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:
- 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 Overstock.com
- 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?