Michelle Obama Spurs A "New Arms Race"

Kate Holmquist of the Irish Times has seen the Vogue with Michelle Obama on the cover, and it's not the First Lady's clothes that have her all riled up. It's Ms. Obama's arms.

Holmquist writes:

Muscled, curvy, brown and – dare I say – sexy. Slick and subtly shining, they are at the very centre of her cover shot, representing what, exactly?

If you're thinking, "strength," you're only partly right. Holmquist believes those guns speak volumes:

The arms say: "I work. I have both the discipline and the leisure to go to the gym daily. I'm too serious a woman to show off my legs or my breasts. My arms show that my focus is on achievement and self-control." Michelle reportedly trains three times a week with a personal trainer.

After plumped lips, the J. Lo butt, "enhanced" breasts and fake tans, could arms be the new "it" body part? Holmquist thinks so:

Arms that can work and hold and inspire are an erogenous zone that all women can aspire to, while remaining intelligent women, because arms are as androgynous as they are erogenous. Well-toned arms say: "I'm a woman, I'm equal but I'm still beautiful."

Intelligent women know that legs shouldn't be exposed if you want to be taken seriously because men never expose their legs (except on holiday); breasts speak of B-list bovinity and a lack of intelligence because men don't have them; piercings lack purity (we're heading into a pure and serious stage now), and tattoos – well, I'd like to see how good Angelina Jolie's ones look when she's past her prime.

But arms? You can't go wrong with well-toned arms.

While the attention paid to Michelle Obama — to her hair, clothes, smile, words, every detail of her being — is overwhelming, and teeters on obsessive, is focus on her arms any better than focus on her butt? Are we still reducing a sucessful, highly educated lawyer and mom to a body part? On the other hand: Arms aren't as steeped in race as the derriere. And: Just like a J.Crew ensemble, nice arms are something the average woman can hope to have. As Holquist points out: "If you can't afford the gym, start doing research on how to achieve the look by lifting tins of beans."

First Lady Spurs New Arms Race [Irish Times]
Earlier: Writer Extolls The Virtues Of Michelle Obama's... Butt