Barack Obama said he’s discussed toxic masculinity with his daughters and concluded there was “never a full reckoning of who our dads were, what they had in them,” during Monday’s episode of Renegades: Born in the USA alongside co-host Bruce Springsteen.
“I talk to my daughters’ friends about boys growing up and, so much of popular culture tells [boys] that the only clear, defining thing about being a man, being masculine, is you excel in sports and sexual conquest,” Barack Obama said during the latest episode of the podcast titled, “Wrestling with Ghosts: American Men.”
Bruce @Springsteen and I both had complicated relationships with our fathers. In our latest conversation on Renegades: Born in the USA, we discuss our upbringing, masculinity, and the role our fathers played in helping us become the men we are today. https://t.co/FNriJIUw3r pic.twitter.com/tqGXS6SzMj
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 22, 2021
The former president, father to Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19, added that some young men consider violence a masculine trait and noted: “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? And there were some qualities of the traditional American male that are absolutely worthy of praise and worthy of emulating,” Obama continued, citing the “sense of responsibility” and making “some sacrifices for your family or for future generations.”
“The Greatest Generation showed that again and again. And that handling your business, that sense of responsibility of being an adult,” he said. However, Obama also said there is a “bunch of stuff in there that we did not reckon with” which is now being dealt with in the form of the Me Too anti-sexual harassment movement.
“There is a bunch of stuff in there that we did not reckon with and— and now you’re seeing with MeToo. Part of what we’re dealing with in terms of, you know, 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,” Obama said, adding that it is essential current generations “understand that and talk about that.”
“What lessons we should learn from it. All that kind of got buried,” he added.
Barack Obama made headlines last month after claiming during an episode of the podcast that he once punched someone for calling him a racial slur.
“Listen, when I was in school, I had a friend. We played basketball together,” he said. “And one time we got into a fight and he called me a coon. And I remember I popped him in the face and broke his nose.”