Michelle Obama may have won the respect of the nation with her Ivy league pedigree, community service, and career achievements, but she’s now winning adulation with a very retro female trick: keeping her mouth shut and looking pretty!
She’s already been on the covers of various fashion mags, and this week’s New York had an all out Michelle Obama fest, cataloging her fashion achievements, physical stature, and her seemingly healthy sex life. The First Lady, who caught flack last year for saying that her husband’s presidential campaign made her proud of her country for the first time, has quickly learned that a well dressed, well coiffed first lady can wield more power through general affability than with a more vocal, direct approach to politics.
Mrs. Obama has responded to earlier campaign gaffes by polishing up her feminine skills. Claiming not to care about fashion, she has made excellent choices – by emphasizing her interest in the good values at J. Crew and choosing an up and coming minority designer for her inauguration frock. She’s also de-emphasized her career achievements in favor of familial interests. Compared to the buy one Bill-Get-One-Hillary-Free deal that voters received in 1992, Mrs. Obama calls herself “Mom-in-Chief.”
The media may be suckers for pretty dresses and a nice smile, but people are just picking up what’s coming out of the White House. Over the last year, the perception of the First Lady has shifted from a fist bumping terrorist sympathizer to a super hero. Her favorability ratings have doubled in that time, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Is it sad or regressive to see such a successful career woman play up her role as homemaker and fashion plate? No, it’s smart.
Obama has been spending most of her time in soup kitchens and fomenting the idea that she wants nothing to do with the policy minutiae going on in the White House, but that’s not saying her opinions won’t be heard. When she does decide to vocalize some political opinions, her popularity may drop, but making the American people fall for her now will help her chances that they will listen to what she has to say then.