Evidently, Michelle Obama’s bangs are really important. I confess to reading an article in “She The People” in which several writers have an online tête a tête concerning the First Lady’s new coiffe. No surprises there — Michelle is a beautiful woman in a symbolic role, so naturally, the nation obsesses over her appearance. That’s the U.S. of A.
What’s more intriguing are the varying degrees to which people care about Mrs. Obama’s new do, why they care, and why they care so much or so adamantly little. Allow me to identify a few hair perspectives in the proverbial barbershop:
Straight and Simple
We live in a culture that overly values physical beauty. The bangs are something else to discuss. The conversation is a testament to her popularity, and to how much the citizens of our great nation need a distraction from our underpaying jobs, savings-sapping universities, and ineffective elected officials.
Layered and Wavy
Consider the timing of Michele’s new do: just before her 49th birthday and presidential term number two. Perhaps she is announcing a fresh start. Maybe she hates the attention, so she lets bangs and fashion do the heavy lifting. Maybe she wanted a change and thought, yes, I can.
Wired and Coiled
The physique, wardrobe, and haircut debates reflect a societal sickness. Our preoccupation with the first lady’s appearance insults her status as a highly educated, accomplished professional. She should grow out the bangs and grow a more lasting legacy.
Can we talk about Beyonce’s extensions?
It’s a thorny issue, and hair we go again. Bottom line: it’s annoying to create a false divide between a woman’s professional identity and her appearance. If we can’t conceptualize a woman who chooses to be feminine/stylish as well as professional, then we are suggesting that women have to be more male-like, or at least gender neutral, to be taken seriously. That seems sexist.
To me, Michele lives out the idea that women can have it all, but not necessarily at the same time. I respect her willingness to play many roles, first as a successful lawyer and now as a supportive, stylish wife and mother. That said, it occasionally makes me cringe that her ceremonial role, told mostly through images, is the one laid bare for the world to comb over, with the most persnickety of picks.
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