“It’s more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and — you know? But that’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I’m some angry black woman. … You know, I just try to be me. And my hope is that over time people get to know me. And they get to judge me for me.”
– First Lady Michelle Obama reacts to portrayals of her as an “angry black woman.” Michelle has been dogged by this stereotype from the beginning of her husband’s campaign when rumors abounded that she ranted about “whitey”; more recently, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor’s new book, The Obamas, alleges Michelle sparred with her husband’s staff. It is sad in our culture that a woman — who just happens to be black, and may or may not have reasons to be angry (ahem, ahem) — gets dismissively painted with a wide brush as an “angry black woman,” as if she is just behaving the way stereotypes say she is expected her to behave. The new book by MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women In America, is sadly quite timely. [Bossip]
Today President Barack Obama and FLOTUS Michelle visited with troops in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After listening to a rousing introduction from the First Lady, President Obama noted that Michelle was both a remarkable first lady and also “cute.” Aw! He then advised the male soldiers that “Gentlemen, that’s your goal, to marry up. Punch above your weight.” [Mediaite]
Betty Ford is not a First Lady most of us think about regularly (unless, I suppose, one is an addict). She lacked the glitz and glamour of Michelle Obama or Jackie O and was not necessarily a powerhouse in the White House like Eleanor Roosevelt. But when Betty Ford died on Friday at age 93, obituaries remembered a women’s rights activist who was uncommonly outspoken for her time and polled more popular than her husband, Gerald Ford. In addition to her foundation of The Betty Ford Clinic, one of the most famous rehab centers in the country, Betty Ford should also be remembered as a Republican “stealth feminist,” blogger Joanne Bamberger at PunditMom wrote.
After the jump, five things to know about Betty Ford, a surprisingly cool First Lady. Keep reading »
Michelle Obama was in South Africa this week with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, promoting fitness and HIV/AIDS awareness. Also, they were apparently showing off their guns in a push-up contest. [LA Times] Keep reading »
What with those sculpted arms and supermom credentials, it was only a matter of time before someone would turn the First Lady into some type of cartoon-y character. Behold the new Michelle Obama action figure, a product of Jailbreak Toys (which also produces the similar Barack Obama action figure). While the doll’s huge head and teeny waist sure depict a weird version of Michelle, it stays true to her personal style, bringing back to life some of her more famous outfits—the black and red dress by Narciso Rodriguez that she wore on election night and the more affordable White House/Black Market dress she wore on “The View.”
MObama probably wouldn’t shut down the operation like she did with the Sasha and Malia dolls, but we do wonder how she feels about this. Thoughts? [Cool Hunting] Keep reading »
Watch out Internets! The First Lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, has just arrived at the party, and man, has she got a few things to say! Just yesterday, Bruni-Sarkozy made her first foray into the online world—and promptly crashed her own site with all the juicy nuggets of inner thoughts and general self-promotion. (Could you image MObama pulling this sort of thing? Barry and the White House press crew would not be happy.) Anyway, as the Daily Mail reports, the French First Lady mostly focuses on what she calls a “beauty contest” between Michelle, Princess Letizia of Spain, and herself—with each woman vying for sartorial and hair/makeup supremacy. Yes, she actually came out with it. And in those terms. What else did she blab about? A few inside-voice observations unleashed, after the jump.
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This week the White House released its “Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff,” which includes the salary of every White House employee. And if I’ve learned anything from looking over the report it’s that we should forget about Barack, because Michelle has one expensive entourage. She has a $90,000 Chief of Staff, with a $40,000 assistant, an $84,000 Press Secretary with a $52,500 assistant, a $45,000 Correspondence Director with a $36,000 assistant, a $70,000 Director of Policy and Project, and four employees with salaries ranging from $50-75K who take care of her scheduling, travels, trips and events. As if these eleven, well-paid employees couldn’t get the job done, the first lady has yet another $60,000 special assistant––Sheesh. Also, can I get a job? [WhiteHouse.gov] Keep reading »
During the Obamas’ weekend trip to France, Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the two most stylish first ladies we know, got to hang out for the second time. The two don’t seem to want to outdo one another in the style department, and I have a hunch they coordinate their outfits when they make public appearances together. On their first meeting, both wore tie-neck coats (left). On Friday, they appeared at a ceremony at the Prefecture of Caen in belted white dresses. Coincidence? I think not. Keep reading »
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. Keep reading »
America is going to expect a lot from Barack Obama over his next four to eight years as president. And a lot will also be expected of his wife, who will essentially be doing her job backwards. And in heels. Well, maybe not so much. But she won’t be getting paid.
Should we remedy this situation? Hell no. Why’s that? Well, let’s start here. Barack Obama focused much of his campaign – and his presidency going forward – on a call to charity work. Should his wife really be the first First Lady who refuses to donate her time to better the nation? Keep reading »