Whats Wrong With Michelle Obamas Style 2009: Controversial Cardigans!

Whats wrong with Michelle Obamas style

Her controversial cardigans! Her bare arms! As a feminist, I cringe at the constant media attention to our first lady’s appearance.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it. Michelle Obama speaks at an event at the White House on May 12. May 19, 2009 Two weeks ago, the economy shed more jobs, David Souter announced his intention to step down from the Supreme Court, and a minor domestic scandal disrupted at the White House when Michelle Obama wore a black gown to the Time 100 gala that was mistakenly attributed to Azzedine Ala&iumla, when, in fact, it was designed by Michael Kors. Luckily, the whole thing blew over when Mrs. Obama showed up at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in a fuchsia Michael Kors gown in what People magazine reported might be — this hasn’t been confirmed — a “peace offering.” Kors brushed off the supposed sartorial slight, making him more gracious than most members of the press. Whether or not Michelle Obama is a “First Lady fashion faux pas,” as one newspaper called her, has been a top media story for months and shows no signs of abating. She was criticized for wearing a too-casual cardigan to meet the queen of England and for wearing suede-and-metallic sneakers that weren’t casual enough to a food bank. “First Lady Michelle Obama steps out in Lanvin sneakers and they’re only $450!” crowed a Daily News headline. “Obama kicks too expensive for volunteering” asked the Chicago Sun-Times. PunditMom, a political blogger, was not amused. “Are You More Interested in Michelle Obama’s Fashion or Her Works” she , exasperated that the press transformed Mrs. Obama’s formidable organizational skills — she had corralled more than 100 congressional spouses to the charity event — into Sneakergate. Enjoy this story I can sympathize with the increasingly large contingent of Americans who are sick of the media’s dissecting the finer points of Michelle’s hemlines (which are usually a demure below-the-knee length) with more precision than they do Barack’s stimulus plan. (Check out for a particularly trenchant — and funny — take.) It underscores exactly what many women have always feared: that even if you’re an Ivy League grad, the size of your bottom in a Narciso Rodriguez dress matters more than your degree.
But while some of the coverage seems snarky and mean, I must admit that I’m amused — even occasionally interested in — the celebratory fashion magazine stories, less erudite offshoots of a more general excitement about our new first family. I get the argument that all the attention to Michelle’s style makes her look frivolous, but I don’t think a penchant for trying out new hairstyles undermines a lifetime engaged in serious work. I just wish this particular frivolity weren’t frowned upon because it’s associated with women you don’t hear anyone saying that a man obsessed with sports is too silly to be president. (Oh, that’s right, he is!) And while America’s higher, harder-to-reach appearance standards for women are troubling, I’m not sure the impetus to cover Michelle’s appearance is entirely sexist. The press is advancing toward equal opportunity objectification: A is currently gracing the cover of the Washingtonian magazine, and even John Edwards’ well-coiffed hair is back in the news, since it seems to prove he possesses just the kind of unchecked vanity that naysayers insisted was his b&ecircte noire all along.

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