Ass Not What Your Country Can Do For You.

M. Obama: Baby’s back got back.

Notes one Black female writer in, on January 20th, Michelle Obama will not only become America’s premiere Black First Lady, but she’ll also be the first to shake what our Mama (Africa) gave her: An authentic, 3-dimensional, fully-realized butt.

Michelle Obama at the 2008 DNCActually, it took me and a lot of other similarly configured black women by surprise. So anxious and indignant were we about Michelle getting attacked for saying anything about America that conservatives could turn into mud, we hardly looked south of her neck. I noted her business suits and the fact she hardly ever wore pants (unlike Hillary). As I gradually relaxed, as Michelle strode onto more stages and people started focusing on her clothes and presence instead of her patriotism, it dawned on me — good God, she has a butt! “Obama’s baby (mama) got back,” wrote one feminist blogger. “OMG, her butt is humongous!” went a typical comment on one African-American online forum, and while it isn’t humongous, per se, it is a solid, round, black, class-A boo-tay. Try as Michelle might to cover it with those Mamie Eisenhower skirts and sheath dresses meant to reassure mainstream voters, the butt would not be denied.

I like this article. I thought it was going to be the typical explaining-Black-people-to-white-people piece that my peers and I are so often asked to write. But Kaplan (?) openly and plainly says some interesting and insightful stuff.

Many comparisons have already been made between Michelle and Jackie Kennedy. While I appreciate the spirit, I beg to differ. To put it bluntly, Jackie had no back. Same can be said for gaunt Cindy McCain and the short-lived Republican sexpot Sarah Palin. Jackie was trim and perfect, an inoffensive figure who bucked the curviness of the ’50s and put American femininity on the treacherous path of smaller-is-better. Jackie was also a blue blood and a society woman — an elite! — so although she set new beauty and fashion paradigms, she also followed old ones.

Michelle Obama at podium, 2008 DNCMichelle radiates something entirely different. She’s black high society but by definition that’s not silver-spoon; it’s the result of navigating the rough shoals of racism that bet against your success every day. It’s hard work. Michelle looks great but also physically strong — she looks ready to leap into action if she’s called to it. She looks like she could kick Barack’s ass, if need be. She has a physicality that’s unprecedented in a first lady. Eleanor Roosevelt wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, but she broke from family tradition; Michelle represents black striving that is the tradition. Her very presence, butt and all, is a rebuke to all those presidents who’ve dragged their feet on equality and justice even though they paid it lip service, from Woodrow Wilson to Bill Clinton. Even more clearly than her husband’s, Michelle’s prominence is saying to the old guard, step aside. Fist bump? Nah. Booty bump is more like it.

She calls Obama’s onion her “power base.”

Women’s magazines talk endlessly about whittling down thighs and waistlines, even jawlines, but butts are still so racially loaded — so to speak — they’re not even part of the conversation (the closest it gets is “hips,” but even white women know that’s not equivalent). In other words, butts have never been mainstreamed. And like so many other black characteristics, it endures a double standard. A white woman with an ass can claim to have an exotic appendage that boosts her stock; a black woman with a booty is merely ordinary — worse than that, she’s potentially uncultured, unqualified, ghetto in the most unfabulous sense of the word.

So, a white woman somehow gets what a Black female has naturally, copiously, but the white woman is hailed for it while the Black female is condemned.

I love it! Isn’t the efficiency of white supremacy absolutely amazing?



#1 Z on 11.18.08 at 1:40 pm

Simmer down, porkchop.

#2 Lena L. West on 11.18.08 at 6:10 pm

I find it interesting that many Black women resent being objectified – especially about our curves – but we’re always first in line to write articles centered around exactly that topic.

But, I guess in the day and age of “no home training” one can write about anything.

#3 Bokolis on 11.19.08 at 2:59 pm

Clothes look best on a hanger. The closer you look to one, the better the clothes will look on you.

Granted, we’ve haven’t had reason to eyeball many First Ladies. But, Michelle Obama doesn’t trade on her looks, one of the reasons not many of us were focused on the shape of her backside. If you want the assessment, she looks way too much like her brother, Craig…and I’m not ruling out that he doesn’t have a nicer butt.

Maybe it’s because they are way too focused on themselves, but I’m finding that urbanites under 30 make much less of race. It’s one less headache, if you ask me, previously draining and terribly inefficient.

Ain’t it great? The writer, is nothing if not free at last; free to be caught up in her self-absorption and lumped in with the rest of the shallow, marginally talented, crappy writers.

Disclosure: from a family of prominent butts, prefer cheeks made from a squat rack rather a rack of lamb, grew up across the street from the pjs, no explanation necessary.

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