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Bringing Feminist Cred to the White House

November 15, 2008

Also, don't we imagine that the Obamas made their bargain about their roles a while ago? Didn't Michelle Obama effectively stop working at her hospital job long before now? That is a real sacrifice, don't get me wrong, but on the other hand, her husband is president. That is an accomplishment with its own set of rules. It's also one that requires a team effort, and that gives Michelle Obama, as crack defensive end aka first lady, enormous power. A weird and retro form of power, to be sure, but power nonetheless. Before we knock all of that, let's give her a chance to wield it. She is promising to focus on the concerns of working women. Amen and hallelujah: If she does it and gets somewhere, that will be concretely groundbreaking in a way that all this image-obsession never is, and she'll come to represent not the shortcomings of feminism, but its strengths.

--Emily Bazelon on Slate

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