Say the magical words “Michelle Obama” and I think ‘best first lady ever maybe tied with Eleanor Roosevelt.’ I also think about all the good she’s done for our country in her time as First Lady, with her “Let’s Move!” campaign, her White House garden encouraging healthy eating nationwide, her staunch support of LGBT rights, and her vocal part in the #bringbackourgirls campaign calling for the rescue of the Nigerian school girls who were kidnapped earlier this year.
Not so for Fox News anchor and resident medical expert Dr. Keith Ablow, who is not only critical of Michelle Obama’s appearance, but also conflates the first lady’s appearance with her ability to lead.
During a segment on yesterday’s Outnumbered about the first lady’s fight against the country’s childhood obesity problem, Ablow took a break from being a news panelist and started being a straight-up mean girl with comments like, “How well can she be eating?” and “She needs to lose a few.” He summed up his thoughts with the following statement:
“We’re taking nutrition advice from who? Well, no let’s be honest, like there’s no french fries happening. Like that’s all kale and carrots, I don’t buy it.” (To their credit, the female panelists sharing the stage with Ablow were made visibly uncomfortable by this.)
There are so many, many, many things wrong with these statements, I kind of feel like writing a novel about everything that is wrong with this statement, but I only have a blog-post-sized amount of space so let me try to hit the main points hard in the short amount of time I have.
1.) No one has the right to criticize another person’s body—particularly in a public forum. It’s hurtful and it perpetuates damaging behavior.
2.) Our first lady needs to lose a few. . . what? Muscles? No times infinity, her muscles are an inspiration for women everywhere to embrace what is strong about themselves.
3.) Obama looks fierce on the regular, she probably looked fierce the day she was born, she probably looked fierce in her 7th grade school photo (you know, the photo where no one EVER EVER EVER looks fierce), but her looking fierce has absolutely nothing to do with her ability to lead and advocate and create positive change in our country.
4.) We women are getting wise to these body-shaming “You don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel so why should I take you seriously?” shenanigans. We get that the haters of the world think they can diminish powerful women by picking apart their physical appearance, but it’s 2014, and that just doesn’t fly anymore. It’s BS when you do it to Obama, and it’s BS when you do it to the rest of us and we are DONE.
5.) Michelle, you keep being Wonder Woman and I will keep being obsessed with your gorgeous heart and kick-ass leadership (and OK, whatever, your arm muscles too, but mostly your heart/leadership, scout’s honor!)