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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Just wanted to say that I love Michelle Obama

63 replies

ElephantsAndMiasmas · 25/05/2011 17:44

Did anyone else see her speaking to those girls in Oxford today? She was speaking out about the importance of girls' education, and she even put in a good word about Hillary Clinton.

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AnnVeronica · 25/05/2011 17:48

She is a fantastic role model for girls, from a modest background, she has excelled in education and her career, I wish people wouldn't focus so much attention on her outfits and hairstyles though!

celadon · 25/05/2011 17:58

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ElephantsAndMiasmas · 25/05/2011 18:18

I know! I wanted to post a link but the only one I could find spent the first part tlaking about her inspirational speech to girls about achieving in their careers, and the second part about how she had "won" and "lost" fashion points in various outfits. Nobody sees the irony, obviously.

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ElephantsAndMiasmas · 25/05/2011 18:50

"Our job as women is to envision ourselves as leaders and be ready to battle."

I really want to read the whole of her speech/response to questions. I hope people will have been watching that in schools today.

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DilysPrice · 25/05/2011 18:56

I do love her, and she does say some great stuff, and inspire the girls and looks fabulous and I tend to well up when I see her doing her thing.

But.......AIBU to feel that when everyone makes such a fuss of her, the message we're giving these girls is "If you work hard and believe in yourself then maybe you too can marry a powerful really hot man and bear his children and follow him around the world."

She's fabulous, but she is here in her capacity as someone's wife, and I have deep reservations about "someone's wife" being the ultimate role model for our girls.

meditrina · 25/05/2011 19:12

There was a short thread in chat during her speech.

The things highlighted in that one were:

  • values and family were more important than £££.

  • "Don't go after the A" the aim shouldn't be the grade, but the learning. Rushing narrowly for the grade means you miss out on the learning. Instead what you need to do is read lots, write lots, practise, relax into your own space - if you're passionate about it, you can become good at it. Work hard.

  • good relationships don't hurt.

Some very positive messages there.
TeiTetua · 25/05/2011 19:27

What Dilys said, unfortunately. And if Hillary Clinton hadn't married Mr OralSexIsntReallySex, would she be a person we'd ever have heard of? Maybe, but I have to doubt it.

Say what you like about Margaret Thatcher, it was nothing like that for her.

But (crumbs from the table maybe) it's good to see that the best men and the best women can attract each other.

DilysPrice · 25/05/2011 19:56

Actually I don't feel like that about Hillary - she's been elected and served as Senator for New York, she's run a solid campaign for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency and lost out to an outstanding candidate, and she's now serving in one of the most powerful appointments in the world.

I think that saying "oh she only did it because she's Bill's wife" would put me on the wrong side.

dittany · 25/05/2011 20:18

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TeiTetua · 25/05/2011 20:32

Sorry, I can't budge on this. Hillary Clinton's start in public life was made possible because she was married to Bill Clinton. That's not an attack on her--you could actually say "Even a woman as brilliant as Hillary Clinton had to enter politics by being married to a president."

Or, you might say that she is in fact so brilliant that she would have made it anyway. Maybe it's true, I don't know. What didn't happen can't be proved.

SybilBeddows · 25/05/2011 20:40

Haven't you heard the joke about Bill and Hillary visiting her old hometown and they stop for petrol and Hillary recognises the petrol station attendant as someone she used to date in high school. Bill says 'Just think, if you'd married him you'd be the wife of a petrol station attendant!' and she says 'No Bill, if I'd married him I would be the wife of the president of the United States!'

though I think that is really an anti-Hillary joke, made up by people who think powerful women are scary.

sprogger · 25/05/2011 20:41

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dittany · 25/05/2011 20:47

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motherinferior · 25/05/2011 20:51

I think Michelle is a lovely bright woman, and I'd like to be her friend and I think fwiw that she made the right decision in her own very specific circumstances to quit work but I don't think that marrying a powerful man even if he is terrifically hot is the sum total of the ambitions I hold for my lovely girls, I have to say.

meditrina · 25/05/2011 20:54

OK, I know it's wiki but it contains great deal of referenced material about Michelle Obama, her education (from a relatively poor background to Princeton and Harvard), and then her legal and public service career. She uses her personal experience of education as a means to a successful career (temporarily on hold) very vividly.

