During a recent family vacation to the Grand Canyon, Michelle Obama was photographed wearing – gasp! – hiking shorts. Ever since Barack Obama took office, the First Lady has been taking heat for her sleeveless dresses, sexy attire, and now it seems she’s showing too much leg in too casual shorts.
The shorts are so scandalous that the Washington Post felt the need to run an opinion piece about them. Journalist Robin Givhan writes that the shorts are noteworthy because “first ladies have rarely dressed so informally in public.” Although Givhan notes that her thigh-skimming shorts allude to self confidence and athleticism – two things that American women could use in a role model – she essentially concludes that the shorts were inappropriate.
“Ultimately, the first lady can't be -- nor should she be -- just like everyone else… She has to dress for the ride… it does American culture no favors if a first lady tries so hard to be average that she winds up looking common.”If a man in a similar position to Michelle were photographed on a family vacation in hiking shorts, would it require an editorial piece? Would he be shamed for “looking common?” (whatever the fuck that means). Would anyone care? Women are always highly scrutinized for their clothing choices (remember the hullabaloo over Hillary Clinton’s pant suits, and that one time when her cleavage was slightly visible?) while men’s clothing choices don’t get a second glance.
I think Michelle looks great in her shorts. She was hiking, and therefore wearing hiking attire - duh. And as I mentioned above, Michelle is a role model for American women, and at a time when obesity is a national problem, I think images of her being fit and fabulous are fantastic.