Michelle Obama – Baby Got Posterior
I’m a black woman who never
thought I’d see a powerful,
beautiful female with a
body like mine in
the White House.
Then I saw Michelle Obama –
and her booty!
By Erin Aubry Kaplan
November 18th, 2008
Free at last.
I never thought that I — a black girl who came of age in the utterly anticlimactic aftermath of the civil rights movement — would say the phrase with any real sincerity in my lifetime.
But ever since Nov. 4, I’ve been shouting it from every rooftop.
I’m not excited for the most obvious reason.
Yes, Obama’s win was an extraordinary breakthrough and a huge relief, but I don’t subscribe to the notion that his capturing the White House represents the end of American racial history.
Far from it.
There is a certain freedom in the moment — as in, we are all now free from wondering when or if we’ll ever get a black president.
Congratulations to all of us for being around to settle the question.
But what really thrills me, what really feels liberating in a very personal way, is the official new prominence of Michelle Obama.
Barack’s better half not only has stature but is statuesque.
She has coruscating intelligence, beauty, style and — drumroll, please –
(Yes, you read that right:
I’m going to talk about the first lady’s butt.)
What a bonus!
From the ocean of nastiness and confusion that defined this campaign from the beginning,
Michelle rose up like Venus on the waves,
keeping her coif above water and cruising the coattails of history to present us with a brand-new beauty norm before we knew it was even happening.
Actually, it took me and a lot of other similarly configured black women by surprise.
So anxious and indignant were we about Michelle getting attacked for saying anything about America that conservatives could turn into mud,
we hardly looked south of her neck.
I noted her business suits and the fact she hardly ever wore pants (unlike Hillary).
As I gradually relaxed, as Michelle strode onto more stages and people started focusing on her clothes and presence instead of her patriotism,
it dawned on me –
good God, she has a butt!
“Obama’s baby (mama) got back,”
wrote one feminist blogger.
“OMG, her butt is humongous!”
went a typical comment on one African-American online forum,
and while it isn’t humongous, per se,
it is a solid, round, black, class-A boo-tay.
Try as Michelle might to cover it with those Mamie Eisenhower skirts and sheath dresses meant to reassure mainstream voters,
the butt would not be denied.
As America fretted about Obama’s exoticism and he sought to calm the waters with speeches about unity and common experience,
Michelle’s body was sending a different message:
To hell with biracialism!
Don’t think so.
Here was one clear signifier of blackness that couldn’t be tamed, muted or otherwise made invisible.
It emerged right before our eyes, in the midst of our growing uncertainty about everything, and we were too bogged down in the daily campaign madness to notice.
The one clear predictor of success that the pundits, despite all their fancy maps, charts and holograms, missed completely?
it’s time the butt got some respect.
Ever since slavery, it’s been both vilified and fetishized as the most singular of all black female features, more unsettling than dark skin and full lips, the thing that marked black women as uncouth and not quite ready for civilization
(of course, it also made them mighty attractive to white men, which further stoked fears of miscegenation that lay at the heart of legal and social segregation).
In modern times, the butt has demarcated class and stature among black society itself.
Emphasizing it or not separates dignified black women from ho’s, party girls from professionals, hip-hop from serious.
(Black women are not the only ones with protruding behinds, by the way, but they’re certainly considered its source.
How many gluteally endowed nonblack women have been derided for having a black ass?
Well, Hillary, for one.)
But Michelle is bringing those two falsely divided minds together in a single presentation –
finally, unity for the real world!
Talk about a power base.
Thanks to Michelle, looking professional and provocative in a distinctly black way will become not only acceptable but also part of a whole presidential look that’s more, well, inclusive.
Now we’ll all be able to wear leggings to board meetings;
we’ll sport pencil skirts sans the long jackets meant to cover the offending rear at big conferences where we have to make a good impression.
It turns out that Sir Mix-A-Lot,
he of “Baby Got Back” fame,
was not a novelty but a prophet.
Give that guy a Cabinet post.
Photo by AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall