The #MeToo movement gained momentum in the past few weeks after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault; but it also received backlash from conservatives who argued that the allegations of sexual misconduct cost men their reputations. (Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday, despite the allegations.)
President Trump, for one, said “it’s a very scary time for young men in America.” Meanwhile First Lady Melania Trump said women “need to show the evidence” when they come forward with allegations.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, however, countered that backlash. “Well, that’s what happens with change,” she said on the Today Show this morning. “Change is not a direct, smooth path. There’s gonna be bumps and resistance. There has been a status quo in terms of how women are treated, what their expectations have been in this society. And that is changing. And there is going to be a little upheaval. There’s gonna be a little discomfort.”
She continued, “I think it’s up to the women out there to say, ‘Sorry that you feel uncomfortable, but I’m now paving the way for the next generation.'” The crowd cheered in response.
The former FLOTUS added that mothers also have a responsibility to pave the way for their daughters. “If we don’t start setting the tone now, they’re gonna walk into a world where they’re still dealing with those issues in the workplace, and at home, and in schools. And I don’t want that for your girls.”
Obama’s comments arrive days after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, following impassioned protests from sexual assault survivors and supporters across the country. The Senate’s vote to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination occurred exactly one year after The New York Times first reported Harvey Weinstein’s history of alleged sexual misconduct, which gave rise to the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements.
Looking back at the past year, Obama said she’s “surprised at how much has changed but how much has not changed. And I think that’s where the fire is coming from. Enough is enough.”
“The world is a sadly dangerous place for women and girls, and we see that again and again. And I think young women are tired of it. They’re tired of being undervalued. They’re tired of being disregarded. They’re tired of their voices not being invested in and heard,” Obama added.
“And that’s not just around the world,” she continued. “That’s happening right here, in this country. If we’re going to change that, we have to give them the tools and the skills, through education, to be able to lift those voices up.”
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