10-Year-Old Michelle Obama Learned Feminism From a Perfect '70s TV Icon

Feminism is this beautiful thing that strikes us like a ray of sunshine at different times in our lives. And that sunshine can really come out of whatever: the first playground weenie who tells you girls stink, your first class about women's history, or, if you're Michelle Obama, the first time you plop yourself in front The Mary Tyler Moore Show on TV. 

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We're considering this a major revelation about our fave First Lady who, it should be noted, has taught us a lot about feminism. Like, for all her crazy schooling and impressive degrees, it was Mary Tyler Moore who taught her about women and careers and singleness? Actually ... maybe this makes sense.

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Michelle spoke to Variety about the influence that TV and movies had on her, and how she looks at them as a way for kids to understand the lives of people who aren't like them. This lady! She's so wise.

Here's what she said about Mary Tyler Moore in particular:

She was one of the few single working women depicted on television at the time. She wasn't married. She wasn't looking to get married. At no point did the series end in a happy ending with her finding a husband -- which seemed to be the course you had to take as a woman. But she sort of bucked that. She worked in a newsroom, she had a tough boss, and she stood up to him. She had close friends, never bemoaning the fact that she was a single. She was very proud and comfortable in that role.

Honestly, a character like that would be mildly shocking even today ... and Michelle was watching this when she was 10 years old in 1974. We totally get why it made an impact on her, and we're more than a little jealous we didn't realize the genius for ourselves.

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Michelle said that Mary made her realize that marriage is just an option, and there's no requirement forcing all women to have a family. "Going to school and getting your education and building your career is another really viable option that can lead to happiness and fulfillment," she said.

She's right. It's something we forget sometimes, and it's something we think young girls need to be reminded of more often. We're glad Michelle's here to bring it up now, and hopefully, we'll see more Mary Richards–esque characters in the future.

 

Image via London Entertainment/Splash News

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