In a controversial statement, Michelle Obama declared herself a “sex symbol.” Although Michelle Obama must feel on top of the world with the success of her new memoir, Becoming, which is on track to become one of the bestselling books of its kind throughout human history. But during a recent talk, Obama describes what it was like for her growing up and being objectified as a black woman – especially as she started to experience a lot of success during her prolific career as a high-powered attorney.

But when Obama self-identified as a “sex symbol” because she was the victim of frequent cat-calling when she would walk by, the audience was a bit shocked. And after this clip started spreading online, people found her statement controversial.

“Teachers didn’t think I was smart enough and would call on the boys instead of the girls even though the girls had better grades. People thought a girl shouldn’t have ambition, and they would ask my brother what career he planned to have but would ask me what kind of man I wanted to marry,” Obama described.

Obama’s situation was not unique. For generations, women have not been allowed to flourish in the same ways that men have. Even during her marriage, it was her husband, Barack Obama, who was allowed to continue his career and eventually rise to the top as President of the United States – while Michelle Obama had to play the role of a dutiful wife and take care of all the children’s doctor appointments and other trivialities of a domestic life.

“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.”

Women growing up in major cities, including Chicago and New York, have often experienced the same thing that Michelle Obama is talking about. So far, her story is not unique but mirrors what most women experience throughout their youth life.

Critics, however, heard something different within Michelle Obama’s words. They heard her referring to herself as a sex symbol.

“If there had not been a video with her actually saying this, I wouldn’t have believed she could have that big an ego,” a conservative viewer wrote in the comments of a Mad World News post on Facebook. “Is there no end to this woman’s huge self-importance? Obviously, she had this ego before becoming the First Lady, and it has only grown exponentially. Time for her to take her final box and leave the limelight.”

Because Michelle Obama has accepted a lot of speaking engagements to promote her memoir, Becoming, she has been talking to the American people a lot more than during the first few years of the Trump presidency. This has opened her up to a lot of criticism as people interpret her words in ways that are unflattering to the former first lady.

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