First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey sat down together in a conference last Tuesday at the United State of Women summit in Washington D.C.
Topics of discussion included self image, challenges women face in work and personal life, Mrs. Obama’s role as first lady, advice to women moving forward, as well as advice to men.
After watching that, I wanted to take some time to just briefly share my thoughts on it because there is a lot going on in the video that deals with what got me writing about the things I do. I don’t want to go into too much detail here in the post because I’d rather open this up for discussion in the comments.
First of all, we have two very powerful and accomplished women in this video who stand for a cause and continuously work to achieve their goals. That in itself is very inspiring and admirable. You can tell they have this passion, this fire for what they believe in and they have both made tremendous impact in our current culture.
I really like the fact that they discuss self worth and how important it is to have a strong sense of self. We hear things like this when we are young and we don’t always know what it means, and for me, I reached a point in my life where I realized that knowing who I am, having self respect and standing my ground are some of the most important values that will take me through life’s challenges. In my view, you absolutely must give yourself some time to get your mental and emotional shit together so you can take on the world. If you don’t, and you don’t know who you are, what you stand for, and are just concerned about pleasing others so they will like you, you won’t be happy with where this leads you.
You can tell that Michelle is very strong and self actualized. She knows her worth and she won’t take crap from anyone, but she carries this attitude with authenticity and grace. This is what I love to see in women especially, since we live in a world where women feel as though they have to choose between being pleasant and being assertive.
I like how they are honest about the challenges women face in balancing their time between career and motherhood and the concept of having it all. They don’t just say you can have it all, you can do it all. Having it all means different things to different people. You can have what you want, but you must first have priorities and know the value of your time and of your work. The ladies seem to understand this well.
Another thing I enjoyed about the conversation were about how they have used their platform as a means for public service rather than just to pedestalize themselves for being famous. Also how they mentioned how you should surround yourself with uplifting individuals and stay away from the haters, although I never really like the term “haters.” I prefer to use the word “critics,” as it sounds more sophisticated. Then again at their level of fame, they probably do have a lot more people who just hate for the sake of hating.
Now later on in the video, we get to a point where Oprah asks Michelle what advice she has for men, in which Michelle simply answers, “Be better. Be better at everything.” She then goes to list the things that men could be better at. Maybe it wasn’t exactly what she said that doesn’t sit well with me, but it was more about how she said it with emphasis and undertones of contempt. Her and Oprah have a laugh about it, and Michelle says she could go on about the topic, but she won’t.
I’d love to pick her brain about this because it’s obvious she has specific reasons for saying that men should be better. I just wonder why she doesn’t credit them for their success and work or give the same advice to women with the same amount of conviction. Yes, men can be better. Women can be better. We can all be better. But let’s not forget how much we have all done to improve up to this point. It would have been better of her to say, “Be your best selves.”
So those are just a few of my initial reactions to their conversation. Feel free to watch the video and let me know what you think.