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Tuesday
Nov182008

Michelle Obama's "Booty" Put Up on the Auction Block by Salon.com

It takes a very "special" Black woman to sell herself on the auction block for a two piece and a biscuit, but only a true multimedia crack head can take another Black woman and throw them up on the auction block for a side of fries.

We've covered these types of dimwitted Black women on this blog before. Those idiots that cheered the acquittal of R. Kelly on ESSENCE.com. Those brain damaged miscreants who blamed a 12 year old girl for being raped by 21 men and boys. Sadists like Lauryn London who praise Black men who shoot other Black men in the head. Or the countless mothers who auction up their children to their boyfriends so they can "keep a man" while he is "messing" with their daughters or worse.

Its not as if we haven't witnessed Black women who would sell another Black woman or girl down river. So I present to you our latest slave auctioneer, one Erin Aubrey Kaplan who decided to throw Michelle Obama up on the auction block so she could be one of the "cool Black kids" this week over at Salon.com

So apparently Erin Aubrey Kaplan , handmaiden of misogyny ,decided to sell MIchelle Obama's behind. LITERALLY! Fresh off of her dazzling interview on 60 Minutes- demonstrating intellect, dignity, and class, Salon.com decided it was necessary to bring Michelle Obama down to size by comparing her to the women in Sir Mic-A-lot video "Baby Got Back."

To carry out their dirty work to make sure that Black women are bereft of many images of themselves NOT viewed through the lens of the Regime of Bullets Booty and Bling, Salon acquired the services of Erin Aubry Kaplan to write this hack job called First lady got back:An Appreciation for Michelle Obama's Beauty and Booty.
[W]hat 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 corruscating intelligence, beauty, style and -- drumroll, please -- a butt. (Yes, you read that right: I'm going to talk about the first lady's butt.) Erin Aubry Kaplan

Oh really? Is your self esteem so damaged. Your intellect so limited. Your creativity so lacking that the most exciting thing about Michelle Obama, a Princeton and Harvard graduate, mother of two and corporate executive is her "booty?" Did all your buddies over at Salon.com tell you how clever you were? Did you feel like the very special clever Black person Erin? Did you get a gold star? I hope they paid you more than $1.25 per word, because surely selling Michelle Obama down river by chopping her up into pieces, marginalizing and dehumanizing her was worth more than a two piece and a biscuit. It gets worse.
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. Salon.com

So in other words, you sat idly by while Michelle Obama was objectified and marginalized and did nothing, in fact you celebrated it, then you trotted it out for Salon.com so everyone else could join in on your dysfunction? I feel like Ms. Sophia is The Color Purple "Allll my liiiiife I've had to fight...."
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. Who knew? Give that guy a Cabinet post. Erin Aubry Kaplan

Take me now Lord! Take. Me. Now! She wants to give Sir Mix-A-Lot a cabinet post for bringing us this:

Erin Aubry Kaplan is what my friends and I like to call "Simple." You know like the Mama who leaves her daughter down stairs with two teenage boys and doesn't come running when here baby is screaming . We all know women like Erin Aubry Kaplan. Maybe their fathers didn't love them enough or they were teased as children. Like the stripper who recruited a 12 year old girl to come dance in the club.They may be "simple," but they are indeed dangerous. Simple Black women always manage to survive unscathed, but everything around them ends up scorched. Which is why they are to be avoided like the plague.

Erin Aubry Kaplan is one of those Black people. The ones that give others permission do dehumanize us. Like DL Hughley who went on the Tonight Show to assure America that is was okay to consider Black women ugly. Or Nas who runs around assuring others its okay to refer to Black people as N*ggers. Or this girl who assures her white friends that it is okay to dress up as Klansmen for Halloween.

Yes Erin Aubry Kaplan in another time would have been the sister who ran to tell Miss Pitty Pat that Lil' Harriet Tubman was planning to run away that evening in hopes that Miss Pitty Pat would let Lil' Erin sleep in the big house that night. Simple! This means Erin is going to get a LOT of work over the next four years, because there is always room in the Big House for women like Erin Aubry Kaplan... until Erin gets sold down river. Simple!

You can read my more sedate response to this foolishness over at Michelle Obama Watch.

Reader Comments (75)

I, too, was appalled by that article. Michelle Obama is NOT the new Venus Hottentot!

