As the transition of power from President Barack Obama to president elect, Donald Trump continues, first lady, Michelle Obama is still the source of scorn and ridicule. News came out that two women in West Virginia were caught disrespecting Michelle Obama and calling her an ape in heels. Fortunately, the two women involved have been removed from their positions of occupation and their social media accounts deleted but the continued disrespect of First Lady Michelle Obama is such a disgusting representation of the broader racism and sexism in society.
From the moment that Michelle Obama came First Day and her husband, Barack Obama president of the United States n 2009, she has faced ridicule, disdain and often times outright hatred from many Americans. Especially those in the right wing circles. Though many of these people hate Michelle simply because she is married to Barack Obama and Liberal, much of the hatred thrown her way has to do with the fact that she is the first Black woman to be first lady of the country. Many people feel that a Black woman shouldn’t be first lady despite the fact that she is a Harvard University graduate and is very well educated, articulate, classy and beautiful. Yet she was stereotyped as an ”angry Black woman”, masculine, ugly and so on. To them, she was just another typical ghetto bitch from the block despite her credentials.
On the other hand, Donald Trump’s wife, Melania Trump has been branded as beautiful and a better alternate to Michelle Obama. But Melania is an immigrant from Russia, who can barely speak English and relied on her looks to get where she is today. There has many pictures of Melania Trump posing nude in magazines and in modeling shoots. Yet Melania Trump is seen as more beautiful and dignified than Michelle Obama solely due to the fact that she is White and female. In fact, those two women, who called Michelle Obama an ”ape in heels”, said that they can’t wait to see a ”beautiful and dignified” woman as the first lady when referring to Melania Trump.There was even a cartoon created that tried to show Melania as a better alternative to Michelle Obama as a first lady.
Notice how Michelle Obama was drawn with muscular arms, legs and chiseled chin and face to make her appear masculine. Melania is dressed in a nice dress, looking feminine and holding up a sign, ”Make America Great Again”. This plays into the stereotype that Black women are unattractive and masculine while White women are the epitome of femininity and beauty. Either way, it is degrading to both women to judge them solely on appear and not what they have to offer. Though I am quite sure that a Conservative created this meme and image, it has racial and sexist tones to the message behind it.
Melania Trump has faced ridicule after she was mocked by model, Gigi Hadid at the American Music Awards. Hadid supposedly impersonated her and imitated Melania Trump’s strong accent. Hadid faced controversy for it over Twitter and other social media accounts. She eventually apologized. These same people didn’t utter a peep when Michelle Obama and her daughters were being dragged through the mud by racists on Conservative media outlets. Though I am against Melania Trump being mocked like this, I don’t believe that people should turn a blind eye to Michelle Obama being disrespected like this either.
Ultimately, I believe that the continued disrespect of Michelle Obama in our society signifies the lack of value Black women hold in the eyes of many. Black women have to try twice as hard to even be considered in the same light as their medicore White counterparts. Such as the case of Melania Trump and Michelle Obama. However, there are plenty of more people like myself, who do value Black womanhood and want to uphold and protect it. Hence it is important to call out the racist, sexist and misogynist treatment Black women in America and other Western countries face in this country in an effort to promote fairness and equal treatment.