The President is a man, the First Lady is talking fashion, and all is right with the world

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 · 53 Comments »

There were a few scary moments last year when it seemed a woman might actually be the next President of the United States, but then the patriarchy got things back under control with Barack Obama. Just as Obama’s inauguration was an aggressive and carefully calculated display of male dominance, the media coverage of his White House is like a nightmare rerun of Ozzie and Harriet. Yesterday’s puff piece in the New York Times on Michelle Obama is positively gleeful:

On the president and her wardrobe:

“He’s always asking: ‘Is that new? I haven’t seen that before.’ It’s like, Why don’t you mind your own business? Solve world hunger. Get out of my closet.”

fashions_first_ladiesYeah! That’s how it’s supposed to be. The menfolk run the world while the ladies worry about shoes.

The name of this masterpiece of journalism is “Mrs. Obama Speaks Out About Her Household.” I think the reporter must have simply dredged up some old Mamie Eisenhower or Jackie Kennedy pieces from the Times archives and plugged in Michelle’s name. Topics covered include:

  • How she keeps her figure
  • French fries
  • Hips, and the value of pleats
  • Silver belts
  • Shoes, and how she keeps buying them

Most important of all is the President’s dismissive attitude towards his wife’s fashion foibles. It’s a standard trope of patriarchy, going back to the ancient Greeks: serious man, frivolous wife, indulgent teasing.

This is Act II of last year’s media assault on Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Just as those women were brutally attacked for daring to reach for power, Michelle Obama is now being primped and puffed as a good Stepford Wife who knows to stay in her place. She can worry about her silver belts and matchy-matchy shoes, while the men do the important stuff. And all is right with the world.

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53 Responses to “The President is a man, the First Lady is talking fashion, and all is right with the world”

  1. qaz says:

    What shocked me the most was that the misogyny was so blatent during the primaries and still today. They intentionally stick it to women every chance they get.

  2. Nora says:

    qaz is right and yet, I hear no major protests from the New Agenda, NOW or any other “women’s organization”. Where are the women?

    We are lost.

  3. anna says:

    “she has learned not to wear a certain gray metallic belt when the president is around.”

    Yes, Heaven forbid she should wear what she likes and bought with her own money if Master doesn’t like it. And what’s with Barack acting like the little woman is spending his money, and not her own that she earned? If she wants to spend every cent on clothes, that’s her business and not his.

  4. Lori says:

    Oh, Anna, brilliant point. That is part of the fantasy about Obama is that he is this ultra-industrious, ultra-competent male who has got everything under control. But Obama has never held a full time job since he got out of college and Michelle’s been the one out paying the bills.

    I remember reading a dairy at DK which struck me as being particularly fatuous even for that forum. it was written by this guy who was moved to support Obama because of the way he looked at his daughters. This person just KNEW that Obama would do anything to protect his daughters – apparently, unlike other men who were running for president. He was now an “Obama dad” and according to him, the world was going to have to watch out for the “Obama dads”. Oh lord.

    I always liked the degree to which the Dems avoided brain dead sanctimony. Obama sure as heck brought that to an end.

  5. donna darko says:

    This is Act II of last year’s media assault on Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

    Rick Warren, the condoning of Favreau, Jessica Simpson who’s losing in a weight battle apparently, Michelle Obama named a helpmeet four times in People magazine are all deliberate attempts to move our culture backwards. We may keep Roe v. Wade but laws do not legislate against sexism.

  6. Sweet Sue says:

    You’re right on the money,donna darko. We’re right back into “Mad Men” world and it’s all so heartbreaking.

  7. Nell says:

    I just read this same post at The New Agenda, and I must say that I am becoming more and more disillusioned with their tolerance of male, faux-feminist, Obama apologist commenters like Kevin. He dominates nearly every thread and, IMO, undermines the goals of the organization.

    Love this site, though, Violet.

  8. donna darko says:

    Michelle Obama likes to be referred to as mom-in-chief and is in sleeveless, pink lingerie on that cover of People.

