About Your Privacy on this Site
Welcome! To bring you the best content on our sites and applications, Meredith partners with third party advertisers to serve digital ads, including personalized digital ads. Those advertisers use tracking technologies to collect information about your activity on our sites and applications and across the Internet and your other apps and devices.
You always have the choice to experience our sites without personalized advertising based on your web browsing activity by visiting the DAA’s Consumer Choice page, the NAI's website, and/or the EU online choices page, from each of your browsers or devices. To avoid personalized advertising based on your mobile app activity, you can install the DAA’s AppChoices app here. You can find much more information about your privacy choices in our privacy policy. Even if you choose not to have your activity tracked by third parties for advertising services, you will still see non-personalized ads on our sites and applications. By clicking continue below and using our sites or applications, you agree that we and our third party advertisers can:
  • transfer your data to the United States or other countries; and
  • process and share your data so that we and third parties may serve you with personalized ads, subject to your choices as described above and in our privacy policy.

Body Image

Michelle Obama Encourages Her Daughters to Accept Their Bodies: ‘They Start to Judge Themselves’

Michelle Obama/Twitter

Posted on

Among the many pieces of wisdom (perhaps “too many,” she says jokingly) that Michelle Obama tries to impart on her daughters Malia and Sasha is the importance of bodily appreciation.

The former First Lady talked openly about the highs and lows of dealing with her own body image — along with the challenges faced by her now college-aged daughters — while sitting down with Oprah Winfrey at the Brooklyn stop of the Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour.

Obama first expressed her frustration over the societal expectation that women hide their age.

“We are so ridiculous as women,” she told Winfrey on Saturday. “… We don’t want to talk about our age, and then we want to act like we should look like we did when were 20, you know? When, I’m sorry, men you can look any kind of way. And it seems to be okay.”

RELATED: Michelle Obama Says She Has ‘More Emotional Energy’ with Husband Barack After Becoming Empty Nesters

That idea — that women should try to fight their age — is one that Obama said she sees affecting Malia, 21, now a junior at Harvard University and and Sasha, 18, a freshman at the University of Michigan.

Michelle, Sasha, Barack and Malia Obama
Michelle Obama/Twitter

“I told my daughters, because as they’re getting older they start to judge themselves and it’s interesting when they talk about, ‘I can’t fit in my jeans that I had last year.’ I said, ‘But you’re a whole other year older. You’re now becoming a woman. You don’t have a child’s body,’ ” she recalled.

RELATED: Michelle Obama Is Now on Her Way to EGOT-ing After Winning Her First Grammy for Becoming

“That’s like saying at 20, I’m really upset that I couldn’t wear my favorite overalls anymore from when I was 10,” Obama continued. “That’s as ridiculous as it is at 56 to think that I should look like I did when I was 36, or for anyone to judge me like that, or to judge a woman like that.”

Still, she admitted it wasn’t always easy to accept her own body, especially as a public figure who faced constant criticism over her looks.

Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

“People called me all kinds of things when I was campaigning for Barack, like it was a competition,” she said. “They called me un-American, and this stuff sticks with you. Men talked about the size of my butt. There are people who were telling me I was angry. That stuff hurts, and it makes you sort of wonder, what are people seeing? That stuff is there. And look, I’m a black woman in America. And you know, we’re not always made to feel beautiful. So there’s still that baggage that we carry, and not everyone can relate to that. But yes, there is baggage that I carry just like anybody else.”

Obama said that it takes work to love and accept your body, and it’s something that she’s learned how to do over time. Now she appreciates that her body is “all mine, and it’s a healthy body that works, every day.”

“I try hard not to judge it,” she said. “And it’s different. You have to get to know your body, because what this body is at 56 — I can’t do the things I did when I was 36. It’s not the same body. We are living things. We’re not machines. You know, we run out of gas. We need fuel. We need sunshine and light. We need to take care of ourselves and when you don’t, as you get older, just like any living thing it begins to fail on you. And for me, I’m trying to figure out, what is that balance that I need to make sure that this body, that God gave me, that I’m taking care of it the best that I can and that it will serve me well as I get older.”

It’s a particularly personal topic for Obama, who detailed her father’s death at 55 from multiple sclerosis in her bestselling memoir Becoming.

“As a child growing up with a father with a disability who could not walk, my father would’ve given anything to have either one of my legs,” she said. “For me to judge that, and not to just embrace that and be happy that I’m alive, moving, able to move. I have to tell myself, appreciate what God gave you and take care of that.”

Oprah’s full interview with Michelle Obama will air on Wednesday, February 12 (8 PM ET/ 7 PM CT) as part of WW’s Wellness Wednesday Series on Oprah’s Facebook Channel, and the WW Now Facebook Channel, with highlights on Instagram.

Outbrain

Tags