The expectation to “have it all” is something Michelle Obama is tired of hearing.
During a recent talk on her book tour for Becoming, the former First Lady said the philosophy of “leaning in,” which was popularized by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, is “a lie.”
“That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same time,” Obama said at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday. “It’s not always enough to lean in, because that s**t doesn’t work all the time.”
After swearing, Obama quickly apologized to the audience. “I forgot where I was for a moment.”
The method of “leaning in” or to “lean in” is essentially the idea that women can have a healthy balance of their personal and work lives. The philosophy encouraged women to assert themselves at work to land leadership roles.
In the past (Sandberg’s book came out in 2013), Sandberg was criticized for focusing too much on personal anecdotes instead of research.
“It is impossible to forget that she, like many of the female friends she quotes, is a wealthy, white, married woman with a ‘vast support system,'” wrote critic Connie Schultz for the Washington Post.
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“Surely she could have included a story or two about successful women who are more likely to have been born to nannies than to hire them. Or at least more who didn’t graduate from the Ivy League.”
Schultz argued the book was also a good starting point for women, young and old, considering further advancement in their career fields. “Lean In has the potential to be an important book if a wider range of women than those reflected in its pages start hashing out Sandberg’s best ideas. In our family, and in families across the country, may the conversations begin.”
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During the Brooklyn book tour, Obama also chimed in about marriage, Glamour reported.
“Marriage still ain’t equal, y’all. It ain’t equal. I tell women, that whole ‘you can have it all’ — mmm, nope.” She also brought up going to marriage counselling with Barack Obama.
“People are like, ‘Oh, why’d she talk about marriage counselling?'” she continued. “I’m like, ‘Duh.’ Marriage is hard, you know. It is hard. . I love my husband, and we have a great marriage, and we’ve had a great marriage, but marriage is hard work.”
She also advised the audience not to rush into it. “Marriage is a lot of work, and it should be. It’s two independent individuals who are trying to come together to build a life forever.”
Hearing the former First Lady swear had the audience roaring, multiple sources said. On social media, fans of Obama were just as into it.
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