  9. Lori says:

    Ahhhhhh ha! I found the Obama Dad’s article. You’ll be interested to know that the writer says that when “you” see Hillary and Chelsea on a stage together, it just leaves “you” cold. Hmmmm….., it never left me cold. It made me feel proud.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/1/29/203721/869

    I’d love to know how this loser feels about his rhetoric and predictions now.

  10. donna darko says:

    The sexist dogwhistles last year that appealed to male voters were deliberate too.

  11. Nell says:

    May I please be released from moderation?

  12. polly styrene says:

    Surely a good idea to have hips? Or else how would your legs be attached to your body?

  13. sister of ye says:

    Get out of my closet.

    The snark potential in this line alone is comedy gold. But I shouldn’t be rude now, should I?

    Seriously, I got so tired during the campaign of hearing two things: 1) his wife is a lawyer, too, and 2) he has daughters and of course he’ll want the best for them.

    His wife was a lawyer who brought her fiance along to a job interview. That never sounded too liberated to me. She proceeded to campaign on the promise that she’d be a good little mom and stay away from all that icky policy stuff like You Know Who. The very fact that such rhetoric was totally unnecessary indicates to me that it wasn’t just campaign BS.

    A father can have many ideas of what is best for his daughters. In the worst cases, it can mean beating, raping and impregnating them. Even fathers far from that horrible behavior could consider the best to mean learning to be nice, compliant nonentities. Let’s just say I don’t hold a lot of faith in a guy who exploits and jerks his daughters around on the simple matter of getting a pet.

  14. Sandra S. says:

    In the link Donna Darko provided we see more sickening repetition of the helpmate/helpmeet meme. You know, just to underscore that she’s supportive and subordinate and not all uppity and bossy like Hillary was. Of course, in a relationship where she needs to have her job offers vetted by her husband, maybe it’s applicable.

  15. yttik says:

    “Get out of my closet.”

    ROFL! Thank you, I was also having snarky thoughts.

  16. Elizabeth K. says:

    To me this is small potatoes compared to the bourgeois-patriarchy-fest that was the Democratic National Convention. Every woman who spoke, including my main woman Hillary, had to air her credentials as a mother (and in the case of Pelosi, also grandmother), and whatever crap someone (Favreau?) wrote for Michelle O. to read was as submissive and as filled with adulation for the O. man as you can possibly imagine. The only epistemological grounding she cited at all was her experience as a working mother. In the women’s group she met, people asked her what POLICY PROPOSALS she would recommend to O. man, and she said something along the lines of, “oh, I dunno, I leave that stuff to HIM!”

    But MO did appear quite appreciative of HRC at the “Secretary’s 2009 International Women of Courage Awards.” You can see the video here: http://www.state.gov/video/ It’s about a half hour long.

    I have to say that it annoyed me that they couldn’t get a microphone tall enough for MO. She is a tall woman–respect her difference!

    My Hillary campaign friends don’t like MO, but really the only things I don’t like about her are the individual to whom she is married, and some things she said about Hillary during the campaign. But Hillary got over this, and so can I (someday).

    I’m really inclined to cut MO a break because I figure it this way: I’m white, blue-eyed, and a conventional height for a woman, and I find it plenty difficult to “fit in,” or at least fake it well enough to get and hold a job. How much harder does it have to be for a 6′ tall black woman with a big butt and an underbite? But the press could do us all a favor by pointing out some of her qualities that are not gender marked.

  17. simply wondered says:

    well things are really gonna change now he’s in the whitehouse – oh yessirree!

    actually, it would be interesting if the next run-off for democratic presidential candidate was michelle obama against hillary…

  18. soopermouse says:

    And MO is supposed to be, according to the buttkissers at pandagon et co, a “feminist icon”?
    Wtf

    palm, meet forehead.

