About Time Michelle Obama Got Out There

What Women Really Think
Aug. 17 2010 2:32 PM

About Time Michelle Obama Got Out There

Michelle Obama is being sent out to campaign for select Democratic candidates in the fall. She won’t say anything negative, only highlight her husband’s successes. Still, I’m happy to see her out there in the mix. The flap over her recent vacation to Spain , on her husband’s birthday, seemed trivial. We no longer need a first lady who stands beaming at her husband at every possible opportunity and can bake him a chocolate cake. And her rising or falling popularity is not all that interesting either. The public is fickle and bases its judgments of a first lady on very little.

But what I’ve lately started to feel is some anxiety that Michelle Obama will waste this perfect opportunity. Here is a smart, successful woman, the first African-American first lady. And what she’s known for most is her fashion sense. She does fewer appearances than most first ladies, travels less, and even on her pet issue-childhood obesity-spends relatively little time. And her media appearances tend to be in old-fashioned lady journals and on daytime talk shows. Maybe she felt burned by the campaign and so has kept a low profile. But two years later, maybe it’s time to take a risk or two.

Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.