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Michelle Obama's New Hair

Why Are We So Interested in Michelle Obama's Hair?

The Obama family enjoyed a country-music concert last night, but today's buzz is less about the performance and more about First Lady Michelle Obama's hairstyle. Paying attention to her appearance is nothing new, of course. During last year's campaign, Mrs. Obama became a style icon, inspiring women with her blend of designer dresses and J. Crew basics. And when she shows off a new hairstyle, people take notice. (Right now, people are gossiping about whether this new bob is a wig, a trim, or just a new way to arrange her existing coif.)

Like Jacqueline Kennedy and Nancy Reagan before her, Mrs. Obama has become a style icon, and deservedly so. But when we're talking about the nation's first African-American first lady, the attention paid to her hair can be a touchy subject. As many black women can attest, sometimes hair isn't just hair. For instance, there's the notion of "good" hair — so much so that Chris Rock is doing a movie on the concept — and as Afrobella points out, even Malia Obama's hair is scrutinized. So is this different 'do just a new style, or is it more?

Image Source: Getty
arlnice arlnice 8 years
Well stated CharityLove. As an African American woman at a company where (dare I say) I am the ONLY meatball in the rice (male or female). My image is very important because believe it or not, I represent all of African Americans that some will ever PERSONALLY know. First Lady Obama holds an executive position/office that is probably ranked higher than any other in this country (movie stars, singers and TV hosts excluded). Her exposure (thus her image) offers opportunites for people to grade (or degrade) her. Most people in the limelight have the pressure of "what do I put on and how do I wear my hair in a way that will not draw criticism." I can't imagine the pressure that First Lady Obama must be under of having to make choices about herself or her daughters than will have people decide 1) if she is woman enough, 2) human enough, AND 3) black or white enough. What ever she does, shouldn't that just BE ENOUGH?
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Anonymous, hun, this is a beauty blog. Why come here if you don't care about hair? And where is it written that if you do care about hair that you don't know more than one language or read or use the library regularly?
Beauty Beauty 8 years
Thanks for the comment, charitylove. And yes, I was trying to point out that sometimes, a hairstyle is viewed symbolically, and it's not just about hair. Like you said, some people think natural/unrelaxed hair is unprofessional, or "militant," or whatever. I can't imagine Michelle Obama could walk out on the Front Lawn while having her hair in dreadlocks without the cable news media going TOTALLY berserk. I can see it now: "Is Michelle Obama the next Angela Davis?! Is she a radical?!?!?! Stay tuned as we analyze her hair for the next hour!" Maybe things will change down the line, but for now, I have a feeling that's how it would go down, unfortunately.
charitylove charitylove 8 years
I think one of the more important points that BellaSugar was trying to highlight was completely disregarded. I thought it was very forward to not only recognize but also to acknowledge the Black Woman's Hair plight in this forum. Many times African American women's hair that is not straightened is portrayed as unprofessional or as "ghetto," as was the case with the incident involving Malia that was cited. If M.O. had changed her hairstyle to dreadlocks or cornrows, I'd bet her image would drastically change for the negative. It's a much bigger issue than most commentors acknowledged. She is a natural hair role model for many AA females who have felt pressured to straighten their hair, get relaxers, wear wigs, or weaves. She sends out a message that clearly says you can be natural and successful, you don't need to conform to look sophisticated. On another note, if I am homeless and at a food pantry, my main concern would not be what brand of shoes the person serving me is wearing but the fact that I am receiving a meal, especially from the First Lady. I doubt Laura Bush would have worn payless shoes if she had ever volunteered. If M.O. had walked into the soup kitchen with clothes identical to mine, I would feel patronized, .not respected. All IMHO.
SalescoopCat SalescoopCat 8 years
Michelle's hair looks nice-- I think she just pinned it back more than she usually does though, which is why it appears shorter. This is the first post I've seen about Michelle that doesn't have to do with J Crew!
equestriennechic equestriennechic 8 years
*Sigh,* I'm at a loss for words. America can be so sickening sometimes.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I'd have to say the hair is a faux bob judging by the hair sticking out at the nape of her neck. It's either tucked under or a wig. Either way it's a cute way to switch it up.
polkadots567 polkadots567 8 years
i think she is beautiful, and the new 'do is cute, but who cares if its "something more"
lemuse20 lemuse20 8 years
She could shave her hair off for all I care. But to comment on her new 'do, it's cute
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
I think her hair is very cute, regardless if it's just pinned under or is a new cut.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
I think her hair is just pinned up in the back, new DO? NOT.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 8 years
Stop saying you don't care. If you didn't care, you wouldn't post.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
To everyone criticising her choice of tennis wear during charity work - No one who was getting served knew they cost $500 until the press pointed it out afterwards. Most of those folks didn't care. You could smell like soap and it would offend some people in the soup kitchen because they don't have any. Been there, seen it.If you dress like you are slumming it pissed more of us off than just wearing some clean simple clothing. I am glad to see a change in her hairstyle but I don't think that it fits her face all that well.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
I agree with the peeps who say they don't care.
michlny michlny 8 years
Heard this A.M., even though I care less about MO :) - her hair was tucked under...not cut..... Rigor Mortis - I am speaking in generalizations - not absolute terms. In general women care more than men. That's why sales for women's clothes and make-up far exceed sales for men's. Fact of life.
poptart-princess poptart-princess 8 years take their minds of the ever saddening state of the US economy?
sham28 sham28 8 years
I just don't think that one thing you wear to do charity could be sold to feed every person in the facility for a week.
sham28 sham28 8 years
She always looks cute, but not any better than some of the more fashion- oriented women that I know. And I agree with Amy0824, HELL no you don't wear designer gear or gratuitous jewlery when you're doing charity work for people that are less fortunate, moy! Obviously the work is the most important but it's still really rude. I've volunteered for years at So Others Migh Eat in Washington DC- the point is to remember that it could have been you, if your circumstances had been different.... it could have been your family. You are supposed to put yourself and all of your success/ 500- dollar things aside for awhile and literally serve food or pour coffee. Actually considering you even said "dressing like a hobo" you might not know what I'm talking about.
Briandiesel Briandiesel 8 years
To me, it looks like it's pinned back and pushed under. I always love how she looks. If you are doing charity work, you can really dress however you want. The people on the receiving end honestly could care less what you are wearing. This might sound tacky, but the fact that you have on clean clothes could be "flaunting your wealth" to some people. The fact that she wore $500 dollar sneakers is a moot point. She wore sneakers. She dressed appropriately. If the press hadn't told you they were Lanvin, no one would have known.
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