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertayari jones

Oh Lawd why Lawd do we have to put up with these bufoons in the media who claim to represent us.
I bet that Erin thinks she is real "edumacated" b/c she was able to degrade black women down in proper english in an article on Salon, but she is no better than a minstrel rappper hood measuring a womans worth by her booty.
I feel like nowadays so called black intellectuals are kind of anti-intellectual. Most of them just don't come across as too intelligent to me. They end up stooping down to the lowest common denominator to keep a gig going in the media.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNaima

While I do believe you're overreacting a bit...okay a lot. I think the article was inappropiate. But, it was no more inappropiate than all the "hot" talk that went on when Sarah Palin was in the race....inappropiate, but to be expected when there is an attractive woman involved.

Let's face it, she's the best looking first lady since Jackie-O (who wasn't pretty but had the "it" factor). You're gonna hear comments about her looks and body. And yes, she is stacked...so you gonna here about that as well.

Regardless of how accomplished a woman is, a woman is still judged by how she looks...being the First Lady isn't going to change that. I think it was crass, but ultimately, not all that serious.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Oh and in private conversation Michelle's ass comes up quite a bit...the woman is built and I don't know a whole lot of red blooded males who don't appreciate that.

The conversations should probably be left in private.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

I don't know how to respond.

I read the article and I am just wondering how does a woman go so wrong?

How do they [people who think the way she does] keep getting these very public platforms?

I would think that other BW would want to protect her image.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterOshun

It's true that bodies of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. As humans, it's natural to want to look.

But the trouble with focusing on Michelle Obama's butt, or assessing whether Jackie O is pretty, etc. is that this approach holds women up to judgment on the basis of their physical attributes. Men are also described as attractive but are rarely reduced to a body part or their prettiness. The flip side of this is the harsh judgment of the physical appearance of women like Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton. These judgments are reductive since they usually take place at the expense of an analysis of/respect for/engagement with women's views and the content of their characters.

Let's reconsider this approach to women in general.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMildred Lewis

i think you all have captured my feelings. this blows my mind. when will we sistas just stop, be quiet, get still, and hear ourselves for what we need to do in order to heal?

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterananda leeke

@JJ, Is that you old friend? The last time I saw you in the comments, it was on the back of a milk carton. Anywhoo as usual, you and I disagree on something, but I am heartened that even you feel the article is inappropriate.

Y'all know it REALLY has to be bad for JJ to call it inappropriate.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergem2001

In my circle of co-workers we frequently talk about how well Michelle Obama looks in her clothing; we talk about Pres. Elect Obama in the same manner, they are both very attractive individuals. These conversations are kept very quiet and private.

I'm not happy that this type of commentary is made 'news'...there would be outcries if a white male like Imus did an article like this. There would also be further outcries for 'off with his head' so to speak.

I'm glad that Michelle is secure in herself enough to wear what she wants and to speak up for herself when necessary, but it's also a diservice IMO to her accomplishments and intelligence to reduce her presence to her backside.

It's not okay for anyone to reduce her to the typical 'booty call' mentality.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercinco

Some people consider this article harmless, complimentary even. I know it's crazy! First Salon talks about how Michelle is giving up so much by being a mere wife and mother, albeit a First Lady and NOW we're talking about her boo-tay? I mean yes I've noticed it because I have a pair of working eyes but this really is quite racist to focus on it because it belongs to a shapely Black woman. I can't remember ever reading an article about any other FLOTUS's rear end. In our private discourse we can certainly compliment her but we really shouldn't be focusing on her physicality exclusively. But if she had been shorter and heavier they would've trotted out the Mammy/Aunt Jemima references i.e how motherly, how soothing she is. It would've been something.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

While black women have clearly been objectified for years and years, I do not agree with your take on this article. After reading it, I feel that the author - although possibly misguided, has chosen to focus on one of the many, but most prominent characteristics that many black women share, but in the professional world, have had to downplay. I think it is nice to see Michelle Obama, who is a shapely woman that looks like many black women in the derrière, in a position of prominence to be revered by the nation and others. Keep in mind that not even 100 years ago, the bodies of black women (including the butt) were used in "scientific studies" as a part of eugenics to determine our degeneracy or non-humanness. Yet, Michelle Obama, a woman who embodies all of the characteristics that were used to dehumanize black woman is on the way to becoming a national icon. Now was this the best area to focus on? Maybe not for a published book or a magazine. Should Baby Got Back replace the national anthem? Hell no. Should Sir mix a lot be in the cabinet? What a joke. But, aside from all of this, the author was expressing her opinion, and I do not judge her for that. And to call the author foolish and misogynistic is a bit much for an article that praises the uniqueness that is shared by many black women. True, this "uniqueness" is ridiculously splayed over BET which would make any black woman want to scream over ANYONE mentioning the butt of a black woman, but I think like JJ said, it's not that serious.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDon't Agree

Agreed (post below). Honestly, I noticed it too and that's just because I tend to look at bodies out of natural habit; HOWEVER, I did not notice it until literally a couple days ago. Everything else about her outshines the mere physical aspects.

