The execrable Dr. Keith Ablow, Fox News’ resident asshole psychologist, recently declared that Michelle Obama needs to “drop a few pounds.” He’s hardly alone. From the day her husband was elected, the right wing media has attacked her for the way she looks, ubiquitously referring to her as “Moochelle” and trivializing her solely because of the way she looks. Here are a bunch of clips of them doing so:
The same thing has long been done to Hillary Clinton, who has been mocked for her pantsuits and allegedly fat ankles. But here’s the thing: You almost never hear this said about men in politics. You hear it sometimes about Chris Christie but never about the average pudgy congressman or senator. We judge women by totally different standards and we use their physical appearance to trivialize them and marginalize them. We don’t need to take them seriously because all that matters is how they look, not what they believe or how good they are at their jobs.
It’s tempting to point out that Michelle Obama is, in fact, quite attractive and in great shape, but that’s really not relevant. Even if that weren’t true, it wouldn’t be relevant to the problem at hand. Judging women in public life by their appearance reduces them to just sexual objects and ignores all of the relevant talents they may bring to their position. Remember that when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State she was asked which designers she preferred and she replied, “Would you ever ask a man that question?” The answer is obviously no. Only women get asked those questions because it’s a way of trivializing them. And it needs to stop.