    The message the big ole Patriarchy is sending out is loud and clear “you can be whatever the hell you want, unless you’re female. If you are, you better know your damn place or else”

    I hate MO and what she stands for ( see the denial of care for poor people practice at the Chicago Uni Hospital she worked for, which is one of her initiatives)

  19. NotYoursweetie says:

    And to think I thought W’s “lump in the bed” and sweeping the porch” were bad…They sound caring and affectionate next to this guy

  20. Alwaysthinking says:

    What is the hidden message behind the Obamas’ efforts to take us back to the hypocritical 1950s’ behavior? They obviously sold their souls and agreed to present an outdated fairy-tale scenario about themselves to the world. Personally, I think that the real message of their bargain with the devil — mainly Wall Street — is to assure that women don’t ever get paid equally. That is, by brainwashing them into thinking they can go happily back to that horrible 1950s’ closet. It didn’t work then and we must not let it work now!

  21. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    Nell, with regards to Kevin at TNA, I had to laugh at Violet’s response to him – it’s quotable, concise, to the point, spot on and gorgeous.

    Violet wrote: People who go around saying that women can’t talk about sexism unless they also talk at the same time about racism, homophobia, ageism, Free Tibet, global warming, and the dolphins are people who don’t want women to talk about sexism. It’s a shut-up strategy, plain and simple.

  22. Sandra, CA says:

    Nell is

    becoming more and more disillusioned with [the NA's] tolerance of male, faux-feminist, Obama apologist commenters like Kevin. He dominates nearly every thread and, IMO, undermines the goals of the organization.

    I can’t stand to go there any more for that reason. Thank goodness for cross-posting. I’d hate to miss any of Violet’s posts.

  23. anna says:

    Let us also point out that the first lady is expected to be a fashion icon, and what she wears is constantly scrutinized, as she well knows. Yet this article-written by a woman, as most sexist articles are, to stop people from calling them sexist-acts as though she is simply vain and silly for caring about fashion and buying lots of new clothes, when she would be excoriated as a dumpy pig if she didn’t. Just look at what people used to say about Eleanor.

  24. gayle says:

    Where is MO’s paper doll?

  25. Lori says:

    I like a nicely-dressed First Lady and I like hearing about her clothes – as long as that isn’t all there is to her. Pat Nixon’s daughters got to wear some great clothes – that was fun, too.

    I don’t see anything wrong with writing about the First Lady’s clothes long as she has other stuff going on. I don’t like Michelle, but I hope she doesn’t willingly turn herself into the personification of a bimbo – which is where I’m worried this is going. If I hear her say “tee hee”, I’m moving to Iceland.

  26. gayle says:

    Obviously you didn’t read the very important NY Times article Violet links to above, Lori.

    If you check it out you see that, far from being concerned only with fashion, MO could “live on French Fries,” but won’t because, like most people, she needs to watch her weight. You’ll also learn about her exercise regimen and how her daughters refuse to go to certain unnamed fast food chains.

    See, important stuff like that!!

  27. Val says:

    “I don’t hold a lot of faith in a guy who exploits and jerks his daughters around on the simple matter of getting a pet.”
    You took the words right out of my mouth, sister of ye! I mean, what’s the damn big deal?!? Go to a shelter, let them pick out a nice doggie.
    Asthma, my a$$ – bathe the animal in a medicated shampoo twice a week; I’ll bet a Secret Service agent could be assigned to do it ;-)

  28. Sis says:

    Why not a consider a lightly employed speech writer for the bi-weekly doggie shampoo. C’mon. Have a heart. Starbucks mocha java has gone up 20c a cup.

    I want to make a comment about some reaction to this post on TNA: Keisha is a tool. Ooops I meant a troll. And a racist troll at that. Note, the troll didn’t pick a name like Anne, or Emily. Because those names don’t announce I’m a Black woman, hear!

    When these white, lefty males troll feminist blogs they do it with about the same amount of imagination and nuance as they did with the c*nt t-shirts.

    What a waste of feminist energy. Just focus on the fine work Vi has done. So many bon mots.

  29. Nina M. says:

    Glad to see this post, Violet. I don’t like criticizing First Ladies – any First Ladies – but the coverage of Michelle is killing me. I just look at the headlines, rather than read the articles; I don’t need the aggravation. But its been like – Michelle can wear dresses! Michelle can eat healthy! Michelle can garden! Michelle can walk and chew gum at the same time! Isn’t she precious?

