Did you see the rally for Obama in Los Angeles last Sunday? It rocked my world: Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and California First Lady Maria Shriver talking to a packed stadium at UCLA. (Watch the video here.)
For one thing, Michelle Obama is a great speaker in her own right and she is teaching us how to talk about race and women in new ways that only a non-candidate could do. But also, Maria Shriver made an unscheduled appearance to endorse Barack Obama even though her husband, Governor Schwarzenegger, had just endorsed John McCain.
It’s a great picture of how much power women have—women who are so confident in their power that they know they can throw it behind a man to get what they want out of the world.
Some of my harshest critics say that I’m “bad for feminism.” They say I give bad advice to women because I don’t see work as a place for women to fight against men to get equality.
Indeed, I generally see work as a place where women have equal footing with men. And personally, I see work as a place where men have mentored me the whole way. I would be nowhere without all the men who have helped me.
Sure, I know I’m still at a disadvantage because I’m a woman in the workplace. I was reminded of it just the other day when my business partner Ryan and I met with a potential investor. The guy passed on girl-related small-talk and spent twenty minutes with Ryan talking football.
And the same is true for black people in this country. Obama’s success doesn’t mean that things are suddenly great for black people everywhere. But Obama’s success suggests that we can stop requiring everyone to divide everything by black and white.
And that makes me also think we can stop dividing things by men and women. I don’t need to vote for Hilary Clinton to show that I support women. I support women by looking ahead to the next generation. My generation—which is Obama’s generation—does not need to fight the women’s fight anymore. Other people did it for us.
So thank you, feminists, but we’re moving on. And to see all those women in California—those women who got their power on their own, using it to support a man—that sends chills up my spine, because I relate to that. I want to stand with the men and be on their team, and the only way to do that is to earn power myself and share it, with whoever deserves it, man or woman.
Watch for this in politics, and do it yourself at work. You can get stronger at work by breaking free of the divide that some people assume is there. We don’t owe it to the last generation to keep fighting their fights. We owe it to the last generation to thank them, and then move on.
We have our own, more relevant fights today. Like how to work to live instead of live to work, how to stop being a slave to money, and how to make time for our families. These are issues for men as much as women. We are in those fights together.
And that’s what I saw happening in Los Angeles on Sunday. I saw a centerpiece of the new fight: For change. Whoo hooo!