To reduce her to her derriere is demeaning and immature. Never heard anything like this about past First Ladies.
____________________________________________

Mildred Lewis on 11.18.08 at 9:29 am

It’s true that bodies of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. As humans, it’s natural to want to look.

But the trouble with focusing on Michelle Obama’s butt, or assessing whether Jackie O is pretty, etc. is that this approach holds women up to judgment on the basis of their physical attributes. Men are also described as attractive but are rarely reduced to a body part or their prettiness. The flip side of this is the harsh judgment of the physical appearance of women like Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton. These judgments are reductive since they usually take place at the expense of an analysis of/respect for/engagement with women’s views and the content of their characters.

Let’s reconsider this approach to women in general.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

This is sad. When will black people learn? How does an EDUCATED blk woman get reduced to her butt. She will turn into a Princess Diana, an icon. She should not be reduced to her booty. This is low..

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSahsa

kinda crass.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermiriam

Joan Walsh has spoken:

From Joan Walsh

Thanks catamitebastard and Oscar the Grouch -- and to whoever said I'm to blame, thank you too, because I totally am.

I have loved Erin Aubry Kaplan's writing since before I joined Salon, and I'm proud of this piece. If having a black president and first lady is going to narrow what we talk about, wow, that would be sad. But I promise it won't -- at least not on Salon.

---
She's proud of diminishing Michelle to a retrograde fantasy.
This kind of feminism I don't need.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertallulahbankhead

Well, she is well known for her LA Weekly article "The Butt" - but that's not the point. I agree with your view with the article, she placed WAY too much emphasis on her butt. I mean, if she wanted to talk about how she's a confident first lady who takes care of her body, then that's different - but instead she's like "She's intelligent, a great mom, BUT MAN LOOK AT THAT ASS!".

Like wth? If a man said that to me, I'd be appalled because it's like he's pushing aside everything that I stand for and telling me that he wouldn't praise me as much if I didn't have a booty. This article is JUST WRONG period.

For those who are saying that Gina is overreacting and the author is just talking about how it's good to see a black woman show off her curves in the professional setting - you are clearly missing the point and giving the author TOO much credit. She ain't saying that, because Condelezza Rice showed some legs before and she didn't get "praised" (read "demeaned") for it. Get out of here with that BS.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeidra Robey

Like I've said so many times before we're (Black people, often Blak women
), our own worst enemy!

True we have a long ways to go to get the country to change how they think about us, but we have a larger divide right in our own communities!

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercinco

Gina (gem2001): We’ve covered these types of dimwitted Black women on this blog before. Those idiots that cheered the acquittal of R. Kelly on ESSENCE.com. Those brain damaged miscreants who blamed a 12 year old girl for being raped by 21 men and boys. Sadists like Lauryn London who praise Black men who shoot other Black men in the head. Or the countless mothers who auction up their children to their boyfriends so they can “keep a man” while he is “messing” with their daughters or worse.

Its not as if we haven’t witnessed Black women who would sell another Black woman or girl down river. So I present to you our latest slave auctioneer, one Erin Aubrey Kaplan who decided to throw Michelle Obama up on the auction block so she could be one of the “cool Black kids” this week over at Salon.com

Gina see this is why I love you man! You are wise! I bow down to you. Thank God for you, Evia, your blogs and those other black women who have blogs like yours because THAT is the stuff that has been the bane of my life around other black people pretty much since I was 13 years old!

I am so tired of black people just focusing or dying for the chance to focus on the arse on a black woman as if that's such a huge (not a pun here!) deal! It's black people like that, especially the DBR black men who reduce black women to their private parts in public without shame, who make me feel like going to the best plastic surgeon and say "Please make my arse an east Asian arse!"

LOL Gina you're just telling the truth. And people who think it's not such a big deal are the same people who have no problem with black women being the over-sexed stereotypical b****es and h**s within the media or the beloved 'Server of the Pancakes'. LOL

SOME black women have only just gotten on to the feminism train (very late) and only JUSt started to ask themselves 'Hey what about me?' instead of always checking for 'bruh man' every five seconds of their confused lives!

Oshun: I don’t know how to respond.