    I believe I witnessed the high point the other day on one of the cable news channels, don’t remember which. It was a male anchor, with a Dem and a Rep appearing via satellite. They covered a number of issues, and then went to a clip of Michelle Obama talking to some kids The anchor asked the men for their ‘verdicts’ – and of course both men praised her effusively, saying she was doing “a great job.” And then one of them said (I paraphrase):

    ‘What a great role model! Now girls everywhere can be inspired to be just like her!’

    Because Michelle, you see, invented the position of First Lady, and for the first time ever, girls can aspire to be married to an important man. Lol. All three of those doofuses were falling over each other in agreement.

  30. yttik says:

    There is nothing in this article that bashes Michelle, it’s a commentary on the media’s sexist portrayal of her. I thought it was a rather fabulous piece for the way it handled the issue.

    I have a friend who warned me when we elected Obama that women’s rights were going to go backwards. She’s a feminist, but she’s also a black woman. She said black women have never had a Betty Crocker, a June Cleaver. They haven’t had the 50′s role model in the white house or the opportunity to be all about fashion, recipes, America’s princess. There are no black women in that paper doll book Violet found. While many of us were looking beyond the Jackie glamor and seeing the two dimensional world she was forced to live in and rejecting it, a lot of black girls were still wanting a glamorous Jackie that they could identify with. My friend’s theory was that we were going to take a giant leap backwards into that 50′s world again. I think she was correct. But she’s not accepting of what’s happening, she’s screaming and, LOL, throwing things at my TV. She believes Michelle has an obligation to rise above this character she is being presented as and to realize she is a role model for women in 2009.

  31. bluelyon says:

    Hoo boy…I’ve attracted my own fella over at BlueLyon. I quoted Violet’s pithy answer to Kevin and he appears on the scene to fight with Violet on my blog. I keep telling him to take it up with Violet, but he’d rather fight by proxy. I took a peek at his blog, and he’s definitely got a jones for “Puma Bashing” (his tag, not mine).

  32. Violet says:

    She said black women have never had a Betty Crocker, a June Cleaver. They haven’t had the 50’s role model in the white house or the opportunity to be all about fashion, recipes, America’s princess. There are no black women in that paper doll book Violet found. While many of us were looking beyond the Jackie glamor and seeing the two dimensional world she was forced to live in and rejecting it, a lot of black girls were still wanting a glamorous Jackie that they could identify with.

    That is exactly right. I’ve said this myself many times in conversation with friends. That’s why for so many black women, it’s just thrilling to have their own Jackie K. That and the fact that there’s even less feminism in the black community than in the white.

  33. soopermouse says:

    “She believes Michelle has an obligation to rise above this character she is being presented as and to realize she is a role model for women in 2009.”

    here’s the thing: she doesn’t feel like she does. This is not a role that she is being pushed into as First Lady, this is the role she happily played before. This is her normality, and there is nothing in it for her to go out of it.
    She doesn’t care about other women, and I have not seen any evidence to show that she does.
    And those words of apparent appreciation towards Hillary? Of course she enjoyed calling Hillary “madame secretary” , since it’s not the “madame president” that should have been. That’s not appreciation and respect, it is pure fucking gloating.

  34. donna darko says:

    That’s fine for the black community since they never had a Betty Crocker/Jackie O but Rick Warren, Favreau, the Jessica Simpson line (even Bush and Cheney wouldn’t make a comment like that) affect all races of women. What I said here and other places is with the expansion of the faith-based initiatives office, the installation of Reverend Wright’s colleague Otis Moss Jr and the continued cultural devaluation of women and GLBT is Michelle Obama wants to superimpose on all races the hierarchies of the black church where women and GLBT are second class citizens.

  35. donna darko says:

    I said all last year the Obamas would be trouble for gender relations.

    What I didn’t expect was an economic mess too.

  36. donna darko says:

    And don’t miss my comment above this one in moderation!

    Most of what I said last year came true so just believe it!

  37. Nell says:

    Violet, kudos to you for taking on Kevin at TNA site. I’m happy to hear there have been other complaints about him. I, too, have considered voicing my displeasure at TNA’s tolerance of his condescension, but since I am a very infrequent commenter, I kept silent.

