Former first lady Michelle Obama became so impassioned during her discussion of women’s rights in the marketplace that she uttered a rare public curse word that blew people’s wigs back.
The beloved U.S. dignitary and two-time Ivy League graduate is in the middle of her wildly popular national book tour for Becoming at the sold-out Barclays Center in New York. Obama was articulating her disagreement with the host, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, about the concept of women “leaning in.” Sandberg released a book in 2013 entitled Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will, in which she admonished women to market themselves as “marketable consumer objects” by practicing negotiating tactics and striving for leadership roles.
Obama, 54, whose memoir Becoming is the runaway bestselling book of 2018, said Sandberg’s line of thinking fails to acknowledge the existence of toxic sexism, adding:
“Marriage still ain’t equal, y’all,” she said, according to Vanity Fair. “It ain’t equal. I tell women that whole ‘you can have it all’ — mmm, nope, not at the same time, that’s a lie. It’s not always enough to lean in because that s— doesn’t work.”
“It ain’t always enough to LEAN in…. OOOP did I say that?” #iambecoming @MichelleObama #newmarkjreports @barclayscenter pic.twitter.com/Vxk87ZFtje
— Deirdre Bardolf (@deirdre_bardolf) December 2, 2018
When the crowd went wild after Obama uttered the word “s—,” she quickly apologized.
“I forgot where I was for a moment,” she said shyly as the audience howled.
“I’m back now,” Obama added, smiling sheepishly. She then repeated her assessment, sans the profanity. “But sometimes that stuff doesn’t work.”
“So oftentimes it’s not equal. And you feel a bit resentful about it. And so then it’s time to go to marriage counseling,” she added, which elicited laughter from the audience.
Sociopolitical commentator Touré, who was in the audience, noted that the audience “freaked out” when Obama used the curse word.
“The moment was overshadowed by Michelle O saying s— in public which is a silly thing to get excised about & points to our fetish with civility over all else,” Touré said on Twitter. “The substance of the sentence — a rejection of Sheryl Sandberg’s controversial ethos — is much more interesting
Some folks took aim at Obama for her choice of words:
“The real Obama finally shows her nasty self,” said Twitter user Lloyd Johnson. “An angry privileged woman.”
Others, however, were almost ecstatic that Obama spoke her mind, raw and uncut. They believe Obama feels freer to express herself more candidly than she could during her years as the wife of a junior senator and president.
“I love it. She can say whatever she wants now. Finally,” one Twitter user tweeted.
“This is how I picture Auntie Mich in er’yday convo cause she’s a real one,” wrote another.
“She’s right you know,” tweeted a third person. “There was a generation of us who were told we could have it all and felt somewhat a failure when we knew we couldn’t. Thanks for validating what we knew all along, Michelle.”
What do you think of this? Are we too sensitive or petty to be focusing on the former first lady’s slip of the tongue?