Michelle Obama Explains Why Women Can't Have It All — At Least Not at Once

The answer to the age-old question, “Can women have it all?” flip flops more often than Donald Trump’s hair in the wind. Michelle Obama is the latest cultural leader to weigh in, joining team “nah, they can’t” — at least not “all the time.”

“Marriage still ain’t equal, y’all,” she said during a Brooklyn stop on her international book tour on Saturday for her new memoir, Becoming. “It ain’t equal. I tell women that whole ‘you can have it all’ — mmm, nope, not at the same time, that’s a lie.”

She continued, “It’s not always enough to lean in because that shit doesn’t work all the time.” According to Elle, her expletive drew plenty of gasps.


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Her “lean in” comment directly references Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 tome, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, which has been criticized over the years for dumping the onus for change onto women to improve workplace dynamics between genders. Sandberg suggested that by being assertive, women could move up and indeed, have it all.

RELATED: Michelle Obama Admits She Stopped Smiling at Trump’s Inauguration to Prove a Point

While on tour, the former First Lady also expanded on her marriage, and how despite appearances, it’s harder than it looks.

“I love my husband and we have a great marriage and had a great marriage but a marriage is hard work,” she said, according to Elle. “And I say that because I see too many young people who frivolously enter into marriage, they think the love and the courtship part has something to do with what marriage is and it doesn’t.”

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