1600 Penn, Bangs, Barack Obama, fashion, first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Inauguration Day, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, style
What an amazing day for our country! Anytime we have a president sworn into office, whether we agree with their politics or not, is a brilliant moment for our government. We have achieved a peaceful transfer of power even when we don’t agree with the outcome. Some people reading this article will be ecstatic that President Barack Obama has been sworn in for a second term, and others will be frustrated with his re-election.
That will not be the point of this post.
In talking about the first lady, very little is said about her. Most of the mentions of the first lady today refer to her outfit and hairstyle, namely her new bangs.
Granted, Michelle Obama looks fabulous in her new bangs and fashionable wardrobe. Yet Michelle Obama is an accomplished women on her own. For her undergraduate, she attended Princeton University. She received her law degree from Harvard Law School and even mentored the president before their marriage. Michelle Obama champions issues regarding service members and their families and childhood obesity.
She’s not the only first lady whose accomplishments were shadowed by her appearance.
In 2010, Secretary of State/former Senator/former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked what designer she was wearing. This question was thrown at her: “Which designer do you prefer?” The Secretary of State was on official business in Kyrgyzstan. Her reply was “Would you ever ask a man that question?” Additionally, Secretary Clinton’s pantsuits were often the subject of commentaries.
Our most recent three first ladies all have attained postgraduate degrees. Laura Bush’s accomplishments of a Master’s in Library Science and work on women’s health and literacy were shadowed by her style throughout her husband’s presidency.
Last week, I watched the new show 1600 Penn. During the episode, the president’s wife continues to receive questions about her wardrobes and fit upper arms as she tries to discuss policy issues.
Some things never change.
No matter the accomplishments of our first ladies, their appearance takes precedence over any other part of their personality or accomplishments.
Many like to refer to 1 Timothy 2 when it comes to women preaching in the churches. However, few talk about verses 9-10: “also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God.”
I’m not saying they shouldn’t dress fashionable from time to time. Every woman should feel good in what they wear. However, there’s more to each of these women than their style. May these women experience beauty in their wardrobe but let us hear more of their accomplishments than their style selections. If we can figure out how to celebrate these women for their acts rather than their wardrobe, our daughters, granddaughters and nieces will be stronger for it.
Jane Larson said:
I agree with you that women are more than their style. But how one presents oneself visually is a powerful communicator.
We expect women of power to put forth an image of confidence and competence. Their manner of dress speaks volumes toward this. We want them to be better than us, and to look better than us.
Dressing with style and care projects one’s sense of self worth, which is a vital element toward command of respect. I feel that Michelle’s manner of dress is an attraction even if it is a distraction for a short period of time. It is a strong indicator of who she is.
I am a big fan of your blogs, Michelle! Please keep your thoughtful posts coming our way!
I do agree that it’s important that all people present their best selves. My concern is that the media talks about her clothes and hair far more than any of her accomplishments as first lady. I think it’s great that she can find stylish clothes at places that do not cost a fortune and are American made!