During the latest stop on Michelle Obama’s Becoming book tour at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, our forever First Lady kept it all the way real about the challenges women face in the workplace and at home.
“Marriage still ain’t equal, y’all,” Mrs. Obama told the sold out crowd. “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.”
She added, “And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time.”
While Obama — who worked as a lawyer and hospital administrator before moving into the White House — was serving up that good word (and apologized forgetting “where she was for a minute”), many people simply focused on her use of the word, “sh-t.”
Cute moment at Michelle Obama’s book event tonight at the Barclays—she was getting into it & she said, “That lean in shit doesn’t always work!” Everyone freaked out that the First Lady had said "shit.” Michelle, too. She apologized. “I forgot where I was for a moment!” But…
— Touré (@Toure) December 2, 2018
— Michelle Ha Tucker (@michellecyha) December 2, 2018
Despite waiting in the rain for an hour to get into the Barclays Center, I was just in the same room as @MichelleObama and she accidentally said “shit” and it was amazing and my life has been forever changed. #IAmBecoming
— Megan (@megan_musings) December 2, 2018
these michelle obama tix became 100% worth it when she said “lean in? that shit don’t work”
— blackish panther (@zannsastark) December 2, 2018
Moments of candor are rare in politics, particularly from the Obamas who were under the hot glare of the media spotlight for nearly a decade and carried the burden of representation on their shoulders. But Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is from the South Side of Chicago; I’m pretty sure this ain’t the first time the s-word (or something even more spicy) fell from her lips.
Still, her point remains. For many women — especially Black women — Sheryl Sandberg’s advice to “lean in” and work harder to move up the corporate ladder just isn’t feasible because we’re already stretched so thin–and still making just 63-cents to every white man’s dollar.
So yes, Obama was right, it’s very difficult for women to have it all, especially when many of us are forced to do it all — work, raise kids, love up on spouses — for less money.
While bringing home the bacon and frying it up every day can feel hard as hell, hearing Obama–one of the most popular and powerful women in the world–talk about issues that everyday women know intimately, helps many of us feel a little less alone.