Media coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama: realistic or ridiculous?

For weeks now, “news” sites like Huffingtonpost.com, CNN.com and others have been drooling over every external aspect of the first black First Lady. We have heard her titled “Mighty Michelle”, “First Lady of Fashion”, “a Fashion icon”, “a modern Jackie O”, and on and on and on. We have seen every article of clothing she has worn be critiqued, rated, and often praised to no end as some brilliant fashion choice. I recall seeing Chris Matthews of MSNBC drooling over her appearance at the State of the Union address, and Jack Cafferty exclaiming that “he has a crush on Michelle Obama.”

What is going on here? Is all of this coverage reflect what is realistic, or does it teeter on being somewhat ridiculous?

Michelle Obama was not known for her fashion choices before her husband ran for office. She was not a super model or fashion runway diva. I do not recall hearing her name in the same breath as Naomi Campbell, Iman, Cindy Crawford or Tyra Banks. In fact, Barack did not meet Michelle at a photo shoot, but he worked under her at a law firm. So where is all of this fashion hype coming from? Is it driven by the struggling fashion industry, desperate to make a star out of any super high profile icon?

Concerning Michelle’s fashion, it is mixed. Some of her choices look excellent on her, and others seem somewhat experimental. When you listen to the First Lady speak, she sounds like a lawyer. She is strong, determined, and insistent on making her points and supporting her beliefs/stances. She does not sound like Halle Berry or Sade Adu, nor are her mannerisms completely soft and gentle.

This is not a knock on the first lady. My only wish is that the media would cover Michelle Obama for who she is and for the strengths got her here, as opposed to some gleeful fantasy in which only the external and superficial are acknowledged or praised.

Let’s get this straight, Michelle Obama is pretty. She is not unbelievably drop dead gorgeous (as the press would have you believe) and she is not unattractive (as some mean spirited conservative citizens would have you believe). She has a nice smile, great figure, beautiful engaging eyes, and youthful skin. However, what is most attractive about her is her humanity. She has her flaws like we all do, but she does her best with what she has and encourages others to do the same. She’s raised two lovely daughters, and supports her husband in a loving way that strengthens both of them. She keeps up with her fitness and watches her diet, which is admirable in this increasingly obese society. But most of all, she is genuine. What you see is what you get, and she cares about the youth.

I think the press would honor the first lady more if they discussed her character more than her shoes. Millions of women across the globe would love to be the wife of President Obama, but Michelle has captured his heart and loyalty. He was incredibly protective of her against GOP attacks (Remember “lay off my wife”), and grew agitated over rumors of an email relationship with Scarlett Johansson and videos from Obama girl. The President is always quick to praise his wife, even calling her the rock of the Obama family. And President Obama does not appear to be a superficial man. He does not chase after any short skirt out there (like a number of Washington politicians and past Presidents have), but he has found lasting value in Michelle, which means he knows a good thing when he sees it. Despite her initial rejection, the President was “persistent”, and their relationship has flourished and lasted while the same cannot be said for many of Hollywood’s hottest.

So the media should look at other things about Michelle, what makes her a beautiful person inside? What makes her a wonderful mother for her daughters, even as she juggles work as the first lady? What about her value for education that took her to some of the nation’s top Ivy league schools, and had the President working under her for a time? What about her resilient spirit that did not allow fear of racist threats or the stress of our current crisis talk her out of supporting her husband’s Presidency?

There are alot of things the press could and should focus on if they are talking about the nation’s first black first lady. And zeroing in on her belt, her shoes, her new hair style or sleeveless dress is a pretty empty choice.

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