diversity & race | August 10, 2016

Exclusive: Author Rich Benjamin’s Thoughts on Obama’s Feminist Essay

In a landmark article for Glamour released last Thursday, President Obama became the first US president to declare himself a feminist. And while he notes with pride the progress we’ve made towards gender equality—not just in the past century, but even during his eight-year run—he’s also insistent that much is left to be done. 

On CNN, Lavin speaker and author of Searching for Whitopia Rich Benjamin joined host Brooke Baldwin to discuss the article’s significance, what feminism means today, and the role we all need to play in advancing equality. Asked what struck him about the article, Benjamin responded, “Even 10 years ago, ‘feminist’ was like ‘liberal’—it was a dirty word. It was a pejorative. People would label people ‘feminists.’ But for a man and a president to proclaim himself a feminist in such a persuasive way, in which he’s not just talking the talk, but he’s walking the walk; I think that will touch a lot of readers.”

  • benjamin obama


In another Lavin exclusive, Benjamin granted us his further thoughts on the matter. Here’s what he had to say:


From Portland, ME to Portland, OR, a legion of stay-at-home dads ditch the skullduggery of punch-clock work, making their living from their personal passions. Others enjoy drastically shortened commutes (like the president). I notice a so-called “post-work” movement impacting our culture, whereby digital technology, self-awareness, and flexible, family-friendly arrangements allow workers to achieve more fulfilling lives. Witness stroller-pushing or latte Dads who transcend the traditional yoke and limitations of work, thanks to the demands of feminism.


Just as feminists, from the Daughters of Bilitis to Audre Lorde, paved the way for gay male liberation, more professional men should be standing for women: combatting sexual assault, advancing reproductive rights, demanding maternity leave and childcare, defending immigrant women, and supporting all those women who are decidedly not “post-work,” faceless female service workers who show up to an actual jobsite. Women make up nearly two-thirds of the minimum-wage workforce.   


Though he celebrates impressive political gains for American women over the last century, the president points out more to be done; he challenges men to become feminists.


One of America’s sharpest political voices, witty and compelling on stage, Rich Benjamin is an exclusive keynote speaker with The Lavin Agency. To book him for an upcoming conference or event, contact us today.


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social change | August 09, 2016