Former first lady Michelle Obama gave her very candid opinion Saturday on the idea that women can “have it all” when it comes to work and family.
Speaking during a New York event to promote her new book “Becoming,” Obama called out Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean in” method.
"Marriage still ain't equal y'all, it ain't equal. I tell woman that whole 'you can have it all...' nope, not at the same time--that's a lie,” she said. “And its not always enough to ‘Lean In,' cause that sh-t doesn’t work."
Obama promptly apologized for her strong language.
“I forgot where I was for a moment!” she quickly added. “I thought we were at home, y’all. I was gettin’ real comfortable up in here. Sometimes that stuff doesn't work. So oftentimes it's not equal and you feel a bit resentful and so then it's time to go to marriage counseling.”
Sandberg argued in her 2013 book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” that women can “have it all” if they work hard enough and have peer support.
However, she told USA Today in 2017 that there were issues with her approach and women were not “better off” four years after the release of her book.
"My goal is very clear, and I wrote about it in Lean In, which is that women run half our companies and countries and men run half our homes,” she said at the time. “As much as I wish that could happen in four years, I don't think that's a likely time period but I think it can happen sooner than we think. Part of it is having that aspiration and that goal. I think we too often suffer from the tyranny of low expectations."
Later in her speech, the former first lady spoke at greater length about her difficulties with marriage. She said sometimes young people enter in to marriage too hastily.
"I love my husband and we have a great marriage and had a great marriage but a marriage is hard work,” she emphasized. “ And I say that because I see too many young people who frivolously enter into marriage, they think the love and the courtship part has something to do with what marriage is and it doesn't."