The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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The real Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama has added an undeniable new energy into the evolving debate of feminism, motherhood and the traditional ideals of womanhood that still dominate our society’s consciousness.

This is a rather predictable debate that has manifested itself in a variety of ways. The most recent reincarnation is Michelle Obama. She is the equally famous first lady of an overwhelmingly popular president. But apart from that role, she is an accomplished professional whose life story warrants nothing short of respect.

During the campaign, there were also various attempts to portray Michelle Obama as the more feminist option among women voters than Hillary Clinton. This was a rather strange argument and was highlighted in an interview that President Barack Obama did.

He assured anyone watching that his wife would not take an active role in the policy and every day functions of the White House, such as Clinton had notoriously done. All the while, he stressed that his wife was the ‘rock’ of the family and the smarter of the two.

I couldn’t agree more.

Michelle Obama is an exceptionally gifted lawyer, community organizer and campaigner. So why keep assuring people that Michelle would not be involved? Wouldn’t it be wise to have someone of that caliber giving her input to help solve problems and be instrumental in using her unique position to fight for important causes?

Instead, Michelle Obama declared herself as a ‘Mom-in-Chief,’ and decided to not return to her job. Now granted, she is a wonderful mother to two vivacious young girls, and has every right to choose whether or not she wishes to work. That doesn’t bother me; after all, the women’s movement was and continues to be a struggle that wishes to give women the option to decide what they choose to do with their lives.

What has begun to bother me however, is watching Michelle Obama host garden parties and tea ceremonies. The first lady is an absurdly traditional and quaint title. Surely, she has better things to do with her time. Plus, what does it continue to say about our society that we expect whomever is in that position to spend her time with social gatherings and ribbon cutting?

During the primary campaign, many within the mainstream media faction, attempted to portray her as a radical whose ideology did not adhere to that all elusive moderate constituency. The Obama campaign tried to neutralize those attacks and waged their own. It seemed that in story after story we read about Michelle’s inspiring life story and a true example of what is possible. We were also bombarded with images and anecdotes about the Obamas’ marriage.

Hillary Clinton, with all the criticism that has and can be leveled against her, was one of the truly revolutionary first ladies, in the sprit of Eleanor Roosevelt. Michelle Obama has the potential to build on their accomplishments and make her own history.

What it really comes down to is that I desperately want Michelle Obama to take this as an opportunity to advocate for all the young women who are trying to find their place in this world. How wonderful would it be to see such an intellectual and beautiful woman help shatter an additional ’18 million cracks’ in the glass ceiling? She is, after all, a mother, a sister, a daughter and a wife. She is smart and inspiring, not because she is a woman, but because she is an extraordinary human being.

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