Michelle Obama gave a wonderful and rousing commencement speech at Tuskegee University in Alabama on Saturday. She spoke openly about the double standards she faced at the first African-American First Lady, telling the class of 2015 that she faced questions and scrutiny that other candidates’ wives did not.
“As potentially the first African-American first lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations, conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud or too emasculating? Or was I too soft? Too much of a mom and not enough of a career woman?”
Obama also spoke about the constant criticism she’s received for not having “bold” enough platforms, or for doing “unladylike” things, like dancing on national television or daring to wear shorts.
“I...worked to ensure that my efforts would resonate with kids and families — and that meant doing things in a creative and unconventional way. So, yeah, I planted a garden, and hula-hooped on the White House lawn with kids. I did some mom dancing on TV ... And at the end of the day, by staying true to the me I’ve always known, I found that this journey has been incredibly freeing.”
And to those critics who were disappointed by her emphasis on motherhood during her keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention:
“Look I love our daughters more than anything in the world, more than life itself. And while that may not be the first thing that some folks want to hear from an Ivy League-educated lawyer, it is truly who I am. So for me, being mom-in-chief, is and always will be job number one.”