No pantyhose for Michelle: Mrs. Obama gets girly on The View
Hillary Clinton has voiced some concerns about sexism in the media, and for a number of reasons, the Reasonable Reporter has been quick to brush them aside. That’s mostly because three semester units of women’s studies backfired badly – crushing the capacity to give special consideration to female suffering in any circumstance except actual childbirth.
In that class, women students were instructed on the first day of the semester to count off, one, two three, four, then to stand together in groups. Ones gathered in one corner of the room, and the twos in another, and so on.
“Three out of four of you have been sexually molested by someone you know,” we were told. “So whichever group you’re in, for the moment you can consider yourselves the lucky ones, and look at the other three groups. Statistically speaking, all of the women you see outside your group have been sexually victimized.”
As it turns out, sexual victimization takes many forms, and if your brother brushed your buttocks with a can of Pringles while the two of you helped mom unload groceries in a tight pantry, that counts.
A full semester of this brand of nonsense was very clarifying, even at age nineteen. And so the Reasonable Reporter was startled all these years later to find herself doing victim math as Michelle Obama visited The View, where the five female hosts and the guest added up to a disquieting six. That means one “lucky one,” and a fractional remainder of a lucky one.
Good God, where did that come from? But this show, its success and its apparent importance to the presidential race – even peripherally — is difficult to fathom in the same way that class was difficult to fathom.
Aside from Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters, the Reasonable Reporter can’t name all five female hosts of The View. But here’s what they talked about with the prospective First Lady of the United States:
1) Diversity- Whoopi notes that every black woman she sees on television has gold teeth and can’t speak in complete sentences. Wonder how she missed Gwen Iffel and Condi Rice and Oprah all these years. And oh yes, there’s Whoopi herself, and unidentifiable View co-host number three, both black. And Mrs. Obama, who’s getting a lot of coverage. There are six regularly televised articulate black women, right there, with no gold teeth.
Formal diversity training isn’t as effective says Mrs. Obama, as conversations like this, where we discuss things like…
2) Pantyhose. Barbara Walters is on the fence about whether or not to wear pantyhose. Out of respect for Michelle Obama, she wore them today. But Michelle Obama threw Barbara a curve. She didn’t wear any pantyhose, because she’s five-foot-eleven, and she finds them uncomfortable.
3) Inevitably, kids and husbands came up. Barack Obama no longer takes out the garbage. Unidentifiable View co-host number two, the blonde, has a child with food allergies, and she makes a food chart for her husband to follow when he has daddy duties and she’s not at home. (Viewers are treated to a shot of the chart, which resembles a NASA flight plan.)
4) They brush lightly against politics. Ever so lightly. Unidentifiable blonde co-host is also an apparent political conservative, but she and Mrs. Obama go out of their way to convey that they can disagree on issues and still be nice to each other. No actual viewpoints are exchanged.
5) Well-toned arms. Mrs. Obama has revived sleeveless dresses, and by the way, she is often compared favorably to Jackie Kennedy.
6) Whether Mrs. Obama is proud of her country. Whoopi plays the offending first-time-I’m-proud-of-my-country sound bite, and provides analysis of the vocal emphasis. It was the first time Mrs. Obama was really proud, says Whoopi, not the first time she was proud.
7) Strong women. People aren’t used to strong women. We don’t know how to talk about strong women. Speaking of strong women, Hillary suffered sexism, says the prospective First Lady, for the sake of Michelle Obama’s daughters.
There was more, but it began to sound all distorted and far away, like an odd dream. Like a dream about the presidential primary debates during the umpteenth month of debating. The Reasonable Reporter found herself yearning for the sound of Hillary, uttering a tortured string of hedge phrases.
(Remember the Hillary sentences that made you want to gouge out your eyes with knitting needles? They sounded something like this: “We’ll begin to take steps toward taking a look at what can be done to move in that direction.” How smart Hillary sounds now.)
Michelle Obama has a difficult assignment. She has to play it straight, and smart, and tough. But not too straight, or too smart, or too tough. She came out of this okay. It was definitely not too smart, but that wasn’t her fault. Of the six women on The View, Michelle Obama was definitely the lucky one.Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized