Now, usually my approach to idiots is to ignore them. I ran across this post about Limbaugh's latest comments about our amazing First Lady, and my first impulse was to roll my eyes. He called her a hypocrite for eating ribs instead of "roots, berries, and tree bark." Any logical thinking person would realize that healthy people sometimes indulge in their favorite foods (like a cupcake!), and that's all part of being healthy. (And yes, I realize that he is just an old fat man who has no idea what "healthy" means).
That wasn't the thing that got me. It was something else he said, directly attacking Michelle Obama, which I could not in good conscience ignore.
"I'm trying to say our first lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue or of a woman [Yankees star] Alex Rodriguez might date every six months, or what have you," Limbaugh concluded.Ah, here we have it! What is threatening about Michelle Obama is that she is a powerful, smart, educated black woman who is doing amazing things instead of sitting on the sidelines while her husband leads (ahem, Laura Bush). So if you are an old, fat white man threatened by a powerful woman, what do you attack? Her physical appearance, of course!
Limbaugh can't possibly see that how the First Lady (amazing arms and all) can be a model for healthy eating because she doesn't resemble the waif-like, airbrushed supermodels that he believes is the perfect female body. Even those supermodels don't resemble the magazine covers. Since she's not someone that Alex Rodriguez wants to f*&%, then she's not a good role model, nor is she someone we should listen do. And Limbaugh gets to sneer from his XXL chair that she's a hypocrite and belittle her appearance.
You notice no one goes around critiquing Sam Kass for eating ribs--no one really cares--yet he is a major player in the First Lady's healthy initiative. Why not? Because he's a man, so he is not required by any standards to look like a model. Women, meanwhile, are constantly held to ridiculous standards, and idiots like Limbaugh think its perfectly acceptable to attack THE FIRST LADY of the United States for not looking like sexual object.
Here's the thing, Limbaugh--she is not a sexual object. She is a woman, an intelligent, educated, powerful woman. Her ability to do awesome things in the world is not directly related to her resemblance to a magazine cover or the sorts of women that Alex Rodriquez tends to date (if only he could be so lucky to score a babe like our First Lady). Critiquing her initiative is one thing; attacking her for not living up to an impossible standard of beauty and for not existing to serve as a sexual object for your dirty, nasty gaze is something I will not stand for.
Michelle Obama is the perfect role model for healthy eating. She is not a size 0, and that's why she's so awesome. She has curves and muscles, and isn't afraid to bare her arms to the world. Her husband certainly thinks she's beautiful, and I find her to be a damn classy lady, full of grace and confidence. She is a healthy weight, she knows that part of enjoying life (while being healthy) requires one to eat a damn rib every now and then (or a cupcake), and that one should feel good in her own body.
This is precisely why she is the perfect model for women, young and old. She projects the image of a woman who is comfortable in her skin, who isn't obsessed with attaining an impossible standard of beauty. She isn't afraid to eat a rib every now and then, and she is someone women look to for what we should be. We don't have to accept that our ability to do things in the world and our self-worth is tied to how we look.
And that, my friends, is why we should speak up, even when old, fat white men critique women's appearances. We should speak up and shout them down and tell them we aren't taking any more of their impossible standards. We (women AND men) should scream that we refuse to be reduced to our size or our weight. And we refuse to be told that our self-worth is dependent on our ability to be a sexual object.