Look, I get that fashion is a thing. It’s not my thing, but it’s a thing. It’s an industry, it’s a source of employment, and apparently a bunch of already-thin fashion-y people are eating only broccoli this week in order to be extra-lean for New York Fashion Week.
I get that women’s clothes are interesting. What I don’t get is why the media is spending so much energy focusing on what Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are wearing. Assuming neither looks like they’re going to embarrass our nation at a state dinner, why are their fashion choices so important?
Much has been made of Michelle Obama’s wearing of affordable clothes from J. Crew and even Target. Much has been made of some $900 shirt that Ann Romney wore one day. But the thing is, Michelle Obama also wore a jacket in July that cost $6,800. And Ann Romney doesn’t wear Oscar de la Renta all time time; pretty sure she normally wears khakis.
The truth is, they’re both lovely women who can dress well, and dress appropriately. I saw exactly zero headlines as to what designers the President and Gov. Romney were wearing for their speeches. Part of that may be that we’re focused more on their platforms and experience, but mostly it’s because they’re men. When Sarah Palin was running for Vice President, people couldn’t get enough about her eyeglasses and clothes, but it’s not like anyone cared what Todd Palin was wearing.
To the degree that I care at all about the spouses of those running for office, I’m interested in reading about the challenges of parenting in the public eye, and the hard work it takes to keep a marriage strong in the midst of politics. I’m interested in what they think are the important issues for women voters this year. But mostly I’m interested in what they plan to do with that very visible First Spouse position.
Mrs. Obama, of course, has created the Let’s Move! initiative as First Lady, dedicating herself toward reducing childhood obesity. The Let’s Move! initiative works with the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity. In 2010, The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed, improving the nutritional standards for school lunches, expanding support for breastfeeding mothers through WIC, and increasing access to federally-subsidized lunches in schools.
“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake,” Mrs. Obama said at the Let’s Move! launch.
As the first lady of Massachusetts, Mrs. Romney worked to raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis, a disease she was diagnosed with in 1998. She was also active in teen pregnancy prevention and faith-based work with inner-city children. She also held an unpaid, but official position as the governor’s liaison between the governor and faith-based initiatives. Appointed by her husband, she lead an office that was tasked with providing information and resources to the groups to help them navigate through the process of obtaining federal funding.
Mrs. Romney has said that working with “at risk” kids would be the cause she devotes herself to if she becomes first lady.
“At risk youth has been a concern of mine and love of mine for a lot of years,” she told ABC News in 2011.
Both Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Romney are smart, caring moms, with causes that focus on kids. I don’t care what color nail polish they wear. As a mom, as a woman, and as a voter, I think this country has more pressing issues.
Talking to My Kids About Middle School, Friend Drama, and Kellie Pickler
Blind Dachshund’s Artwork Helps Other Rescue Dogs
Actually, Motherhood Is the Toughest Job I’ve Ever Loved
Happy Grandparents Day! The Top 10 Most Awkward Grandparent Photos of All Time