    You get it, Violet. I’m not sure your colleagues at TNA do.

  38. soopermouse says:

    “Michelle Obama wants to superimpose on all races the hierarchies of the black church where women and GLBT are second class citizens.”

    I doubt that’s Micuhelle’s doing. This is Obama’s game, and she is just following in.

    “That’s fine for the black community since they never had a Betty Crocker/Jackie O but Rick Warren, Favreau, the Jessica Simpson line (even Bush and Cheney wouldn’t make a comment like that) affect all races of women. ”

    What IS more important? that the WoC get their cultural icons or that all women are liberated?

    Electing as symbol as opposed to a real politician is already costing the USA dearly.

  39. Violet says:

    The question of why came up at TNA. Why the Ozzie-and-Harriet fantasy? I’ll just post here what I said over there:

    ***

    Now that’s an interesting question: why?

    My personal belief is that the Obama team made a calculated decision that the American public could only handle one revolutionary change at a time, and that was electing the first African-American president. They decided that in all other respects, the Obama candidacy and presidency would be soothing and completely in line with traditional Americana, hence the Ozzie-and-Harriet stuff. Michelle is supposed to be a Jackie Kennedy type in terms of fashion, a Mamie Eisenhower type in terms of being domestic, they have the happy family thing going (two kids and a dog, even), Obama talks about religion and praying and all that stuff. I think his whole deal is to be as close as possible to a Norman Rockwell painting — except that the family is black. I believe his team decided that this would be the best way to make the racial change acceptable to the broadest number of people.

    I’m just guessing, though.

    ****

    In other words, I don’t really think the goal, per se, is to reverse women’s rights. I think the goal was and is to make Obama a successful president, and women’s rights are simply being sacrificed. They’re expendable.

  40. soopermouse says:

    “women’s rights are simply being sacrificed. They’re expendable.”

    Could’ve told you that in June 2008

  41. soopermouse says:

    Oh holy mother of dog I just went and read again that horrendous piece of fluff.
    Did Michelle not notice that she was beign treated like she is developmentally disabled?

  42. CoolAunt says:

    Ewww. The NYT piece has me gagging. Sickening, isn’t it?

    I, too, have suspected that MO intentionally plays the traditional 1950s housewife role to make their First Family seem familiar and therefore acceptable in spite of the racial change. In addition, I think that she had to differentiate and distance herself from HRC and, later, SP in every way possible, including and especially from anything resembling a career woman, a lawyer, and – Yipes! – a feminist. Otherwise, it would appear that BO was sleeping with the enemy…and even taking one to live in the WH with him! Say it isn’t so!

    Heh. I’m not surprised to learn that Kevin’s revealed himself to be a sexist ass. His first posted comment at TNA, on the original Feedback page, was condescending and therefore offensive.

    Fwiw and in case this makes anyone wonder, even though I’ve never posted a comment at TNA, I’m a regular reader there. In fact, having watched TNA grow since its beginning last fall, I get really excited whenever I see TNA represented or hear them quoted on the news.

  43. gxm17 says:

    I’m with Nell and the other commenters. TNA is quickly becoming a big disappointment. And IMO Kevin is an obot concern troll. JMHO but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s his day gig.

    As for MO, it disgusts me that she’s allowed herself to be muzzled and paraded around like a show pony. It’s quite demeaning and the fact that Americans are applauding this charade is sickening.

    Violet, you may be right on the campaign strategy, but it is a tack that came from an inner circle steeped in sexism and misogyny. It’s a direction they are naturally inclined to follow, it’s not like the light bulb just appeared out of nowhere. JMHO of course.