I read the article and I am just wondering how does a woman go so wrong?

How do they [people who think the way she does] keep getting these very public platforms?

I would think that other BW would want to protect her image.

Oshun, please. Black women to this day some of them still wanna protect a black man's back, and a black man's image only.

Some black women will protect R. Kelly's image first still, somebody who will hang out by their daughter's school yard WAYYYYY before they look out for themselves and other black women like them!

I don't know why black women didn't do something and form a NOW-type situation like white women did 40 years ago but least somebody is finally waking up and smelling some fresh made Joe! LOL

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterak

Is she saying that she's a lesbian? Is that her real message? I'm missing the point of her article. Wanda Sykes just came out the other day; maybe that's what her next article will be about.

I've never really looked at Michelle Obama's body, front or back. Heck, I don't even look at other women that hard. A man, sure, but another woman? I don't get it.

I'm sincerely impressed by Michelle Obama's dedication to her children. She makes me think of my own mother.

Man, the things I learn about low-minded people. It's always about the genitalia with them, isn't it? Phew.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGoldenah

I saw this piece at salon last night, before I read WAOD's response to it. I skimmed it; I thought it was silly. It was in bad taste towards Mrs. Obama, and made the author, not Michelle Obama, look stupid and simple-minded. I hope that the writer of that piece has not set the stage for how MO's beauty will be talked about.

Let's face it, MO's looks will be talked about, because she is the first First Lady in a long, long, long time who (please don't jump all over me for saying what I am about to write) doesn't look like your mom, she does not look matronly. She is statuesque and fit. She is regal-looking. She is young, and because she is a black woman, looks ten years younger than her age. She doesn't dress dowdily. She is a head-turner. (I am looking at the slide show that is playing through my mind, and come to think of it, there was not one first lady, going back to Pat Nixon, except for Michelle, who would be considered a head-turner. Jackie Kennedy had style, but, in my opinion, she was not a head turner. Nancy Reagan, too, had style, but she was not a head turner. )

So, regardless of her race, and because of her good looks, MO is going to get attention from the media because of her looks.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterredcatbiker

Hello Gina,

I posted on our site about the 2009 BWB conference in Chicago. I look forward to attending again for Round 2 :)

For those readers and yourself who may or may not know anything about Erin Aubry Kaplan, I wanted to leave a link to just a few of her articles. http://threebrothersandasister.blogspot.com/search?q=erin+aubry+kaplan.

Erin occasionally blogs over at 3BAAS and I can tell you, her perspective is usually very provocative. Whether you agree with her or not, the sistah is a gifted and respected journalist in every sense of the word.

Personally, I appreciated the point Erin was making and didn't take offense at all. Several black men I know have commented on soon-to-be First Lady Obama's derriere in glowing terms. Not to sexualize her, but simply acknowledging in an endearing way that Michelle is a smart, classy, down 100% "black woman".

Take offense if you will, but there's a big difference between celebrating someone's aesthetic disposition, and maliciously demeaning it. Other cultures don't have any qualms about promoting what they consider to be "beautiful" features.

Now, sistahs have their ambassador. Erin just put it out there!

I should have both of you on my next blogtalkradio show to discuss this more. Are you down???

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Ross

the sistah is a gifted and respected journalist in every sense of the word.

Well we are not respecting or appreciating what she has gifted us with on this particular occasion. Now I have to finish writing my next post comparing Joan Walsh of Salon.com to Miss Pitty Pat from Gone With the Wind.

Its amazing that here we have aBlack woman who is a Princeton and Harvard grad, a loving mother, fashion goddess, bright, articulate, and all Erin could find admirable was her behind.

I highly doubt I would survive an interaction with such a simple-minded Black woman without having a stroke so I will take a pass on the podcast. We're only 24 hours out. This thing isn't going away. I hope she got a fat check from Joan Walsh for this fooleywang material.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergem2001

I don't think the article was appropriate considering what a highly educated woman Michelle is.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLa Belle Femme

Male friends have told me (honestly, they swear) how much time men spend thinking and talking about a woman's ass. I was amazed.

This article is absurd. This type of writing and thinking is NOT to be encouraged. The writing is a demonstration of how little respect Black women (regardless of achievement) are shown in this society.

