Barack Obama on Talking With Malia and Sasha About the Narrow Definition of Manhood

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Barack Obama on Talking With Malia and Sasha About the Narrow Definition of Manhood
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From Delish

As the former president of the United States, Barack Obama has a pretty clear idea of what America expects from men in our culture. Our often narrow views of masculinity not only influence the celebrities we idolize, but also permeate the policies we champion and the political representation we see.

Now, in the upcoming episode of Obama and Bruce Springsteen's Spotify podcast "Renegades: Born in the USA," the two sit down to dissect their own views of manhood, including influences from their fathers and the world at-large.

In an exclusive episode clip provided to ELLE.com, Obama reveals the conversations he's had with his daughters, Sasha and Malia, about toxic masculinity. "I talk to my daughters' friends about boys growing up, and so much of popular culture tells them that the only clear, defining thing about being a man, being masculine, is you excel in sports and sexual conquest," he said. "And violence, right? Those are the three things, and violence, if it’s healthy at least, is subsumed into sports. Later, you add to that definition, making money, right? How much money can you make?"

Obama told Springsteen that there are some qualities of a "traditional American man" that are worthy of praise and emulation: a sense of responsibility and being willing to make sacrifices for your family and future generations. "But there is a bunch of stuff in there that we did not reckon with," he continued. "And now you’re seeing with Me Too, part of what we’re dealing with in terms of women still seeking equal pay, part of what we’re still dealing with in terms of domestic abuse and violence. There was never a full reckoning of ... who our dads were, what they had in them, how we have to understand that and talk about that, what lessons we should learn from it. All that kind of got buried."

You can listen to the exclusive clip from the podcast below, or hear the full episode on Spotify this Monday, March 22:

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