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So what’s a feminist like me doing talking about Michelle Obama’s red silk sheath?

November 7, 2012

Ally: We’ve enlisted a new guest blogger! I know, we’re THAT lazy!!

This is good news, as our new unpaid hire is one of the top three tweeters in Halifax according to The Coast. She also writes her own blog, which makes me cry once a day. So, please, sit back and enjoy Allison’s writing!

(L-A: In the spirit of the yesterday’s election, I only have this to say, “I’m L-A and I approve of this guest blogger.” I did not, however, approve of the Bruno Mars. I will never approve that. But we’ve always approved of M.Obama).

Allison S: Allison here, non biological younger sister of Ally and long time admirer of L-A. I’ve been given the privilege of making my affection for the first lady of our hearts quite public. And by affection I mean raging, passionate, and awkward girl crush that is so intense that I literally own a book of pictures of her along with date and context. A book, not a binder! There. That was my topical joke. Aren’t you proud of me? Let’s continue to talk about my creepiness.

In the months after the 2008 elections, girls across the world with ideology in their head and tumblr on their screens rejoiced at finally having an easily identifiable sartorial role model with brains. Michelle was the perfect combination of wild gesticulations and printed dresses.

Patron saint of the fashionably nerdy (“prudish girls who wear wrap dresses to clubs” would also be an acceptable term), the first lady was everyone’s girl crush. I actually wrote a very embarrassing series of haikus (seriously) where I pined for her company so she could tell me that if I worked really hard and wore camisoles under low cut tops I could be just like her.

Trying to emulate her poise has landed me a racially ambiguous boyfriend who owns a “Barack to the future” t-shirt, but still has yet to pitch at Yankee stadium wearing mom jeans, although I hold on hope.

But then real life hit, and like all things that go beloved for too long, feminism does what it does to everything it loves, including feminism: blogged about it passionately.  Why are we judging this woman based on her clothes? Our image conscious society cares more about what Michelle wears than what she says! OBSCURE JUDITH BUTLER REFERENCE HERE.

Now, I have the resolve, or perhaps stubbornness, to disagree. Like all politicians, Michelle plays a role, and her costume for “bffaeaeaeae to everyone ever” is impeccable. Does Michelle “owe” her prettiness to anyone? No.

But, like everyone involved in a political machine, she does owe a role to the American people, and she has made her a point of that when she makes a point of wearing affordable, youthful clothing.  In uncertain economic times, Michelle exudes a warmth and sense of humour that can’t help but seem genuine. Although focusing only on physical appearance is not a good societal practice, there’s no shame in fist bumping her for sneaker choice as she dances her heart out to Beyonce, because, let’s face it, she chose those sneakers knowing we were watching. Her image is carefully curated to be all of the best aspects of herself, all of the things that the citizens of a frightened nation wants in a sassy girlfriend / loving mother / powerful woman / good human figure and I have no shame in vocally appreciating her armour that she attempts to help define her as I watch the saga unfold.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2012 9:41 am

    Yes! You are so very right. Besides: Where is the rule that you can’t enjoy pretty things if you’re a feminist? I’ve always wondered about that. I like wearing beautiful clothes. It’s a sensual experience that has nothing to do with gender politics.

  2. Maura permalink
    November 7, 2012 12:06 pm

    Hurray for laziness. Sometimes it is the best approach. Great post sister Allison.

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