Female Troubles

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An incredibly condescending meme comparing Michelle Obama and Jackie O has been going around, lamenting the days of the demure, beautiful first lady and presenting Michelle as somehow being crass. Worse, I saw it passed around by women. You have got to be kidding me.

It nearly made me burst into tears that women can be so pointlessly cruel to one another. I was offended to the core of my being by the overt racism, the blatant disrespect and unfair set up (Classic Jackie posed in pearls next to Michelle in a tank top cheering at a sporting event…I mean, come on!), but I also immediately laughed out loud at the misguided absurdity of this meme that also entirely miscalculates what it means to be a woman.

A woman is not something quiet and pretty that sits in the corner smiling…nope, you’re thinking of a doll. A woman is a fierce, dynamic magician who spends her day solving problems, supporting loved-ones and ruffling feathers when she needs to, to fight for those she loves, protects and provides for. A woman wears 10+ hats a day – executive, chef, teacher, chauffeur, goddess, mother, accountant, wife, athlete, lover, doctor, therapist, friend, hero, on and on ….. and yes, enthusiastic, cheering fan at a sporting event.

Jackie, regardless of how intense and multilayered her inner life may have been, was generally expected to be pretty and quiet in public. She was for all intents and purposes, window dressing for her husband. Sure, she was educated and skilled in her own right, yet her main job was to be a soothing, non-threatening, perfect accessory. How many of us can actually relate to that? Does that sound anything like your life or the life of any woman you know?? No. Luckily we’ve reached a time where we all deserve better than a first lady who is asked to be quiet and pretty in the corner. You can be guaranteed that every woman has more to offer than a sweet smile and a little black dress. Thank God we have miraculously been given this fierce #FLOTUS in our new millennium who is using every second of her time to better the world around her, to show the power of a woman with a mission. A woman who has chosen to use her time to fight for girls education worldwide, to work on behalf of children, fight obesity, and, and, and….

She also manages to do all of it with class, joy and humor while also being a wonderful mother, a successful lawyer and writer, a supportive and equal partner to her extraordinary husband, and yes – she can rock a set of pearls and pick out the china patterns if you insist it’s necessary….after she gets back from the ball game.

Women….we are better than this. Let’s hold each other up instead of being part of the problem. The value of every woman is more than her perceived beauty at any given moment. I hope to one day to manage to be a fraction of the courageous, accomplished, graceful lioness that Michelle is. Regardless of your political leanings, she is unquestionably a role model, a beautiful example of using your power to fight for those weaker than you, and a lightening rod for positive change. Three cheers.

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9 thoughts on “Female Troubles

  1. Keep in mind Jackie was a fierce woman in her own right who evolved beyond the demure pearl wearing accessory. She wore the blood of her husband on her clothes as a challenge as if to say, “look at what you did”. She was a fierce protector of her family, so while the memes are stupid, the comparison should be a compliment. I could imagine that Jackie would have liked this FLOTUS.

    • I applaud what you are trying to say…but these memes were no compliment. I refuse to post them as they are disrespectful and nasty. However I do agree that Jackie would have been a fan of Michelle (as I’m certain Michelle is a fan of hers).

  2. These are both powerful women, living in vastly different times. Whip smart. Creative. And, yes, beautiful. I am a fan of both. Not big on women being pitted against each other. I think Jackie would have greatly admired our fine Michelle. Their conversations would have been fascinating. Jackie would have published about our FLOTUS. Very different world.

    • Agreed…I think the bigger issue is that memes like this are created intentionally to create division and undermine women who are considered threatening because of their ambition and accomplishment….particularly (though certainly not limited to) women of color. And that women are often ‘put in their place’ through a combination of attacks on their looks and the refusal to acknowledge their achievements. I hate to see this in any forum…but seeing this base level of ugly attack being shared on social media by other women, is heartbreaking.

      I too am a fan of both women and each of their accomplishments…and entirely agree they would likely have been friends and fans of each other.

    • This comment could be taken a number of ways…I assume you are referring to those who would spread the ugly sentiments….and honestly, I see a comment like this being part of the problem, as it is a blanket statement without nuance and only serves to instigate further instead of inspiring elevated conversation. I don’t think anyone is a ‘soulless beast’. I think people choose to be cowardly or to be bullies or to tear down others in order to make themselves feel better…and I think the semi-anonymity and ease of the internet feeds exponentially into the problem.

      The point is everyone can do better. It’s about seeing each other as human beings instead of cardboard stereotypes without feelings. It’s being willing to open up and understand that feeling threatened by someones success or feeling you have different political beliefs etc, doesn’t make the other person evil, nor does it ever give permission to make an attack personal. All that does is lead to a bigger problem. Our goal should be to to find the commonality between us. We are all far more ‘the same’ than we are ‘different’. It is hard to hate something once you become familiar with it. It is easy to justify hatred when you feel no connection to the other person… yet we should feel connected to each other, as we are all sharing the same journey. My point with this blog entry is that women are surrounded by obstacles, we shouldn’t add to the difficulty by being obstacles to each other…and we are all fighting for the same things…and should be fighting together instead of against each other.

  3. I remember the days when the only people using the Internet were the shunned “Computer Nerds” and you just didn’t see this kind of thing. I think we’ve vastly underestimated the psychological impact of “social” media, because it has become so easy for us to casually disregard the human being as just pixels on our screens.

    I’ve had to deal with Ableism my entire life, which affects all races, genders and isn’t on the radar of most people. Then I see movements like HeForShe coming alive and I feel shocked that it’s needed in the first place. I’ve come to regard women as being just as capable of being as bad as men, I’ve never cared for gender stereotypes but it seems even when we break free of them we still can’t get it right. On the other hand, I knew NOH8 was sorely needed, but it seems we have to keep learning the same lesson over and over in different settings.

    Is this what equality is going to end up looking like in the future? We’re just going to crap on each other equally? We have such beautiful ideas in our fiction that we can never seem to live up to, though our fiction is getting darker and sensationalized. We need to dream better dreams.

    I’m not impressed with my generation or the next, seeing all of this just makes me feel very old. It just reinforces the feeling that I’m on the wrong planet. What is causing us to move backwards? Perhaps social media has merely started to dispel the illusion of civilization we cling to.

    Lizzie Velasquez’s story is such a prime example of what seems to come naturally to people: https://youtu.be/uIvML-TrnNQ

    We don’t seem to be mature enough to handle the technology that we take so much for granted today. Not only must we learn to see what we have in common, we must do so while accepting our differences as well. Without both, we can’t be whole.

    Keep speaking up Adrienne, you’re needed, even if it ruffles feathers. Granted, stories like this are nothing new to me, I’ve become desensitized and used to seeing it. Seeing it all at once can be very overwhelming. I don’t want to feel cynical, but I don’t know how not to without turning a blind eye.

    I’m sure you know the quote. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

    Peace and Long Life,
    -Chris “Stargazer”

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