Reposting from Michelle Obama Watch where Gina points out Michelle Obama’s somewhat different, not lesser, role as First Lady.
As a woman who will soon have her JD in hand (crosses fingers) and eventually plans to have a family, I don’t see why people have to place these value judgments on Michelle’s role. Whether she is working at some law firm or for U of C or receiving dignitaries at the White House, she is not less of a person or necessarily compromising herself.
We have another in a growing list of laments that somehow the fact that Michelle Obama will not be working for someone else and will be free to fill her time with the activities of her choosing is somehow a great tragedy and a setback for women. This time its Rebecca Traister in The National Post in an article called “Not Such a Long Way Baby”
Americans may be ready for a black president, but not, apparently, for a career-minded First Lady averse to the traditional domesticity of her role…In all the worrying about how Sasha and Malia will adjust to having their lives turned upside down, in all the fretting about how Barack Obama will move his Chicagostyle shop to Washington, why is there so little curiosity about how Michelle will adjust to the loss of her own private, very successful, very high-profile and very independent identity? How will Michelle Obama feel as she becomes what she has long resisted — an extension of her husband? The National Post
Can somebody show me a survey of Americans to support this statement about Americans rejecting the idea of “career-minded” women? Didn’t Lynne Chaney keep her job for the past four years and write a couple of books as well? Weren’t there concerns during the campaign about the role Todd Palin played in Alaska government?
Now during the campaign, I was annoyed with the “Michelle Obama Needs a Makeover” meme that the New York Times pushed tirelessly. I didn’t see anything wrong with her that needed to be made over. All of that “First Mom” business got started to combat the “She’s too STRONG” meme. I reject them both. I reject the notion that MOMs are somehow weak and powerless. HA! You haven’t met my Mama.
Second, I reject the notion that accomplished women are inherently “STRONG” ( good or bad). I know plenty of accomplished, “driven” people who are miserable and crazy. I think both sides of this Mom vs Career argumant are equally annoying because they assume that each is mutually exclusive and one is inferior to the other. It assumes that Michelle’s brain will suddenly stop functioning and she will place all of her talents in a box and hide them away for four or eight years.
Where is it written that once you have a law degree that the only permissible role you have to play in the world is working for somebody else? Where is it written that if you choose a different role for yourself that you are somehow throwing away your professional achievements and accomplishments? Where is it written that the only “career” you can have is working long hours for somebody else? Where is it written that Michelle couldn’t continue her life’s work by crafting an East Wing operation that helps her focus on the same issues or passions she focussed on during her career at the University of Chicago.
Believe me, you don’t become any less accomplished when you choose another path. In fact, its really difficult to bury those accomplishments and talents. They tend to crop up, even when you try to suppress them. You just transfer them from one area to the next. Michelle Obama’s IQ isn’t going to suddenly drop because she is no longer working for the University of Chicago.
Posted by Gina