If you're sick and tired of people trying to "define" Michelle Obama, bad news:
The shit will not stop. Much of the recent crap has been handily complied into The New York Times' "The Opinionator" column by Eric Etheridge. Though Michelle Obama was well-received in Europe last week, some designers (Vera Wang, Donna Karan) are bent out of shape that she hasn't worn their clothes. (Most notably, Oscar de la Renta said, "You don't go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater"; Simon Doonan criticized Ms. Obama's Junya Watanabe cardigan as well.) Luckily, Dmitcha, a former model and a diarist at Daily Kos, had the presence of mind to point out that if Michelle Obama is snubbing certain designers — and there is no proof that she is, only that she's (gasp!) wearing what she likes — these same certain designers are the ones who barely use any models of color on their runways. Burn!
But perhaps the most annoying and irritating "problem" some people seem to have with Michelle Obama is that she doesn't (or won't) conform to "any of the predefined stereotypes available to her: she's not a 'mammy' nor a 'good, middle class Negress.'" Writes blogger Zora at We Are Respectable Negroes:
She's statuesque, confident, self-defined, beautiful and black… Folks are still struggling to understand her (and to define her) because she is so unlike any other Black woman on the national and international stage… If Michelle were overweight and outwardly insecure about her Negritude (ala Oprah Winfrey), America would likely embrace her more affectionately as our own… The problem is that she does not confirm the WASP woman as an ideal - neither by fitting into the stereotype of the loud, overweight black woman nor by being the good, middle-class Negress who conforms to the norms of white women.
Come on. Do we still have this problem? Do we still see a successful, confident black woman and say to ourselves, "Does not compute" ? Didn't we solve all this twenty-five years ago when The Cosby Show premiered? Kidding. Sort of. But when it comes to Michelle Obama, is there anything else to talk about besides her fashion and her blackness?
On the upside (?), that Tablots dress from the cover of Essence is now a best-seller.
Michelle Ma Belle [The Opinionator]
Another Michelle Obama Fashion Stimulus Package [E!]
Simon Doonan Laments MObama's Junya Watanabe Cardigan [New York Mag]