Michelle Obama might not be the first lady anymore, but she isn't stepping down from the national spotlight. On Nov. 1, she spoke at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago and had a strong message for mothers, urging them to stop protecting their sons so much, because it is making them "entitled."
"It's like the problem in the world today is we love our boys and we raise our girls," she told poet Elizabeth Alexander at the event, reports The Hill. "We raise them to be strong, and sometimes we take care not to hurt men. And I think we pay for that a little bit."
The problem, Michelle added, is that parents -- mostly mothers -- "nurture men and push girls to be perfect."
"It's powerful to have strong men but what does that strength mean?" she asked. "Does it mean respect? Does it mean responsibility? Does it mean compassion? Or are we protecting our men too much so that they feel a little entitled and a little, you know, self-righteous sometimes?"
The Obama Foundation kicked off its first ever two-day summit on Oct. 31, in which former President Barack Obama and others joined Michelle to inspire the audience of approximately 500 leaders from Chicago and around the world to spark change, reports WLS.
"Look, I don't have boys; I'm not raising boys, I'm raising girls," the mom of 19-year-old Malia and 16-year-old Sasha explained, according to The Hill. "So a lot of my focus as a mother -- I'm thinking about how do I make sure these girls are sturdy and able to exist in this world? And it is a world that is dangerous for women."
Regardless of gender and "what they're confronting in the world," it's crucial to raise children, above all, "to be people," she said.
"Whether they have had struggles or whatever the world has for them, we have to raise them to be ready to be independent, well-meaning, kind, compassionate people," the 53-year-old added.
Equally important, she said, is not only telling women to "speak their mind" and "just say no," but really showing them how to do it, especially when men are so "entitled," amid growing numbers of women going public with allegations of sexual harassment from powerful men in entertainment and other industries, notes CNN.
"But if we don't teach our young girls to speak at an early age, that doesn't just happen," explained the women's and children's health advocate. "It takes practice to have a voice. You have to use it again, and again, and again before you can say 'no.' Or 'stop.' 'Don't touch me.'"
But what men really need, she said, is to be be more like women in some ways.
"Y'all should get you some friends," she joked to the men in the audience, according to Fox News. "And talk to each other, because that's the other thing [women] do -- we straighten each other out on some things, our girlfriends."