Feminism US Politics

Just Googling ‘Michelle Obama’ shows how sexist politics still is

It's pretty obvious that politics is still a very male-dominated sector, across the world. As of January 2017, only 18.3% of government ministers across the world were women, and as of June 2017, only 2 countries have 50% or more women in parliament in single or lower houses (source). The archetypal politician is still a middle aged white man.

It's almost as if men are threatened by the idea of a strong black woman living in the White House. I mean, she doesn't even live there anymore, but despite being the First Lady for eight years, people obviously still just see her as a physical object, rather than an intelligent woman. This is clear when you try and Google her, and click 'images'.

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The first thing that appears is 'Fashion Mistakes'. Um, how dare you. Michelle Obama ALWAYS looked put together. Her less nice outfits are hardly 'mistakes'. The next category is then 'Fashion', so at least she's getting some recognition for the times she absolutely SLAYED. But why are these the first things that show up? Because first and foremost, Michelle Obama, like most celebrities in the public eye, is nothing more than a clotheshorse to a lot of people.

 

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'Daughters' is the second suggestion, because the public also seem to be obsessed with Malia and Sasha Obama and not letting them LIVE as teenage girls should.

Then you get onto her physical features. The last two suggested categories are 'Arms' and 'Man'. People seem to be obsessed with saying that Michelle Obama looks 'manly'. No, I think the word you're looking for is strong, sweetie.

Michelle Obama is strong. She's an incredible leader, AND she's got muscles. But because she's a woman, she can't simply just be strong or muscular. She has to be 'manly'. Muscles don't equal manliness, hun. Women can be athletic and still be, y'know, women.

What's even worse though, is when you search for her on BING.

Now y'all know Bing is the crustier option for web searching, but Christ. When you Image search Michelle Obama, the results just ain't OK.

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The FIRST result is muscles, and 'is a man'. SHE'S JUST GOT MUSCLES, JESUS CHRIST. Then it's 'Daughters', OK, fine, then 'Plastic Surgery' – what in the damn hell? Why can't people just accept a woman is good looking naturally? Why does everyone have to jump to thinking it's plastic surgery? And why is this such a highly searched term?!

Then comes the WORST one. 'Michelle Obama Transgender'. Are you serious? If someone doesn't fit exactly into the stereotypical box that their gender dictates for them, they're suddenly trans?! Michelle has an athletic build and muscular arms, but that doesn't mean she's TRANSGENDER, like are you actually serious right now?!

People need to stop using the word 'transgender' so flippantly, because being transgender is a legitimate thing that people need to respect, not just chuck out at random when a woman looks a bit "manly", or a man might come across feminine. Gender is a spectrum, and where you sit on it doesn't dictate the way you should act/dress etc. But that's a different rant for a different time.

 

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Next is 'Body', 'Pregnant', and 'Weight Gain'. Again, people are obsessed with her body. Do they realise that there is a hell of a lot more to this woman than her body? Obviously not.

Then lastly you've got 'Drunk' and 'Angry'. When the hell has Michelle Obama been blackout drunk in public? She is literally the perfect example of being demure and classy at all times. She's such a mum, it's unreal. I'm guessing people are searching this so they can just check if she does let loose and get drunk (cos I'm sure my girl loves a glass of wine in the tub), because if not, I'm baffled. It's not like she's a known alcoholic, so WHY is this one of the top searches?

When you click on the search, the most "drunk" looking picture of Michelle is this one, where she's actually just drinking WATER:

 

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And then lastly, 'Angry' – of course. I think this is definitely a popular fixation for not just female politicians, but in particular, black female politicians. Women are constantly forced to keep their cool at risk of being labelled "hysterical" (or if you're a woman of colour, "sassy") and therefore not taken seriously. Nowhere does the word 'Angry' come up when you search Donald Trump, even though he's known to get pretty red (or darker orange) in the face.

Nowhere in any of the search terms does it mention any of the amazing work Michelle Obama did whilst she was First Lady. Such as:

  • Visiting homeless shelters and soup kitchens in her first few months
  • Being awarded the Founders' Award by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans for all the amazing work she does for military families
  • Getting involved in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign
  • Being one of the only people in administration to address childhood obesity through promoting healthy eating habits and starting the "Lets Move!" campaign
  • Openly speaking out in favour of same-sex marriage, and opposing constitutional amendments that attempted to ban same-sex marriage
  • Stirring shit up for hugging the Queen (you go girl, who wouldn't want a hug from Michelle Obama?)
  • Participated and advanced an initiative called "Let Girls Learn" to improve international education for women

But obviously, all we seem to care about is the fact that are arms are a bit muscular. Oh well, all the more strength to beat the haters with, Michelle!

 

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