  44. Hedgepig says:

    I’m Australian, white and middle class, so I know I may be out of line by contributing here, but I just can’t help commenting on the idea that Michelle Obama is the domestic goddess WoC have never had. I know it gets mocked now, but in the 80s The Cosby Show was huge, even down here. And Claire Huckstable was pretty fabulous. She was a high-earning lawyer, a mother, a stylish beauty. She didn’t simper and agree with her husband all the time. She was unashamedly feminist. I distinctly remember one of her daughters bringing a smartarse boyfriend home for dinner and he asked her why she worked instead of staying home with the kids when her husband made enough money to support them all and she replied “Why don’t you ask Cliff the same question?”
    I sort of expected that would be Michelle Obama’s public persona: all-round super-mom career woman equal. How wrong I was. I think Violet’s take on it is right: Team Obama decided only one revolution at a time, and women’s progress gets sacrificed for the greater good. As usual.

  45. CoolAunt says:

    Yeah, Hedgepig, Claire Huxtable was pretty fabulous. I recall her telling the smartarse (smartass here in the US) boyfriend-turned-husband that she had poured her husband a cup of coffee not because he’s her husband or a man but, instead, because she happened to be going into the kitchen for a cup of coffee for herself and offering one to him was the thoughtful thing to do. Further, if he’d been going for coffee, he would have offered to bring her a cup, too, as he had many, many times before. But if son-in-law didn’t change his attitude, no woman would be bringing him anything, “no time, no way and no how.” I paraphrase, but her rant at him was a bit fabulous, too.

    It’s too bad MO’s public persona isn’t at least a bit Claire Huxtable.

  46. Sis says:

    Team Obama was NOT going to turn off the slobbering male lefty voters who are his base (sic) support. She’s a yummy mommy, in their parlance a m*lf. Can’t have her breaking that illusion. I have no idea if she sees herself like that, but she is that for his white frat boy Starbuck’s drinking foundation.

  47. soopermouse says:

    “She’s a yummy mommy, in their parlance a m*lf. ”
    Umm, no, she’s not. If she looked like amela Anderson or Halle Berry, she would have been, but Michelle is pretty far from the society standard of accepted female attractiveness ( for all colours) to fit into that description.
    And no woman who takes her husband/fiancee with her at an interview is any flavor of a feminist. She said it herself, get the fuck over it people. Michelle is NOT a feminist and has neever been.

  48. soopermouse says:

    You knwo what? Im sick and fucking tired of so many people who assume that MO is a feminist beause she is a working mother with an edcation et over it, she is not, has repeatedly stated that she is now, and would Barry Obama have married a feminst?
    NO
    get the fuck over the wishful thinking.

  49. Sis says:

    Did you all read this thread’s comments over at The New Agenda? That is one of the two best feminist discussions I’ve read on the blogs, ever, in spite of some fine work at IBTP and Women’s Space over the years.

    Congratulations Vi. I don’t know what you do for your life’s work, but it can’t be more important than this.

    This same post and the comments at TNA, and the other best blog post ever–the long discussion on sex slavery and prostituted women between Sam and Cicely about two years ago–are just so wonderful. Vi was responsible for both those posts.

    http://thenewagenda.net/2009/03/22/the-president-is-a-man-the-first-lady-is-talking-fashion-and-all-is-right-with-the-world/

    Here’s the flavour. Many, many fine comments, but this takes the cake:

    Pleasegos on March 24th, 2009 8:31 pm

    Rant coming on….please bear with me….

    “ANY Black mother will tell you that though they have strong feelings about how their girls will be treated, its the fate of their boys/men that they fear for the most”

    I’m sorry, but as a WOC that statement makes me want to beat my head against the wall and lay down in the street. That’s why I became a feminist in the first place. That’s why there IS feminism in the first place. I don’t feel like I’m any less likely to be killed or arrested (or harassed, sexually and otherwise) by cops than my male cousins. I’m way the hell more likely to be beaten or raped than my male cousins. The only difference, to me, is that if it happens to me, nobody will talk about i, nobody will march about it, nobody will care. At best, I’ll get a little blurb nobody will read on What About Our Daughters? while the mainstream, big feminist blogs will pick out a well known, already wildely decried story about a MOC and say that that’s a feminst issue because that man had a mother who loved him. To me, that statement is the problem, not something that needs to be enshrined in feminism. I’m TIREDof not mattering.

