Today I had a college interview. Amid sips of tea, nodding as I recounted my experience as a fashion blogger, my interviewer leaned forward to ask a question. "How do you feel," she began, "about Michelle Obama?" She set her tea mug down with a thunk and gazed at me curiously. "Is this a big thing in fashion? Why is she so important among your generation and your industry?"
I paused to think for a moment. Most people hate interviews, but I tend to enjoy them. I am often asked questions I am unprepared for, questions that nudge me along a new vein of thought. These questions help me to learn more about myself and my thoughts, and I generally find them interesting.
I twirled my mug around in my hands as I thought, then set it down decisively. "I'm not sure how others feel about her, but speaking for myself, I see her as this amazing role model. She's a gorgeous woman and everyone can see that, and yet she's not stick thin. I think it's great that younger girls will be able to look at her and find her beautiful instead of the emaciated models in magazines."
That was pretty much the extent of my answer (hey, I was put on the spot), but now that I've been thinking about it more I've decided there's a lot I could have added to it. Sure, she's not the norm of beauty in our society. She's not a size zero, she's black, she has shorter hair. None of these things are typical on the runway, magazine pages, or even little girls' dolls. And yeah, it's fantastic that we can all see her as beautiful not just despite these things, but because of them. But it goes beyond that. Michelle is a strong, accomplished woman. She's a successful lawyer, she worked hard on her husband's campaign, and she does a lot of hands-on charity work. She will no doubt continue to work hard for our country. I love seeing a woman who is so smart, so driven and hard-working, illustrate what it means to be female in this day and age. In the past, women have had to take on certain "male" characteristics to succeed in a male-dominated world. And yet Michelle dresses in a stylish, feminine manner, openly acts the mother to her children, but never sacrifices her career and strength.
I'm proud that today's children will be able to grow up with such a role model.
(Obviously Barack's a great role model too, but this post isn't about him.)
(Photo taken from Mrs. O)