Sunday, March 22, 2009

Heard Enough About Michelle Obama's Arms? The New York Times Moves On to Her Hips

The world's fascination with the first lady's toned upper arms has been well-documented. Apparently it's time to move on. To her hips.

Marian Burros interviewed Michelle Obama for a New York Times piece called "Mrs. Obama Speaks Out About Her Household," which roughly translates to "Belts! Shoes! Diets! We Just Can't Stop Ourselves From Asking Mrs. Obama More Questions About Fashion and Her Body."

Burros writes:

The interview, which started out on the subject of the new White House vegetable garden, ended up ranging over a variety of household topics...

Because no interview about organic gardening is complete without a discussion of "household topics" like weight and trouble spots, of course. We have to wonder what question led to this:

The first lady said she was not naturally thin and, like most other people, had to exercise and watch what she eats.

“I have hips, and I have them covered up with these pleats,” she said, pointing to her Maria Pinto skirt.

To keep those hips from spreading, she said, she follows an exercise regimen of light weights, calisthenics, jump-rope and a cardiovascular routine that includes interval running.

Really, NYT? Really!?! "To keep those hips from spreading"? Is this paragraph going to be followed by a quiz to help us test our diet IQ? Should we keep reading for bathing suit styles that flatter every shape?

Actually, the article goes on to highlight Michelle Obama's attempts to instill healthy eating habits in her daughters. But we want to know more about how the Obamas are helping Sasha and Malia to develop healthy body image--especially when there is so much public scrutiny of their mother's body.


ego in absentia said...

Just ridiculous, right? Like there is nothing better to talk about with the very brilliant and beautiful First Lady than her "spreadin' hips". Makes me sad. Nice to know at least there is plenty of lovin' going on up in that White House with those two there. Finally. It's quite obvious that our Prez thinks his wifes hips are plenty sexy!!! As he should, cuz that's just one of the lovely things about her that she "wears" so well.

Anonymous said...

Oh please.

Michelle Obama is such a classy and accomplished woman; why do we always have to come back to her appearance?

Like you say, I wonder what this constant scrutiny of their mother's body is doing to the girls.

Claire Mysko said...

It's especially odd to me that the piece ran in the Politics section of the The New York Times (online, at least from the placement on their website). They've been criticized many times for putting significant women's business or health stories in the Style section, so why did THIS story--essentially about fashion and weight--end up in Politics? It would have made sense if they had asked Michelle about, well, politics.

Meryt Bast said...

Well, the President has already said, in Parents magazine, that one of his daughters was "getting a little chubby," as covered by The F-Word. So their pediatrician put her on a diet. If their father thinks it's fine to discuss his daughters' weight in the national media, what's to stop anyone else?

Kristin said...

It's shameful. She's an intelligent woman in an incredibly powerful position and her hips are what's focused on? Good grief.