Recently, People magazine asked Michelle Obama the following question: “If you could switch places with anyone, who would it be?”
And what did our fabulous first lady say? She said, “Please turn me into the lovely Anne Coulter.” Just kidding! She said, “I’d like to be Beyonce. I’d like to give up my brains and succeed based solely on skimpy, sparkly outfits and equally dazzling seductive dance moves.”
Of course Mrs. Obama said neither of these things, but some of her critics are acting like that’s exactly what she said. Even self-proclaimed Beyoncé fans are going as far as calling it a political misstep because Michelle didn’t choose a ‘better’ African American female role model. Yes, there might have been some pluses to choosing a woman whose name isn’t synonymous with bootylicious, but looking at the quote in context (jeez, who does that theses days?), it seems the first lady just wants what all girls want: to have fun!
“Gosh. If I had some gift, I’d be Beyoncé, I’d be some great singer,” she said. “The power of music, being able to play an instrument… It looks like musicians just have the most fun.”
People magazine is an entertainment magazine, so why is it so crazy that Michelle Obama’s answer was an entertainer? This wasn’t NPR, folks. She could have chosen a successful businesswoman, politician or non-profit executive, but why chose someone she already is? With degrees from Princeton and Harvard, Mrs. Obama’s an outstanding role model for any young woman who has ambitions other than those in the entertainment field.
Instead, the first lady chose a woman who is equally successful, but in a very different way. And I don’t blame her. No one wants to switch lives with their mirror image. Any Freaky Friday expert will tell you that you won’t learn any valuable lessons unless you live a day in the life in someone else’s shoes. I say if Michelle wants to throw on Beyoncé’s rainbow heels, more power to her.
I’m all about celebrating this girl crush. Personally, I’d be okay with them leaving the President and Jay-Z and getting together, but I think that may be a little too much for some Americans to swallow. So for now, I’m okay with Michelle attending concerts and gushing about Beyoncé in interviews. And don’t think Michelle is sitting on the bench hoping Beyoncé notices her. Beyoncé has been batting those big ‘ol doe eyes at Michelle, too. She even wrote the first lady a note saying she’s glad her daughter has a role model like Michelle to look up to. (Beyoncé wrote the same thing in my yearbook, but shh, don’t tell Michelle! We all know how sensitive ladies can be, am I right?)
The way some people talk about the blossoming Michelle and Beyoncé friendship reminds me a little bit of the Mad Men episode where the ad men purpose selling Playtex bras through a campaign that puts all women in one of two categories. Either you’re a Jackie or a Marilyn. Either you’re sexy or you have brains. But here’s where Michelle and Bey aren’t Sterling Cooper’s perceptions of Jackie O and Marilyn. The scales might not balance out perfectly even when it comes to intelligence and sex appeal for them, but both ladies have a serious helping of both. Theirs is a mutual friendship because both women see qualities of themselves in the other. They don’t idolize each other. They respect each other.
All young women should take a second look at the Michelle and Beyoncé Venn Diagram, because there’s a lot more in that middle “in common” section than you might think. Today you don’t have to be a Beyoncé or a Michelle. You can be both.
No, you wont be first lady and a superstar at the same time, but why would you want that? That just sounds exhausting and doesn’t seem to include enough time for pizza. But you can be successful, intelligent, sexy and fun. You can be sexy in a classy lady dress and intelligent in a short dress that makes your ass look great. The combo-possibilities are endless ladies and aren’t limited to just clothing options.
Image via RunwayInk