic in their own way. Never before has a head of the United States proclaimed, with such conviction and knowledge, that he considers himself to be a feminist.
On Thursday, Barack Obama’s essay about his role as a feminist and the importance of that not only to this nation, but to his two teen daughters.
“As a parent, helping your kids to rise above these constraints is a constant learning process. 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. 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.”
The president explains that his hero growing up was Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, an African American woman who was the first African American to run for a major party’s presidential nomination.
The president also explains that the most important people in his life have always been women – from his single mother and grandmother to his wife and daughters, he has been surrounded by strong, African American women as role models.
“I want all of our daughters and sons to see that this, too, is their inheritance. I want them to know that it’s never been just about the Benjamins; it’s about the Tubmans too. And I want them to help do their part to ensure that America is a place where every single child can make of her life what she will.
That’s what twenty-first century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.”
You can read the president’s essay in its entirety on Glamour.