MICHELLE OBAMA JUST SAID
“THAT whole ‘so you can have it all’. Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie,” said Michelle Obama. “And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that s*** doesn’t work all the time.”
The crowd at her Saturday night book-tour stop was already hanging on every word, but this line set them alight.
A former first lady saying the s-word will always cause a stir, and Obama quickly apologised – “I forgot where I was for a moment!”
But the excitement was for something else, too – a jolt of affirmation. The audience in Brooklyn’s Barclays Centre, and the younger fans who endlessly shared and retweeted the moment, felt the delight of having their feelings seen and recognised and their disappointment validated.
Obama’s reference to “leaning in” called out Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book and the movement it sparked. On the heels of the Great Recession, the Facebook chief operating officer encouraged young women to follow her example.
promised that working harder would lead to individual advancement and to a more gender-equitable economy as a whole.
Except it didn’t. The eager young joiners of the “Lean In” circles watched as the number of women in leadership positions actually fell after the book’s publication, as the #Metoo movement exposed more intractable barriers to success and as Sandberg herself came under fire for her behaviour at Facebook. It was all deflating, but really that deflation is just part of a larger trend.
A generation of millennials feels let down by our elders, experts, institutions or some combination of the three: those whom we were asked to look up to and trust in the most important arenas of life. Their supposedly surefire paths to success (or at least stability) now feel more like scams. We’re building up to a backlash.
Disappointment in the promises of mainstream politicians, for example, manifested in support for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and in the rapid rise of New York Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Democrat, in 2018. Her democratic socialist politics are a repudiation of what establishment would have us accept. We’re hoping she, one of us, will upend the system.
MARTIN Solveig and Olympique Lyonnais’s Ada Hegerberg with the Women’s Ballon d’or award. |