I loved this genuine reaction by Michelle during her tour stop in New York City. Thank you to NPR for the report!
Michelle Obama’s fans have often remarked that she comes across as authentic even as her every move is analyzed, and sometimes criticized.
One such moment of candor occurred this weekend, as the former first lady took the stage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, the latest stop on the arena-filling tour for her memoir, Becoming.
As she spoke with her friend, the poet Elizabeth Alexander, Obama talked about the challenges of balancing career and family.
“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.”
The writer and cultural commentator Touré was there and tweeted that the audience “freaked out” when Obama used the curse word — and that the former first lady herself said she “forgot where she was for a moment.”
Cellphone cameras were recording as she realized what she’d said.
“I’m back now,” Obama said, smiling and looking a bit sheepish. She rephrased her assessment. “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, to delighted laughter from the audience.
Obama’s mention of “lean in” was a reference to Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s mantra and 2013 book that called on women to be more assertive in the workplace. Sandberg has been under scrutiny following a New York Times report last month that she had played an active role in a campaign to discredit Facebook’s critics.