Following in her do-nothing, Nobel Peace Prize-winning husband’s footsteps, First Lady Michelle Obama scooped up a laughably undeserved honor today:
Forbes Magazine named her the “most powerful woman in the world.”
How nice to see her husband spread the wealth in the Era of Post-Achievement.
She failed to convince Congress to pass her pet $8 billion Big Nanny nutrition bill.
And she’ll be campaigning this month for a bunch of crony fat cats and entrenched incumbents as Democrats gird their loins for major upheaval on Capitol Hill.
Through marriage to Barack Obama, she has “achieved” cushy public jobs and plum corporate advisory roles.
This is what makes her “powerful.”
Sasha Brown-Worsham at Cafe Mom says it well:
Michelle Obama is not the Most Powerful Woman in the World, despite what Forbes might say.
Sure, she has strong arms and equally strong convictions. She’s a lawyer who attended the best schools and worked hard to get there. No one could deny that she’s an accomplished, intelligent woman. But the most powerful woman in the world? Hardly.
She’s married to a powerful man — President Barack Obama — and because she’s the First Lady, she has a pulpit from which she can talk about breastfeeding, childhood obesity, and literacy. She has causes and strong opinions and isn’t afraid to express them, but her pulpit isn’t her own.
The reason she has such a powerful platform is her husband.
The other women on the list — Irene Rosenfeld, the CEO of Kraft Foods; Oprah Winfrey; Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany — are all powerful because of plans they set in action, tasks they set and goals they met. Just being someone’s wife ought not to be enough to earn top honors.
After all, what is power?
If power is defined as influence, then yes. Michelle Obama has it and then some. But how she earned that influence is troubling.
Do we want a future of young women thinking they don’t have to drive the car themselves since as long as they get into the right passenger seat, they are headed somewhere good?
Michelle Obama may be a strong woman. I’m sure she is, but she isn’t in her position because of her merit as anything other than a wife.
It’s important that we value the domestic sphere and it’s powerful in its own right, but in a list comprised of mostly self-made women, her number one spot is awkward.
Even Lady Gaga has done more on her own to deserve her spot on the list. Sarah Palin, who espouses views many find reprehensible, is still a more self-made woman. And she — with her incredible influence — is ultimately more powerful.
Michelle Obama is accomplished and brilliant, but ultimately, she’s the wife of someone powerful. Do we really want our young girls thinking that’s the only true way to achieve power?
Here’s the full Forbes list of powerful women, which includes such has-beens and head-scratchers as Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Huh?
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