Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dressed to the Nines, or We Wear Short Shorts?
(Dana Felthauser/AP )

Guess what Michelle Obama did this time! Wearing shorts? On vacation? In Arizona? The gall! I just ran across this "news" in Newsweek's blog "The Human Condition" by Kate Dailey. Frankly, I don't care what the Obamas wear while hiking. I don't care that Michelle O. has the world's most magnificent arms and wears sleeveless dresses. I really don't care how much her tennis shoes cost (although since they're probably all paid for by taxpayer money, it does irk me that she doesn't buy from the outlet mall).

First Ladies have always been style icons of our country; from Eleanor Roosevelt to Jackie Kennedy, they reflect and magnify America's attitudes about women and by women. What I wonder about the supposed "outrage" over Michelle O.'s outfit is who is upset and why? Why does it matter if she wears shorts or woollen pants while sightseeing in the desert in August? Granted, if she had shown up for a luncheon with the heads of state in her shorts and running shoes, we would have a right as a nation to be upset over the appropriateness of our First Lady's wardrobe. The world would find yet another strike against us for not taking our country's business seriously and our most renowned figurehead not presenting a professional front. But if she were hiking, as the article leads us to believe, then she is wearing appropriate gear. If it were me, and I had funds to jet set across the country on vacations, ignoring the pressing problems that face our country, I would have selected a more flattering ensemble. Her shorts seem a bit short, possibly even tight, and the outfit as a whole, doesn't project that she is one of the most influential women in the world.

Perhaps we should be grateful for this picture. At least it says that Michelle O. doesn't have a professional wardrobe assistant following her to the desert. With the national debt exploding, the country floundering in recession, and thousands out of work or working longer hours for less than substantial pay, maybe our First Family has decided to live as normal (re. real) humans instead of glammed up rockstars. I doubt that this is a permanent change in politics, but maybe it will send a message that we are a national of real people who wear shorts, pull our hair back, and spend the day with our families.

Of course, I haven't commented on the fact that most real families don't have the luxury to travel as much as the Obamas, but I'll save the frivolous spending ideas for another day.

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