Hillary Clinton stepped out of her career whilst First Lady (even changing her name at that point) and it seems Michelle Obama is doing the same. If she isn't doing the right thing by using the attention that inevitably falls upon her now to promote the issues she believes in - what should she be doing instead?

What she has to say - about hard work perseverance, not being afraid to take risks, not being afraid to fail, learning to pick yourself up and continue, to read lots, embrace learning for its own sake, and find what you're passionate about and work to become good at it - are all incredibly positive messages.

LRDTheFeministDragon · 25/05/2011 21:00

I wish I'd seen this ... it also seems to me good to see a black woman speaking in Oxford, given the university doesn't have many black students.

I do agree with Dilys though.

There's a big photo of Bill Clinton in Oxford Blackwells that I go past every time I buy books - I wonder if they'll put one of Michelle Obama up next to it?

sprogger · 25/05/2011 21:03

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NotJustKangaskhan · 25/05/2011 21:03

Both can be seen as excellent role models - I don't see why it has to be one or the other. Michelle Obama has done a lot of work, in law, politics, and in higher education, prior to her husband being any major figure in politics. And while she could have remained in her work in Chicago while her husband is president, I do find that she uses the position of First Lady very effectively to get a lot of things done. Unlike with the Bushes, both women are seen as parcel with their husbands. Hilary also worked to get things done as First Lady, and still works towards those now that she can do her work as far outside of her husband's presidency's shadow as she can get.

And while Hilary may have won more votes in many of the primary elections, I don't think the Democrats could let her run as their head person after her racist outburst against Obama (She is the one who started the 'let's see your birth certificate' issue). That divided the Democrats badly, the Democratic Conference wouldn't put forward a candidate that would divide their core voters again after the election before when so many Democrats went Independent due to dislike of the candidate.

And they both married their husband's before they were 'powerful' so I don't think "marrying a powerful man" is part of their message.

Straight2Extremes · 25/05/2011 21:06

Michelle Obama has outstanding qualifications in fact at one point she was earning double what her husband was when he was a senator. So either way she is a woman with experience in powerful positions even before her husbands sudden emergence.

sprogger · 25/05/2011 21:06

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motherinferior · 25/05/2011 21:12

I don't think that being First Lady is a job, though. In the same way as I don't think being Prince of Wales, for instance, is a job.

Quite separately, I think Michelle Obama seems to be a fabulous woman and as I say I think she made the right decision to focus on her children not being completely destroyed by her husband's job (although I loathe beyond words the 'Mom-in-chief' appellation) but that is different from being a First Lady.

ElephantsAndMiasmas · 25/05/2011 23:23

I was quite sad/annoyed when she gave up her job when her husband was elected, but I agree with meditrina that she seems to have made the decision that she can best use this chance and her position to really fight for issues she believed in (like getting more girls into science, for instance), and then go back to her day to day lawyering life afterwards. I mean, she's got at most 8 years to travel the world and have the ear of almost anyone, I can't blame her for making that choice if she uses it to promote what are IMO very important things like girls' education.

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dittany · 25/05/2011 23:50

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dittany · 25/05/2011 23:52

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GetOrfMoiCase · 26/05/2011 00:04

I am still pissed off that Hillary Clinton didn't get the job. I think she would have made a far better president than Obama tbh.

HC has always been a heavyweight, even when she was a law intern in the 70s, always working for equal rights (she was an intern in a law firm in San Francisco which was headed by someone who had been vilified in the 50s and 60s for communist sympathies and civil rights work).

I was only a kid when Bill Clinton came to power but I remember the negativity against her at the time, with the Gennifer Flowers stuff. She has always been castigated for being a distinclty non-fluufy woman with an opinion.

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