Gina, you are right. Given MO's achievements and contributions, her butt should be the last topic of conversation. Can you image a white First Lady as the subject of such an article (even if she did have a big butt)? Nobody would dare sign the by-line.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdeborah

Oh I just had to check back. And what do I find. Friend of apologist for and excuser of DL Idiot Kevin Ross coming here to tell us how respectable this pseudo-intelligentsia Slave Catcher Erin Kaplan is. Are we supposed to change our minds now because Kevvy Kev says its all good? Because some Black men like the way Michelle looks. Really? Who cares what they think because we could round up a bunch that thinks she's ugly. And? I have two words - which I wrote on my blog post today: Hottentot Venus. When is it ok to talk about a First Lady's physicality: when she's a Black woman. This is the line in the sand and after Joan Walsh (I'm such an oppressed white woman here me roar) said those that objected to the article have a "narrow focus". Because what, respect is so confining? It is sooo on now!!!

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

Faith said "Friend of apologist for and excuser of DL Idiot Kevin Ross coming here to tell us how respectable this pseudo-intelligentsia Slave Catcher Erin Kaplan is."

OMG FIYAH! So on point. So on point. We must be related "pseudo-intelligentsia slave catcher" I am so mad you came up with that first.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergem2001

Had I not seen this (and ALL the other links) with my own eyes.... Sad to say that I never cease to be amazed. I can't even think of legitimate auctions without thinking of slave auction centers in one of many cities Fayetteville, Charleston, New Orleans, Montgomery, and a host of others. I don't think any of this attempt at a story neither funny nor appropriate. I am surprised the PC police didn't stop this one. My peoples my peoples!

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine

Interesting... I don't get published in newspapers and major blogs like Salon because I didn't graduate from the Ivy League and I don't have connections with major publishers.... yet people like this are getting published all over the place....no problem.

It's the same thing with the DL Hughley madness. The gatekeepers (publishers, TV producers, website owners) often pick from the bottom of the barrel where the garbage sinks, when it comes to providing a platform for Black bloggers and writers. Rarely do they go for the cream on top. The worst among us always seem to get rewarded.

Just another reason why I hate being Black.

Is there any way I can quit the World????

Yeah... yeah, I know the answer.

As Cornel West said one time... there is no getting out of here (talking about the World we live). We're stuck.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Angry Independent

Kevin Ross: Not to sexualize her, but simply acknowledging in an endearing way that Michelle is a smart, classy, down 100% “black woman”.

Take offense if you will, but there’s a big difference between celebrating someone’s aesthetic disposition, and maliciously demeaning it. Other cultures don’t have any qualms about promoting what they consider to be “beautiful” features.

deborah: The writing is a demonstration of how little respect Black women (regardless of achievement) are shown in this society.

Gina, you are right. Given MO’s achievements and contributions, her butt should be the last topic of conversation. Can you image a white First Lady as the subject of such an article (even if she did have a big butt)? Nobody would dare sign the by-line.

Faith: I have two words - which I wrote on my blog post today: Hottentot Venus. When is it ok to talk about a First Lady’s physicality: when she’s a Black woman. This is the line in the sand and after Joan Walsh (I’m such an oppressed white woman here me roar) said those that objected to the article have a “narrow focus”. Because what, respect is so confining? It is sooo on now!!!

Oh my days! Faith and deborah you guys are both SO right on the money! There is not a shred of respect for black women at all otu there these days nor during any day that came before! I always knew that THE DAY black women especially black American women would wake up, open their own eyes, and see the truth about that fact, that that would be a DAY! A day even for fanfare and realization!

As for that other fool up there talking, these black men cannot even apologize or even say that they are dead WRONG with what they come out with saying about black women.

Why would I want to ever deal with more black men or even give birth to any black men when they still think it's just OK to as usual act so darn FAMILIAR like it's always OK for them to reduce black women to their private parts or some other such sexist misogynistic foolishness that black men feel that their entitled to when it comes to black women that they hardly ever try with non-black women?

With black men such as what we're surround by and their ridiculous self-absorbed, silly, FAMILIAR and inconsiderate mind-sets who needs more of 'em on this planet? Blasted hell at this rate Klan would be more comfortable to deal with! LOL

Bane of my life I tell you.

Within the French and Spanish language, I am sure some of you have realized that they still use both a Formal version of the word 'You' and a FAMILIAR version of the word 'You'.

This is because in order to be polite with PEOPLE YOU DON'T KNOW OR KNOW WELL and to show the proper respect you should use the Formal 'You' form in French and Spanish-speaking society.

Because Familiarity is not a good thing or has negative connotations within those societies; a concept that's sadly lost on a lot of black people especially with regards to relations between black men and black women.

