Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oh Really?

No preamble, just check out this article.

For those of you who are link averse, that's a Maureen Dowd column discussing whether it's time for Michelle Obama to dress down. Basically, a bunch of Dowd's hoity-toity friends think Obama is going a bit far showing off the body that God gave her and that she maintains. Dowd ultimately says that Michelle's body is a wonderful thing, but she dedicates a bunch of space to folks who disagree with her.


First let me be clear, lately when I've noticed our intelligent and accomplished First Lady, I've thought one thing.


All night long.

I'm going to let those of you not up on the current cool kid slang go ahead and google that acronym, but it's safe to say that I don't have any problem with Michelle Obama showing off the Lord's handiwork.

It's funny that certain folks think her arm-baring gowns and swooping necklines are inappropriate. It's not like she has all her jigglies out for the masses to enjoy. She's always tastefully dressed in a manner befitting a mother of two. Yet, she still manages to let everybody know that she's packing. She oozes strength and toughness, and to offset that, she puts her feminity on full blast. What was it Sojourner Truth said?

Ain't I a woman.

There is something strange about David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, referring to Michelle Obama's arms as "Thunder and Lighting." I mean, I could see if he said that about Serena Williams or Angela Bassett. Those two ladies are seriously diesel, and while I might give Brooks the side-eye if he pointed it out, I couldn't deny the truth in his statements.

But, I can't see that sentiment with Obama. She seems to have done a good job of balancing the different elements of her body type, which is a body type quite common among black folks. More importantly, the way she dresses lets the whole world know that she and her husband find her body attractive and worth flaunting a little bit. Her man knows he has something good to look at, and he wants the world to appreciate what he managed to bang over the head and drag home, caveman style.

And I'd wager that there have been times in Michelle's life when her physique wasn't a source of strength. I'm sure that as a tall, dark-brown skinned, athletic black woman, she got her fair share of insults and jibes in a country that champions European standards of beauty. I'm sure there is some pain there. In fact, it's even more impressive that she's as comfortable with herself as she appears to be considering how many black woman loathe the skin they possess. (Hello Lil' Kim.)

I'm also not going to address the racial backstory that goes along with white folks commenting on the obvious nature of a black woman's physical strength. Most of y'all know that story. Nor am I going to breakdown the way some white folks are uncomfortable with self-contained, confident black women, I'll let that ride. What I will say is that folks are spending way too much time noticing the cut of Michelle's dress, and far too little time figuring out the best way to fix this damn country.

Now I know both Dowd and Brooks have written about hefty topics. But, the sense I got from Dowd's column was that Michelle's outfits were sending a message that many white folks aren't comfortable with it, and that this problem needed to be addressed pronto. I'd like to pretend this issue is totally unimportant, but unfortunately image is very important. Honestly, I think Michelle needs to keep on busting folks upside their heads with the fact that she's a woman. She needs to challenge all the morays about what is and is not acceptable for a First Lady, particularly an attractive, black First Lady. And her critics can do something as well...

Get their heads out of her closet.



Darth Whitey said...

Overthinking this. First ladies have always dressed very modestly, that's all. I don't recall Laura Bush ever wearing anything even semi-racey. That being said, I don't care.

Lolo said...

In my fantasy world, Maureen Dowd would get her SATC sucking face out of the sun, out of the NYT (which some of my friends and I have called the YT Times for years now) and over in the corner. She is one of those "writers" that I have consigned to the bin of Do Not Read or my meter just redlines. Not relevant, not able to frame a sentence without resorting to some freaking cliche of what she thinks is feminism, not constructive and catty to the nth degree.

I agree with your entire post and will add this ~ our First Lady (man, how much do I still dig being able to say that??!) is an example of what a 40 something, not anything like mainstream, successful, confident and tasteful grownup WOMAN can carry off. Taste, grace and confidence all wrapped up in a healthy package.

I do notice that she does the typical jock walk in heels though. That's a whole topic that I'm sure Dowd will be addressing any day now. "Power Stomping in Three Inch Heels" or something more clever that she concocts after her third Cosmopolitan.

Lisa J said...

What a nerve. And David Brooks, needs to sit down somewhere and be quiet. Maybe when he can get a decent haircut, pair of glasses and starts to wear suits with a better cut, he can comment on someone else's attire. So many haters out there, they just cannot STAND seeing a strong black man and woman in the White House. Personally, I think and hope Michele keeps showing off her fabulous bod in nice clothes and continues to gives black women and all women and girls an example of a healthy body type that falls outside of the typical European notion what makes the female form beautiful. Also I hope she keeps doing it, to quote the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, to "F--K em just to see the look on their F--K em just to see the look on their face."

Maybe Maureen will feel a little better if she gets another face lift and forgoes carbs for a week so she can lose a few more of the pounds she deparately does not need to lose. MEOW!!

Anonymous said...

I though the same about Obama and the Flag Pin. Now, everytime I see him he is wearing the pin. How long will it be before the first lady starts to dress modestly like past first ladies??

Big Man said...

I hope she doesn't cave. I think she may be more stubborn than Obama.

And for Lolo and Lisa J.

Unlike Darth, I obviously think this IS an important topic. These types of criticisms can become massive issues if the right people complain long enough. But, like y'all, I'm geeked to see a First Lady who looks like many older women I see everyday.

Deacon Blue said...

I think the big problem here is that too many Americans think a president and First Lady should be a certain way. You elect so many old white guys to the office and have so many marriages that appear to be "cold fish" ones (or even semi-antagonistic, like the Clintons), and everyone freaks out when you get a first family that is younger than the "norm," a different cultural background than the "norm" and actually act like a healthy married couple. Or for that matter, dress like who they are, rather than who we want them to be.

ch555x said...

She looks fine to me!

