Published: Tue, December 04, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Dora Pope

Analyst tells of how meeting Michelle Obama changed her life

Analyst tells of how meeting Michelle Obama changed her life

Upon hearing her utter a profanity, the packed 19,000-seat arena lost it, erupting in cheers and laughter.

Before Mrs Obama's arrival, numerous girls stood up in front of their peers in the crowded gym to make pledges about actions they would take to have a positive impact on their school and their wider community.

The crowd applauded when the word dropped while Obama laughed it off.

The uncharacteristic remark even appeared to catch Obama off-guard.

After swearing, Obama quickly apologized to the audience.

"And all the fears and all the challenges that you face - you guys give me a sense of comfort because being the first lady wasn't the easiest job in the world but I got strength from your hope in what I could do for you".

Obama was quick to apologise, saying she forgot where she was for a moment. According to Elle, her expletive drew plenty of gasps.

The shock of hearing perma-composed Obama let slip a swear is entertaining, but it shouldn't (and I don't think it did) overshadow her message and her criticism of the advice to "lean in", as coined by Sheryl Sandberg.

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Sandberg's approach has been criticised for suggesting that individual women have to be the solution to workplace inequality rather than widespread policy changes. The philosophy encouraged women to assert themselves at work to land leadership roles.

While Obama has not criticized Trump directly at events to promote her memoir, she does criticize him in the book.

Perhaps Sandberg should take Obama's advice to heart and lean out for a bit.

The women have in common many things - largely that they have had to adapt to a life that is more pressurised than they could have ever imagined.

During the public talk in the United Kingdom, she also reminisced about her school years, when she was slammed for talking "like she was white".

"In terms of women in leadership roles, we are not better off", she told USA Today previous year.

She told some 300 students - mostly girls aged between 11 and 18 - at a north London school that her past visit there as first lady in 2009 had inspired her to work for better education.

She said she, her husband and daughters, Sasha, 17, and Malia, 20, had a wonderful life in the White House but added that she was grateful they all "came out of those eight years in one piece".

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