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Who Are You Becoming? A Look Into Michelle Obama’s Book and Documentary

In 2018, former First Lady Michelle Obama published her memoir “Becoming” and the world went crazy! We all wanted to know Michelle Obama on a more personal level. I bought the book myself and liked how open she is in the book as well as her beautiful memories. Recently, Netflix released the former First Lady’s documentary, Becoming, in which a crew follows her around the country for her book tour. This documentary is truly inspiring and moving, we get to see Mrs. Obama’s personality outside of the White House and get a glimpse of what her life was like during her time as First Lady, as well as once she left the White House. I felt connected to Mrs. Obama at the end of the documentary; she made me feel hopeful, especially about times of uncertainty and we sure are in one of those times right now. Here are the main things that stood out to me from Becoming.

 

One of the first things that I noticed in the documentary was Mrs. Obama’s joy at the ability to leave the White House and her position as First Lady, but for reasons that are valid. Although the Obamas, especially Michelle, loved serving their country, she was happy to leave because she was now able to be herself. Throughout the documentary, Mrs. Obama points out that even though serving her people was an honor, she was tired of having to always be perfect because she was afraid of what the media and the country might say about her and her image. In her words, Michelle said she felt free and released from the pressure of being perfect for 8 years; she was tired of constantly being watched and analyzed. Michelle was such an effective member of Barack Obama’s presidency that the media attacked her in order to get to her husband. She had to hold back and become more scripted in order to become that “soft and gentle” lady she was supposed to be. 

 

It was painful to hear Michelle Obama explain how she was greatly affected and bullied by the media. I think it was easy to relate to her in this aspect of her life because I feel that social media takes a toll on us and can be a toxic place that forces us to be someone we are not.

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Another thing that stood out to me in the documentary was Mrs. Obama’s involvement with the youth of today. The youth is a group that truly inspires and motivates Michelle. She wants to be a mentor for us and encourage us to take our seat at the table! Not only does Mrs. Obama want to mentor the youth, but she wants to mobilize us; she wants us to show up at the polls and make a difference. In the documentary, Michelle says she craves experiences with young people and adds that she has high expectations for us. I think that by this she means that she wants us to not feel invisible or feel like another statistic, she wants to share our stories and experiences so that we get things done and inspire others. According to Michelle, our ordinariness is what makes us powerful. We all deserve to be anywhere we want to be and we have to break those barriers! Mrs. Obama supported this message by sharing her experiences as a daughter, a student, a woman, and First Lady.

Finally, the most inspiring thing I found in her documentary was when Mrs. Obama mentioned what “Becoming” was. I interpreted this title as a way for women, and really all people, to use as a way of acceptance and new beginnings. You can see people at the end using the word “Becoming” as a way to share their vulnerabilities and make them into something powerful! Some examples from the audience were, “I am becoming a strong, confident, fierce girl who realizes I have the power to change the world”, “I am becoming brave” and “I am becoming a man who is living the American Dream.” These are all moving examples of what people are becoming, Michelle is creating a conversation in which people feel comfortable in becoming who they really are and want to be!

 

Me? I am becoming someone who is feeling comfortable talking about the uncomfortable as well as accepting myself for who I am! So, who are you becoming?