    “Black women are more likely to get an education (which is starting to happen for women in all demographics”

    This statement makes me want to scream, too. I don’t wnat to discuss it in detail because it is way too complicated (too intersectional if you wnat to put it that way), but I’m sick of MOC using stats like that as some kind of proof that WOC live on easy street and sit around eating bon bons all day and saying the idea that we’re somehow more oppressed than they in many ways is laughable.

    “This is why it enraged me so much during the election when some white women attempted to convey the idea that some how being a black man in America is easier than being being a woman of race.”

    The point of intersectionality is not to make some kind of ranking of who’s actually oppressed and who should just shut up. That is enraging and wrong, but on the flip side you had plenty of MOC telling white women that they live on easy street and eat bon bons all day. That didn’t sit right with me because it sounded very familiar to white I’ve been told by white men, MOC, white women, and yes, WOC too.

    About Michelle Obama, you make some good points, but, it’s also true that she go away with making a lot of statements that any one else in her position would have been roasted for (such as not committing to voting for her husband’s primary opponent). She didn’t get a complete free pass, but she was let off very easy. If these was an ordinary year, with only men running on both sides, she would have been shredded to teh bone with racist and sexist attacks for being a black woman with an opinion. But I feel like because the danger of having an outspoken First Lady was not as threatening to the Establishment was not as severe as having a female President or Vice President, they laid off her as long as she went along with the sexist attacks against other women, “She can’t run her own house, how can she run the White House,” “Don’t vote for cute,” “I buy my own clothes,” etc. When Bill Clinon was running, Hillary was attacked harder for a lot less. But as long as she;s against other women, she’s okay. (And, frankly, while I agree that angry is a racial buzzword Hillary also got a lot of the deranged unAmerican stuff as prospective First Lady, and she knows about scaring middle america, too). So I understand about foreign and the other, but since Michelle seemed to get off a lot easier than not only HRC and SP ‘08, but even HRC when Bll was running, and combined with the fact that she was actively using sexism to her advantage against other women, I can also see why people would alternately regard it as positioning herself as the anti-HRC the 1950’s housewife who’s just appalled at someone who thinks she could be co=President.

    As for “majority women,” are we gonna go there, really? Obama has fewer women in his cabinet than Bush. How about let’s do this, let’s get obama to nominate WOC to all positions in teh Cabinet and see if femnists complain about the underrepresentation of white women, because I bet they won’t–but something tells me he won’t, either. So we’re supposed to be happy with all male, mostly all-white spaces with one or two MOC to stick it to “majority women” and hey we never expected anything anyway so it’s okay we get shut out too? Why is it always our duty to align oursleves with men against women?

    Sorry if this sounded disrespectful, but I have just gotten FED UP over the course of this campaign. If this is womanism, it doesn’t sound too great to me. And it shouldn’t be what feminism is all abut, it sounds like why I wnated to be one in teh first place. I f certain WOC have other priorities and want to put women way down on the priority list of social justice issues, that’s fine. But asking feminists to do that is not fine. I understand that when feminists say “women,” they’re too often thinking of just white women. But asking them to play the role of alyways putting their sons first is not the answer.

    “Black women are targeted and face violence by police all the time. They’re more likely to go to jail, too. They also face the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual assault.”

    Than you. This so rarely gets pointed out.. I would think that if there is to be a separate form of feminism for WOC, it would focus on issues like this, that disproportinally affect black and latina and asian and native american and middle eastern WOMEN WOMEN WOMEN not trying to make feminism more male-centric, but what the hell do I know

    Apologies for rant.”

  50. donna darko says:

    No, this was the best comment on the thread:

    Pleasegos

    donna darko, thanks for all this information. Your blog is one of the few things keeping me sane all year.

    Kidding.

  51. donna darko says:

    But really if women of color are not interested in gender equality, they’re not feminists. If they only bash feminism and talk about racism, they aren’t feminists. If they don’t care about sexual assault and domestic violence which is mostly intra-racial for every race, that’s their problem and they’re missing out.

  52. soopermouse says:

    Amen

  53. Sis says:

    More amen. Sexism is just glossed over, buried, in an avalanche of blind political correctness about race; like the option offered young master Siskind and his classmates re their assignment for Women’s History Month.