She might be first lady, an accomplished lawyer and an icon worldwide, but Michelle Obama isn't immune to sexism.
While speaking in Argentina during a two-day visit, Obama brought into the open her own encounters with sexism, as she discussed the power of education. Obama recalled that as a youngster, her teachers would ask her brother about his career goals while question her about the kind of man she wanted to marry.
“As I got older, I found that men would whistle at me as I walked down the street, as if my body were their property, as if I were an object to be commented on instead of a full human being with thoughts and feelings of my own,” Obama said. “I began to realize that the hopes I had for myself were in conflict with the messages I was receiving from people around me.”
Obama added that people’s comments made her question herself, until there came a point where she stopped caring about what others thought.
“I decided not to listen to the voices of those who doubted or dismissed me. Instead, I decided to listen to my own voice,” she said.
Interestingly, this is not the first time the first lady has tackled sexism head on during a public address. Just a few weeks ago on Women’s Day, Obama promoted Let Girls Learn and said, “like most women, I know what it feels like to be overlooked.”
Even as first lady, Obama remembers these painful lessons and is using her voice and influence to make sure fewer American girls have to deal with sexism, obesity and inadequate education.