Wednesday, May 4, 2011

strong women

I was reading an article about Michele Obama a few weeks ago. Some Republican sexist racist had said some appalling things about her. Reprehensible things. Whatever about the racism, I suppose that's just ... well, it's going to be there, but then there was this paragraph.

The first lady works out in the White House gym several times a week, jumping rope, kickboxing, running on the treadmill and lifting weights. No one complained when Jackie Kennedy wore sleeveless sheaths, or when Hillary Clinton donned shorts on summer holiday. But Michelle Obama’s muscular body conveys a power and sensuality that critics find unsettling. When Obama bared her arms during one of her husband’s speeches to Congress, political commentator David Brooks was quoted in the New York Times as saying: “She’s made her point. Now she should put away Thunder and Lightning.”

Ok, she's a strong woman. She's tall and she's fit. It seems that's not what we aspire to after all? I read that bit out to my mother in law, who, it seems, completely agreed. She was uncomfortable, mildly repelled, by how big, and strong Michelle Obama is. I can't remember her exact words, but she doesn't like it. An Amazon woman in the White House? She didn't like her insistence that her husband reserve family time for his family if he was going to run for president either. Cracking the whip, eh? An outspoken, active woman who protects her family's interests in the White House? Hilary Clinton was no retiring violet, but I suppose being blonde and blue eyed and petite lets you get away with being assertive. 

I know it's not fair to suggest that the views of a septegenarian woman are representative of the wider public, but is what she wanted a Barbara Bush in a twinset and pearls and helmet hair? No, she didn't like that either. But I suppose it's less threatening than this current version. This real, strong woman who cares about children, and their health, and her own family. This woman with opinions and priorities, this woman who dances

PS click the last link for great video.


Ms. Moon said...

Great link! I love our first lady. She is awesome and beautiful!
Let me point out that Hilary Clinton got tons of shit for being strong. Her blond hair didn't protect her from that.

Jo said...

You're right - there we go. It's really not so far from the fifties, is it?

Mwa said...

Fuck 'em all. Well, except for the Obamas of course. I love them. I ADORE Michelle.