Long before I actually cast my vote for Barack Obama as POTUS, I liked Michele Obama. I have long had an interest and admiration for First Ladies (on both sides of the political aisle.)
I think public persona- wise , Michele had a lot of new ground to cover. She is in her 40’s, has worked outside the home, has young children, was of my generation (Gen X-ers I guess, I am in my early 40’s) She brought out some unique cultural viewpoints..being a woman of color, being a woman of color from an upper middle class family, being athletic, being tall, being her.
I think if Michele Obama were my neighbor we could be friends, but she might intimidate me. I mean she has accomplished a lot, in a lot of areas. Plus, she might give me the stink eye if she saw me sneaking up to 7-11. I have a weight problem.
The platforms she has chosen to shed her light on shouldn’t be controversial: more exercise, better food for kids. But when you mess with people’s food, its bound to ruffle feathers. Then, military families..what happens when the soldiers come home? I am a Speech Pathologist who has worked in neurorehab/head injury, and the collateral effects of a brain injury include changes in cognition, emotional regulation, behavior, depression, and vulnerability to substance abuse. If we are to say we support the troops, we must be doing so even when the sequelae of their injuries are not in neat and tidy packages, and the progress is slow, or the disabilities permanent.
I know Michele (may I?) has some built-in critics..first those who didn’t vote for Barack Obama. Then, there are the racial issues **..people who , from a geographical, cultural, generational standpoint have a really hard time seeing a family of color in a position of such prominence. Then, there are those who think she is too confident, too opinionated.
Superficially, I like that Michele is really tall..and has big feet and owns it. As a tall girl, its nice to see. Her fashion choices (I know, this shouldn’t matter) are accessible, modern but classic, and relatively unpretentious. I love seeing her develop in her public speaking skills and interviews.
I think all First Ladies have a tough road to walk–their fashion, their behavior, their words are criticized and scrutinized. There is an enormous amount of sacrifice in being in this position. But like the women who have come before her, she is making her own difference.
** I don’t think all of the Obama’s critics are racist. They oppose B.O> on the basis of their views, political actions, personas. But I still think there is a large faction of people who can deal with the other-ism of the Obamas.. I remember watching the Oprah Winfrey Show interview with President and First Lady Obama, and thinking, here are 3 of the most powerful and influential people in our country..and they are all black. There are people who must have a hard time wrapping their brain around it.