Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Michelle Obama Gone Mute?

I guess outfits speak louder than words. That seems to be Michelle Obama’s new philosophy as she snuggles into her duties as America’s First Lady. Maybe it was the coffee conversation with the Bushes, who clued her into the Commandments of political wifedom: Commandment #1: Thou shall not speak, but sit pretty and wave relentlessly. So far, so good. I just hope she has Laura Bush on speed dial to tell her how to get the plastic smile off her face when its time for bed. Or for advice on what to do when her panty hose ride up and there’s nowhere in sight to pick the wedgie.

Yes, I know. Being a Lady tougher than it looks.

Take for instance, her new role as the countries fashion icon. Media hooplah over her inauguration clothing was excessive to the point of ridiculous; from CNN celebrity stylist commentary, to exclusive interviews with the designers of the “lemon grass” skirt suit and white chiffon ball gown she wore for Inauguration Day.

Of course, I expected this surplus of superficiality, just not so soon. As put it, “We couldn't put off the tired old women-as-pretty-arm-candy discussion until the inauguration stage was taken down?”

Nope. Before President Obama was even sworn in, Michelle had already been validated as Barack’s Barbie Doll. A woman so disciplined in femininity that she could--as they kept insisting over and over again-- brave the bitter cold and blisters of Pennsylvania Avenue in the holy name of fashion. A woman eager to fill the shimmery Cinderella shoes of the Jackie Kennedys and Nancy Regans: legs crossed and lips closed.

During a dance at an inaugural ball, a CNN spokeswoman claimed Michelle was actually “the boss” of the marriage, giving her husband the official orders. But unless they communicate through telepathy, it’s more likely to be the other way around.

It’s got to be saddening for Michelle, on some level to know that even as a Harvard Law and Princeton grad, or lawyer at the Sidley Austin firm whose articulate and equally eloquent self-written speeches helped seal her husband’s Presidency--she is now just a pretty wife, waving and smiling.

But on another level, she probably believes she is being racially progressive. She is trying to show the world that the black woman, too, can be intelligent, charming, elegant and poised. This strategy harks back to the election, where she played the humbling homemaker to shake media perceptions of “the angry black woman”. Like on the Ellen Dengeneres show, where she used “wife, mother, and down-to-earth” to describe herself, confining to female gender norms to stretch across the mainstream.

And now that the Obamas have to represent the American family, they are playing it safe; doing the cookie-cutter patriarchy thing, a political recreation of the Cosby Show, which makes having black people in the White House a little less frightening for the right wing.

Michelle’s ability to be the silent version of Clair Huxtable (minus the career) is the key factor in walking the American tight rope between Scary Black Woman and relative normalcy. But rather than pledging allegiance to the haggard script of Proper First Lady Behavior, she should use the limelight to offer alternative perceptions of black women that don’t exclude an assertive voice. And then she should walk out of the White House wearing a “Give Bush a Wedgie” T-shirt, sweat pants, and Spongebob toe socks.

1 comment:

Felicity said...

I think there is a clear understanding about feminism movement, it was supposed to be about getting equal rights for jobs, pay, being educated attending universities, and being equally treated, in all aspects of our life. Not sleeping about and behaving like men, because we are not men, sleeping around because men sleep around, men who sleep around are whores, male whores or whore mongers as the Bible calls them that. There is nothing good about that! I don't care how much precautions you take, eventually that lifestyle takes catches up with you. Rome and many other empires that based their life on whoring men, women and children within a few generations died out, because they become riddled with disease and decay. Michelle Obama is a woman in her own right, she is intelligent, beautiful, she has not gone mute and she is not the president of America, her husband is although she campaigned for her husband, people voted for husband,not for her. She is a black women of African descent being in the White HOuse is a great achievement. Black women who do not look like Halle Berry or Mariah Carey get a hard time, they are judged as ugly, and told they have King Kong looks and whatever and how that destroys their self esteem. Barack Hussain Obama, being bi-racial married a black women, who looks like the majority of black women. Michelle is a wife, a mother and a career woman, she has her children to look after, and her career to look after. Barack has to sort of the economy, the world is now in a worst recession, since 1920s. You are a wonderful writer and you should inspire people to be better, do better, inspire the highest. Think all things are possible, expand, increase, reach for the skies and even the sky has no limit. We cannot have a society of women without men or vice versa, we should want the very best for our daughters, they have men of high standards, good ideals and treat them like queens not like whores and we say, if a man can behave like that, we can do it too, no we cannot. It is very easy for a lot of divorced women or single women to say, 'all men are bastards' but we have someone who is President of the United States is behaving with honour and dignity. How many men of great position, you see them still in love with their wives. A lot of men have their wives as show pieces and they have mistresses and this behaviour is disgisting and the man is a whore. Hiliary Clinton was happy to stay with her husband, so that she could become the first female president of USA, what about women like India Ghani, and Golda Mier, Eugiene Charles, and the late Mrs Bhutti, they didn't behave like that! No Michelle is a fine women and hopefully with Michelle's excellent example, more women can achieve their highest ideals, being presidents and prime ministes of countries, get married have children, have careers, be inventors and inspire all of us to do and be better. A lot of women like 'Sex and the City', the clothes were great, but the Samantha, Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte, were slappers (whores), because they had money and they had well paid jobs, how many saw them for what they were, the poor ones, are not so lucky, they still end up on the council estates. Look at the recent pictures of Madonna, she may be rich, but look at the state of her, her body may look good, but her face is awful. What she has inspired? she whored her way to the top and she has kept her money, is she anybody to admire. No she is not. Michelle is a wonderful woman, who should be admired. Women who are intelligent, graceful and beautiful, are role models to inspire our daughters, but we look at the likes of Madonna, Sex and the City lot as our roles models for our, we are really twisted in our brains and only Jesus can save us, because we walk in darkness and we are blind.