Opinion: Praise for the FLOTUS

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere is a junior journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

After her virtual guest appearance at the Oscars, Michelle Obama has been receiving more flak than usual about her role in mainstream media. Her Oscars cameo seemed to be the last straw after she participated in a comedy sketch with Jimmy Fallon called “The Evolution of Mom Dancing” to promote her “Let’s Move” campaign, and now bloggers and columnists are calling her “entitled” and “inappropriate” and criticizing the lavishness of the whole affair given the current state of the economy.

To some extent, I am able to understand the disapproval. At first, I was disappointed that the First Lady of the United States was actually taking the time to hand out an Oscar — it all seemed a bit vain — but then my mom made a good point. She argued that Obama’s appearance was a personal thank-you card to Hollywood for being widely supportive of her husband’s campaign for a second term, which makes a lot of sense, considering how much pull celebrities can have with younger voters. Let’s not forget, though, that the movie industry is just that: an industry, raking in billions of dollars per year. It provides jobs and contributes to the economy, so why shouldn’t the Obamas show their support for something like that?

I generally think of myself as an independent voter and see positive and negative aspects to both sides of the political spectrum, but I do believe much of the criticism surrounding the Obama’s immersion into pop culture is coming from the right wing because, as part of its core beliefs, it favors political conservatism, and its thoughts on political social image are no exception. To some degree, I feel the same. I think there is a fine line between aiming for a transparent dialogue between the White House and its constituents and using your political position to parade through the media like a socialite.

Now, it’s clear that some argue that is exactly what Michelle Obama has been doing — and the president for that matter, as seen in his frequent talk show appearances — but we have to remember that it’s a different world with different avenues for pushing an agenda. The Obamas are simply taking advantage of them to connect with the country, and I would argue they are navigating this fine line with all the grace a first family should possess. They’ve done a remarkable job of connecting with the younger population, and even though I did not vote for President Obama in the last election, I continue to admire his and his wife’s delicate balancing act of an eloquent resolve and a human candidacy that gently reminds us they’re only human after all, and our expectations of them will not always be met.

So, let’s get with the times, people. This is 2013. This is the era when we Instagram pictures of our newborns fresh from the womb. This is the era when we willingly post videos of ourselves burning off our hair with a curling iron instead of discreetly discarding it. (She really felt compelled to show that to the world? I will never understand this.)

We are inextricably embedded in pop culture, and the first lady is just giving us what we want: a relatable representative of our government who understands what it means to be in tune with the pace of society. She’s young, energetic and has a sense of humor — traits we seem to admire in the common person, so why is it inappropriate when the first lady flaunts the fact that she has a personality all her own?

If you ask me, we’re lucky to have a likable, relatable and passionate first lady like Michelle Obama who is willing to be present in our everyday lives. It shows she cares, it shows she wants to participate in our culture and, most of all, it shows she’s human.