JudithNYC said...

To the people who compare Michelle to Laura Bush: you know, there are other First Ladies and I remember Mrs. Kennedy wearing a lot of sleeveless dresses. Might have to do with being young and vibrant.

Deacon Blue said...

Thanks for pointing that out, JudithNYC. I had considered making a similar point in my comment, but then couldn't recall from my history classes and JFK documentaries how "conservatively" Jackie Kennedy dressed

MacDaddy said...

Bottomline: She's smarts as can be; and she dresses like a fine ass model. As my nephew said after Jessie Jackson said he would like to cut off Obama's balls:"Uncle Mac, I think they be hatin."

Anonymous said...

@big: First off, you sound like ol' dude Townie from the Waterboy for saying "All night long" ... or Lionel Richie. take your pick. lol.

Secondly, the wannabe chimps who are running their mouths about her attire clearly don't have an answer to fix what's wrong with this country. I know you know that though. lol.

But we already know: Wise men don't argue with Chimps.

Darth Whitey said...

Speaking of chimps, oh what fun it would be reading this blog and its comments if someone made a site like this one here for President Obama?

Oh that would be in very poor taste and yes, downright racist, but it'd be entertaining. I think Big Man's head would explode ;-) But just remember that this one exists if anyone ever makes a similar site comparing O's facial expressions with those of a mouse or something heh.

RiPPa said...

After reading this, my man Paul Mooney comes to mind...

"Everybody wanna be a nigger, but don't nobody wanna be a nigger."

My guess is that people are pissed because she doesn't quite pass for the lady on the aunt Jemima bottle in a mammy sorta way.

Lolo said...

Darth, I see what you're doing there and if Big Man and some of his other readers weren't the people that they are, you would be enough reason to not post comments.

If you enjoy pushing up against the line so much as it appears that you do, I wonder why you just don't blog for your own satisfaction. That way you could actually stir it up and get the feedback and justification that you so apparently crave.

Most times your comments are just pause for eyerolling but damn, some days you do indeed affirm my need to pray.

Big Man said...


Don't let him get you down. And please don't let him stop you from commenting.

I'm willing to bet that the site Darth linked to actually features the same pictorial montage I had on my blog discussing Obama and the chimp cartoon. I would know for sure, but when I tried to open the page I couldn't get it to open.

Darth understands the reasons why the chimp comparision is more egregious when it involves Obama, that has been expressed to him many times. But, Darth is not interested in that viewpoint because of a particular problem he has that I made need to blog about.

See, Darth is a believer in pseudo-fairness. I've touched on that concept in the past, but maybe it's time to go there again.

Lolo said...

Oh, no worries. You and your readers have been nothing but a plus, even when and sometimes due to the fact that I get a chance to see this country of ours from other perspectives.

But yes, for me a Darth by any other name is still a troll. However, I can sling it with the most passive aggressive of them when I can be bothered and he really doesn't make that much of a mess.

Deacon Blue said...

Forget this civil discourse stuff. I'm a geek! I grew up in the Star Wars generation. He gave himself the name Darth Whitey.

Where the hell is the Jedi master around here?

I want an acrobatic, blazing, fought-in-an-exotic locale lightsaber duel.

I guess the special effects budget around here won't handle that, eh?

Darth Whitey said...

I guess I have become a troll haven't I, sorry, I won't comment anymore, I'll just read from time to time because I do find the posts and the comments interesting. Peace.

Big Man said...


You should comment. Your comment from today gave me an idea for a post.

I like people who disagree with me, as long as they aren't rude or stupid.

Deacon Blue said...

Some folks will get mad at you, Darth (rightfully or wrongfully, depending)...and by all means do what you can to be open and aware and not ignorant...but like Big Man said, that DOESN'T mean you shouldn't EVER post.

I would still like to see a lightsaber duel though.

Lolo said...

Darth, you ever go to a big old party where you don't know most of the people? Well, that's kind of how I approach blogs. Some parties are just raucus and you know from the noise that the night's gonna end with someone getting threatened with a beatdown, someone puking on your shoes, some crazy strangers leaving together.

Some parties aren't even that, they're just a stand up act and everyone's there to laugh and listen to the comic and if you heckle, then bam! you're target.

Some blogs are just lecture halls. Zzzzzzzwha?

My point is, I think my faves are metaphorical parties where I'm going to meet lots of people. I'll drift in and out of different groups, comment when I'm interested, back away when it's boring or ugly. Once in a while I'll just drop a "damn, who farted??" cuz hey, that's just how I am.

I would never, and I do mean NEVER, attempt to instigate getting someone to feel so bad that they leave the party. That was not my intent and this is not my party.

I don't like a lot of what you post, but that doesn't mean one of us has to leave. The host of this party has made it clear that we're both welcome and that's clear enough for me.

Peace to you too but Deacon's gonna have to make his own lightsaber duel cuz Star Bores just makes me cry.

I am not Star Jones said...

Darth Whitey...
Have you seen the photos of Jacqueline Kennedy wearing sleeveless dresses?

If the country survived that display of immodesty, it can survive First Lady Michelle Obama doing her thing.

(Nice try in attempting to rewrite history because it doesn't fit your limited world view. Sir, I politely request that you take your vitamins next time.)

And you know what?
Everything the Obamas do is going to make some people uncomfortable because THIS ISN'T HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE. The first black president and first lady were supposed to happen during some Battlestar Galactica episode; not in real life!

Oh well -- life goes on.

Mr. Noface said...

wait a minute...just because she is showing her arms she isn't dressing modestly??!? Gimmie a break!! These critics are simply telling on themselves. They don't know what to do with a black woman with poise and presence. It is unfortunately an aspect of negrophobia, that many people in America need to adress and overcome.

Raving Black Lunatic