First Lady Michelle Obama has been the victim of sexism, she said Wednesday, because men used to whistle at her while she walked down the street.
“As I got older, I found that men would whistle at me or make comments about how I looked as I walked down the street as if my body were their property, as if I were an object to be commented on instead of a full human being with thoughts and feelings of my own,” Obama said during a speech at the “Let Girls Learn” initiative in Argentina.
Obama, who launched “Let Girls Learn” last year, traveled to Argentina with President Obama and their daughters after visiting Cuba earlier this week.
Obama said that as a girl, she was bombarded by messages that taught her that “my voice was somehow less important; that how my body looked was more important than how my mind worked; that being strong and powerful and outspoken just wasn’t appropriate or attractive for a girl.”
She also recalled “teachers who didn’t think that I was smart enough, and would call on the boys in class instead of the girls, even though the girls had better grades.”
This is not the first time that Obama has complained about how people in public have treated her. In 2014 she caused a stir when she said during an interview with People magazine that even as first lady she felt that she had been the victim of racial profiling when, during a shopping trip to Target, a fellow customer asked her to retrieve something off of a shelf in the store.
“During that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf,” Obama said. “Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new.” (RELATED: Michelle Obama: America Is So Racist A White Lady At Target Asked Me To Reach The Top Shelf)
But several years prior to that interview, Obama told David Letterman that the Target shopper had asked for help because she was short and Obama was tall.
“I felt so good,” Obama said then.