Proving that she is made of as little substance as her husband, First Lady Michelle Obama posted a video on Instagram where she was interviewed by rapper Wale. One of the questions the hip-hop artist asked Obama was, “If you had the opportunity to have a different occupation, what would it be?”
Now let’s pause for a moment and consider some of the possible responses Michelle could have given. Responses that would have brought a hint of dignity to the office of the presidency. Responses that would have provided a bit of inspiration to the millions of girls who look up to the first lady. The possibilities are literally endless. Doctor, lawyer, teacher, scientist, mathematician, astronaut…on and on. If she wanted to take a humorous approach, she could have said something like, “community organizer” or “lunch lady.” She could have said “president” if she really wanted to get tongues wagging.
Instead, she said, “I would be Beyoncé.”
The sound you hear is crickets.
Okay, not exactly crickets. The feminist blogosphere – Huffington Post, Jezebel, and the rest – were gaga for the answer. Look, Michelle Obama is just like us! Isn’t Beyoncé just the greatest! One blogger even characterized Michelle and Beyoncé as “the two most powerful women in the world,” which has to come in as one of the most depressing statements about women we’ve heard in years.
Look, Beyoncé is a beautiful woman, no denying that. She’s got a powerful set of pipes, and there is definitely worse music on the Billboard charts than her pop hits.
That said, she’s hardly a role model for young women. Her entire career – and this is not exclusive to her, by any means – is based on sex appeal. Her stage outfits are just this side of obscene, her songs are dripping with innuendo, and her videos aim to titillate more often than not. Like 99% of pop princesses, the music is far less important to her success than her body. That doesn’t necessarily make her a bad person, but it doesn’t make her a hero, either.
Michelle Obama’s attempt to run the school lunch program with an iron hand was misguided and costly, but her efforts to get American children to embrace a healthy lifestyle are commendable. Unfortunately, endorsing role models like Beyoncé makes her unfit to give advice. As an iconic figure to black girls, especially, Michelle should be cautious about the kinds of values she promotes. Teenage pregnancy is still an epidemic among black females; pop idols like Beyoncé sell sex as if it is the ultimate goal. This is the exact message Obama should be condemning, not supporting.
But like everything else when it comes to this dreadful administration, you have to lower your expectations. Like, a lot.