While Americans have been focused on Michelle Obama’s wardrobe choices and how she’s advancing the careers of younger designers, women in other countries are more concerned with how she’s boosting their lives and self-worth. In India, one woman says Michelle “shows women that it’s OK to have dark skin and to not have a son,” which are normally looked down upon in her country. In Vietnam, women marvel that Michelle walks beside her husband, rather than behind him. Thu Nguyen says women in her country “are not human beings,” but Michelle shows women can do anything.In Africa, Michelle is inspiring women in to be high-achievers in the workplace. “I’ve always liked knowing that she was Barack Obama’s supervisor when they first met,” Sue Mbaya of Nairobi, Kenya, says. “He once said that he wouldn’t be where he is without his wife. That really appeals to me.” In Germany, Michelle has shown that you can be powerful and feminine at the same time.
Michelle isn’t the first black woman to be in a high-profile position. Have people forgotten Condoleezaa Rice? But the Michelle Effect seems to be a result of the fact that she’s smart and a mother and a lady. She doesn’t have one thing going for her. Instead, she’s well-rounded, and as a result what she represents comes across as attainable. [CNN]