Albeit unoriginal, I have to write about my excitement that Barack Obama has been sworn into office for the second time. While he is not perfect (who is?), I fullheartedly support him and his efforts to do good. Most of all, I admire his dedication to ensuring equality for ALL American people. His inaugural speech today reflected that quite nicely. I grinned unashamedly in the doctor’s office waiting room when I heard him reference Seneca Falls. He managed to voice his support for people of all races, genders, and sexual orientation and even highlighted his benevolence towards immigrants. You have to respect that about him, even if you disagree with some of his policies. It took me some time to realize (his entire first term, I suppose) that he is, in fact, a feminist. By my definition of the term, he is certainly living up to everything I would expect a feminist to be.
First of all, he has been whole heartedly supportive of women’s rights – equal pay, equal rights under the law, but especially women’s health. His unflinching support of a woman’s right to choose has always been one of the things I love most about him. Barack Obama on women’s rights:
“Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me. So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”
“Let’s be clear here. Women are not an interest group. They’re mothers and daughters and sisters and wives. They’re half of this country. And they’re perfectly capable of making their own choices about their health.”
Not only is he concerned about the well-being of women across the nation, but he empowers us by asserting that we are competent human beings who can make decisions for ourselves. Especially considering that these decisions are in relation to our own bodies. The fact the he does not want to encroach upon our agency over our own bodies is rare among politicians, it seems, particularly Republican politicians. The patriarchal need to control women’s bodies runs deep in our country, but Obama is standing up against it. Fuck yeah.
“He’s got me, he’s got my mom, he’s got our girls. He’s surrounded by women and he loves it. He’s very comfortable with women, and he’s comfortable with women who push him. That’s the only reason I could be married to him. It’s the only reason it could work.” – Michelle Obama
He just keeps getting better. His undeniable love and admiration for his wife show that he does not feel emasculated being with a strong and confident woman. He and Michelle build each other up and their relationship reflects a mutual respect and understanding that I can only hope I will find someday in a partner. He loves his daughters and he loves his wife, and his dedication to them clearly influences his views on women in general. In short, his love for his family has made him a feminist. And this of course includes his mother, who raised him as a single mom, something that he greatly respects her for. Obama is a man who has seen and experienced firsthand the impact women can have and the many talents and strengths they possess. I truly believe that this has helped shape the kind of man he is today, and the kind of President he is today. And I think he’s pretty great.
Of course, we still have some work to. There is more progress to be made. Ensuring equality under the law is one thing, but ensuring social equality is totally different (and more difficult). But I believe that with Obama in office we will see some positive changes, especially with a dynamic role model like Michelle Obama in the forefront of politics. Together, the Obamas are making a positive impact upon millions of young boys and girls by providing an example of a healthy relationship built on equality.
My President is a feminist and I couldn’t be more proud.