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Monday, May 21, 2007

"A Feminist Fury" Over Michelle Obama's Decision to Scale Back Her Career

Essayist Debra Dickinson writes in Salon today that she is in "a feminist fury" over the decision by Michelle Obama, spouse of the presidential candidate, to "scale back" her high-power career as vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals in order to be "a professional wife and hostess" on the campaign trail. Dickinson doesn't blame Obama, or her husband, but she writes that she is heartsick and "blam[es] the world and every man, woman, child and border collie in it who helps send the message that women's lives must be subordinate to everyone else's." She concedes that the cause of electing the first black president is historic and worthy of sacrifice, but she also calls on Obama (if her spouse wins the race) to "go for it and take on a meaningful public policy role," and calls on feminism "to reach out to black women via the contingent of Obama-esque overachievers out there who ought to be chilled to the bone by Michelle's retirement from work of her own."



At May 21, 2007 10:12 PM , Pho said...

Given that Debra Dickenson also wrote one of the most storied of the "Is Barack black enough?" articles, it seems she has a lot to say about the authenticity of one's group membership.

At May 21, 2007 11:08 PM , bonobo said...

First of all, Welcome Back, Jeff. More to the point, my wife and I have a relationship where there are often sacrifices that have to be made for one of our careers, and when that happens, there is usually very little argument. Her career is our priority.

Whether or not this is exceptional is a matter of perspective, and will be for the foreseeable future. What is unfortunate is that the people who think my family's strange would have thought so anyway, but the people who call out Michele Obama are supposed to be her allies.

Feminism ain't easy.


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