Should Michelle Obama Have Been Involved With The Oscars?


In the event that you didn’t watch the Oscars on Sunday evening, you may or may not know that one Michelle Obama made an appearance from afar by way of video streaming. Apparently, this ruffled some feathers and caused people, such as The Washington Post‘s Krissah Thompson, to question the appropriateness of the First Lady’s involvement in the Academy Awards. Thompson begins rather dramatically:

Is this what Michelle Obama looks like untethered to the pressure of a campaign? Is she free to follow her whims without worries about political backlash?

I think those few minutes she was on a screen wearing a pretty dress and talking to a bunch of rich, successful people — which never happens at any other time in a First Lady’s life — is hardly worth questioning. Thompson continues:

“It just seem[ed] so natural because the whole thing is so unnatural,” Affleck told reporters after the show — right after he said he thought he was “hallucinating.”

In other words: What’s the first lady doing at the Oscars?

Apparently, having fun.


Actually, Thompson’s article was seemingly not meant to be critical; she goes on to cite several examples of presidents themselves being involved with the awards show. But her piece does ask a very important question: “Is America ready for a first lady as entertainer?”

Many Republicans, as well as others, were upset by Obama’s appearance. Bill O’Reilly called it ”Hollywood Left Boosterism” and “propoganda” (because of course he did), wondering why other wives of presidents had not been bestowed the same honor. The Boston Globe‘s Joanna Weiss found the First Lady’s involvement “unnecessary” and asked, “Did they really have to go there?” Reporter John Arovosis noted the anger that several writers and media figures directed towards the FLOTUS online upon seeing her onscreen.

As much as I take issues with most politicians and political figures — including a great deal of President Obama’s actions — I have no qualms with the First Lady appearing…well, anywhere. She’s the First Lady, not the President. Yes, she has important programs and goals that she directs, particularly for the youth. But America pays attention to entertaining programming, and the more she is pervasive in our pop culture, the more Americans — again, particularly the youth — will be interested in what she has to say regarding obesity and health, as well as other messages. Is she an entertainer, per se? Not really, no. Style icon? Yes! But other wives of presidents have been, too. But she’s not really an entertainer; just a popular public figure.

The outrage at her appearance does not surprise me at all, though. In much of the more outdated members of the Republican Party’s eyes, women should not be running around at will, appearing wherever they so choose and not just shriveling up after being criticized so deeply on such a regular basis. Just to give you an idea of all the things Michelle Obama could have been doing had she not been presenting a single award via telecast at the Oscars:

  • Knitting
  • Crocheting
  • Sleeping
  • Reading
  • The Sims 2
  • Worshiping her husband
  • Yelling at her husband
  • The Sims 2: Open for Business
  • Tweeting about the Oscars
  • Tucking in her kids for ten extra minutes
  • Working out
  • Writing blog posts about Anne Hathaway
  • Blowdrying her new bangs
  • Browsing
  • Stick and poke tattoos
  • Angry Birds

But seriously: I am a-okay with Michelle Obama’s Oscar appearance. While I agree with Jen that her dress could’ve been better, I am nevertheless completely unchanged by the fact that she showed up. How about you, dear Glossers?


Share This Post:
    • BL

      They made Sims 3 btw.

      • Samantha Escobar


    • Eileen

      I really don’t give a shit what she does with her time, but I did think it was weird that she was allowed to present the biggest, final award of the night at the Academy Awards when she – as far as I know – has never been, in any capacity, part of the making of a movie. If, for example, Ronald Reagan and his first wife hadn’t divorced, and Jane Wyman had been “First Lady,” I would have found it less weird for her to present an Oscar because she was an actress and actually won an Oscar at one point.

      But I’m also kind of a purist and think that the presenters should all be past winners, or at least nominated.

    • Carrie Murphy

      I thought it was weird. I like Michelle Obama a lot (and I liked her dress a lot, too) but I just found it to be strange. Maybe it’s because I hate anything political, but I’d rather not have the First Lady on the Oscars. She has her niche (a huge one, even! That she can do lots of stuff in!) and they have theirs.

    • Colleen

      Dude, if I was the FLOTUS and I had the opportunity to present at the Oscars, I would be doing everything I could to make that happen.

      Or maybe that’s just because I’m almost 30 and was convinced that by now I’d at least have been nominated for an Oscar instead of doing live theater in my home state – but still. I would have been ecstatic to be in her place on Sunday.

    • JennyWren

      I think this is very much a storm in a teacup. As detailed in the article, Bill Clinton presented at the Golden Globes this year, and I’d say he’s at least as political a figure as the FLOTUS. And Laura Bush appeared in an Oscars documentary in 2002. She was also invited to present, it’s not like she just did it on a personal whim. If she’d turned it down I suspect people would find fault with that as well.

      Honestly, I think this is representative of a clash between old and new-skool attitudes toward the presidency; either you want the first family to be dignified, restrained, and to focus solely on political natters, or you want them to be relatable, engaging, and media-friendly. I can see the value of the former, but, given that even the Queen of England etc; has started “performing” at events like the Olympics, the latter seems to be the way things are headed.

    • Haily

      I was definitely playing Sims 2 during the Oscars. No SERIOUSLY, I’m obsessed. Anyway I can’t stomach Family Guy, let alone Seth McFarland in his raw form. Someone else was watching it in my house, and I inadvertently heard and gagged at the “we saw your boobs” song. Seth McFarland, always keeping it classy.

    • Lastango

      It’s good she was there… because it helps put the relationship between Hollywood and the Democratic Party out in the open where everyone can see it. When it’s visible, members of the public can make their own choices about whether that’s a good thing or not. They are also better positioned to interpret the messages in Hollywood’s films.