Michelle, no dumbelle
And establish herself she has.
So here's today's treeware effort, in toto, with some linky freshness.
did I miss the scene in which U.S. President Barack Obama and his
political advisers held a gun to Michelle Obama's head and told her she
had no choice but to play, in her words, "Mom-in-chief"?
Sorry but did I miss the scene in which U.S. President Barack Obama and his political advisers held a gun to Michelle Obama's head and told her she had no choice but to play, in her words, "Mom-in-chief"?
Is she being kept down and away from the West Wing where the big boys and girls play?
Not if you keep up with her schedule.
The woman is always on the go, promoting her husband's policies, making speeches to the United Nations, government departments, community groups, universities, schools and arts organizations, even pitching healthy habits in a Sesame Street public service announcement.
No wonder she bares her arms. Saves her the time it would take her to roll up her sleeves.
In fact, Ms Obama is more out there than any Mrs. President – including Hillary Clinton – has ever been. And she's done it with intelligence, grace and style, breaking all the fashion rules that dictate a First Lady should dress in the pastel suits a former Miss Texas turned Dallas real estate agent would wear.
Sure, as she told a little girl during a charter school visit in February, "the job doesn't pay much."
But that doesn't mean it's worth nothing.
It would be interesting to cost out what all her official duties would make on the open job market, not to mention what her usual – forgive me, I can think of no better term – "wifely" role would earn.
Just last week, Salary.com reported that the time mothers spend performing the 10 most popular "mom job functions" would, to put a value on undervalued "women's work," score an annual paycheque of $122,732 (U.S.) for a stay-at-home mom or $76,184 for a working mom.
Imagine what Michelle Obama's work would be worth.
No, she doesn't have to load the White House dishwasher, nor does she pick up the dry cleaning.
But being on top of the most important residence on Earth, plus being confidante and companion to a man who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, seems like a pretty huge job to me.
To hear Michelle O's critics tell it, the Princeton-Harvard grad, blue-chip firm lawyer, former hospital administrator with a six-figure salary 10 times higher than most women make, plus family breadwinner during her husband's college debt-ridden community organizing days, has betrayed her feminist principles by not resuming her spectacular career track.
What's funny is that most of the criticism seems to come from the very same conservatives who would be the first to smack her down for not knowing "her place" as a wife. These are the same people who also claim that feminism is a forced march to the abortionist's and onto the job market.
You'll forgive me for questioning their motives.
Well, here's a news flash: Feminism is about choice, not just for women but also men.
And, with the tanking economy sinking men's traditional jobs, we'll see that long feminist struggle for choice bear fruit when more couples have to reverse roles.
Anyway, it isn't as if African American women don't already have a long history of working outside the home for pitiful or no pay, from plantation cotton-picking to domestic work. Eventually, they would become teachers and nurses – and now have succeeded in all fields.
It's laughable that some critics also claim Obama must work in order to be a role model to "welfare baby mamas" when the truth is, African American women have long carried double loads, well before feminism "liberated" middle- and upper-class white women from their domestic confines.
Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't.
Sexism and racism are alive and well, on The New York Times' op-ed page no less, where, as Salon.com noted yesterday, pundits Maureen Dowd and David Brooks are "playing into a stereotype of black women as bossy and emasculating."
Can you say "Uppity Black Woman," the ultimate putdown for somebody like Michelle Obama?
You see the dilemma here?
She is breaking new ground, not only as an African American First Lady but also as a woman who is probably more qualified to be president than her husband.
That doesn't mean she has to want the Oval Office.
But don't think for a second she isn't the power behind that big swivel chair.
The email reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, although some of the pro-forced pregnancy types wrote to say that, while feminism may have given women choices, it robbed fetuses of theirs.
One email -- from a self-described feminist -- did surprise me. Here's a snip from it:
I believe that women who choose to support their spouse rather than pursuing their own independent projects likewise sacrifice an important aspect of their autonomous agency. I do not necessarily think that Michelle Obama has done this - she is still very active in society. However, some women do make a mistake when they abandon their own projects to raise their family, and they often later come to regret it.
Hmm. I would think that choosing to raise children constitutes tending to one's ''projects'' and is perfectly consistent with feminist principles. That many women may come to regret it, especially if they end up alone and short of cash, is another matter. (By the way, the US Supreme Court just screwed older women who took maternity leave. Read this.)
The idea that raising children is a ''misogynistic'' option boggles my mind, especially when feminism promotes the idea that men should and can be part of the process.
In any case, I hardly think that feminists would trade old what-women-should-do think for new what-women-should-do think when it comes to how they live their lives.
What do you think?