- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2016

President Obama wrote an article for Glamour magazine Thursday explaining the importance of being a feminist role model for his two teenage daughters.

In the essay, which Glamour titled, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like,” the president declared it’s “an extraordinary time to be a woman” in the U.S. but acknowledged there’s still a lot of work to do to “improve the prospects of women and girls here and around the world.”

“And while I’ll keep working on good policies — from equal pay for equal work to protecting reproductive rights — there are some changes that have nothing to do with passing new laws,” Mr. Obama wrote. “In fact, the most important change may be the toughest of all — and that’s changing ourselves.

“We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear,” he continued. “We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs. We need to keep changing the attitude that permits the routine harassment of women, whether they’re walking down the street or daring to go online. We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women.

“We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, and penalizes working mothers,” he wrote. “We need to keep changing the attitude that values being confident, competitive and ambitious in the workplace — unless you’re a woman. Then you’re being too bossy, and suddenly the very qualities you thought were necessary for success end up holding you back. We need to keep changing a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of color.”

Mr. Obama noted that the 2016 presidential race is history in the making with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on the ballot.

“No matter your political views, this is a historic moment for America. And it’s just one more example of how far women have come on the long journey toward equality,” he wrote.

Glamour’s editor-in-chief, Cindi Leive, told CBS Thursday that Mr. Obama’s essay “goes beyond the kind of boilerplate — ‘I believe in strong women’ — that at this point, anybody can mouth pretty effectively.”

“It did strike me as this very modern moment — something that we wouldn’t have heard probably from any other president,” Ms. Leive said. “But honestly, we would not have not heard before because I think the embrace of the term ‘feminism’ by men as well as women has really been on the rise.

“He’s paying attention,” she said.

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