Last year, after Obama and Ann Romney submitted recipes for a cookie contest, Hirshman told The Washington Post that Obama’s “first mom, gardener thing” is “silly.” Now, Hirshman says, “I’ve kind of lost interest in Michelle Obama. She was trapped by assumptions about race and had limited room to maneuver. Whether that was a welcome choice or she had no choice, I will never know. It’s very difficult to envision her as running for senator from the state of Illinois as you did with Hillary Clinton running for senator from the state of New York.”
“Are fashion and body-toning tips all we can expect from one of the most highly educated First Ladies in history?” asked author Leslie Morgan Steiner in an online column last January. She said she’d “read enough bland dogma on home-grown vegetables and aerobic exercise to last me several lifetimes.”
Steiner contended Obama probably had little leeway. “I’m sure there is immense pressure — from political advisors, the black community, her husband, the watching world — to play her role as First Black Lady on the safe side.”
Feminist discontent with the first lady spiked again last summer at the Democratic National Convention, after she called her daughters “the heart of my heart and the center of my world.” She then repeated her feminist crazy-maker: “You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief.’ ”
“Why does mom-in-chief have to be the most important thing this strong, vibrant woman tells us about herself as she flexes the strange but considerable power of the office of first lady?” Emily Bazelon asked on Slate.com.
“Judging by Michelle Obama’s speech, feminism is dead to the Democratic party, ” wrote Lilith Dornhuber on Feministing.com.