I read about a British white woman who has been travelling back and forth between Britain and France and has French friends that she's been friends for the past 15 years. She said in an article that she felt upset that those same old French friends of hers still referred to her in a formal way with the Formal form of the word 'You' when they spoke with her.

She confronted her French friends and told them it made her feel as though they didn't feel close to her or friendly with her after all those years of knowing her. And these French people said that 'No' that wasn't the case, not from their point of view. The French friends she had from way back said that even after years and year THEY STILL WANTED TO SHOW RESPECT FOR THEIR BRITISH FRIEND and THAT'S why they still use the Formal form of 'You' when they speak to this woman. Even if she is a close friend of theirs!

What IS it though about BLACK people especially that they feel they can be so darn FAMILIAR about every black person, especially BLACK WOMEN, who they don't even know or know well, everywhere that you go? Especially with behavior and conduct from black men towards black women?

What is UP with that? Huh?

When y'all have your answer to that, THAT is when you will find the root of truth of that foolishness behind black people and their disrespect for Michelle Obama and other black women!

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterak

I am w/ you AI, I have talented to friends who have given up on their dreams or are still struggling to get their work published. Yes these Ivy League black folks who get the opportunities continue to disappoint. They really make me question affirmative action or maybe the Ivy League has done a number on their brain.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNaima

No matter how others attempt to validify/justify/ or rationalize it, to me it will never be okay to reduce the merits of our First Lady to body parts.

There are too many important things to discuss.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercinco

No matter how others attempt to validify/justify/ or rationalize it, to me it will never be okay to reduce the merits of our First Lady to body parts.

There are too many important things to discuss.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercinco

I've read this article three times now (as well as every comment left here so far today) and as much as I wanted to agree with your premise, I just don't see any maliciousness behind her words.

Full of hyperbole? Yes. Pandering? Probably. Inappropriate? Eh. If this piece were in the New York Times or Harper's Bazaar, then yes...but this was Salon, where many of the articles are usually as "bloggy" as one could be. Plus, she seems to have a bit of a "writing about butts" fetish", so her words didn't seem particularly unnerving.

Like I alluded to before, I just don't think this author and this particular article should be lumped in with the dangerous nincompoops exhibited in your second paragraph.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthe champ

So this women went to the Ivy League in order to be "qualified" to write this piece of tomfoolery? I hope the student loan debt was worth it. From reading this piece written by this Ivy League graduate, I don't think so. In fact, I hope she's still mired in student loan debt - that would be fitting.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Ummm, maybe it's the 'Kaplan' in Erin's name that makes people feel like they should just easily write that article off?

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterak

JJ,

Much of the "hot" talk about Sarah Palin was done by her own party. Remember the buttons at the RNC Convention?

Yeah.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterM

Also, for those who think the criticism is an "overreaction", here's the thing: I have NEVER see an article in a major magazine that discussed the anatomical attributes of any other First Lady of the United States.

Oh, wait. Folk have dogged Senator Clinton out about her hips, haven't they?

So, what to Mrs. Obama and Senator Clinton have in common? They are intelligent women who think for themselves and have the audacity to use their intelligence and speak their minds.

Hmm. So do we as a society still have a need to put non-male dependent women in their "place"?

Maybe a talk show discussion is needed.

A friend of mine warned me that if Barack Obama was elected, that folk would lose their minds and feel like they could say or write ANYTHING about black folk; the fact of a black President means we's all equal now.

That kind of thinking is so magnificently illogical that it makes me realize how incredibly broken the American education system (public and private) truly is.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterM

Erin Aubry Kaplan has touched a serious nerve. Or in this case, a butt!

Wednesday November 19 on The Kevin Ross Show, meet the writer that created the firestorm and find out exactly what was her motivation behind the article. Is the soon-to-be First Lady being unfairly sexualized, or does her figure represent a triumph for women of color with “real curves”? Listen online or feel free to call in at (347) 945-5939.

Hold on to your Spanx ladies, it's going to be a bumpy ride. That's tonight at 7pm (PST), only on Blogtalkradio

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Ross

Thanks Gina, you did put together Civil Rights Industrial Complex so feel free to use another appropriate phrase!

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

thechamp: i totally agree. i didn't see anything inappropriate about the article.

everyone, yes, even kaplan is entitled to her opinion. and to call her a "handmaiden of misogyny" is just tasteless to me.

just as tasteless as it it purported the said article is, actually.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterelledub

Maybe 'handmaiden of CRAP' is better because it certainly sounds more precise to me.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterak

It's sad that the 'entitlement' is reduced to voicing her educated opinion about the First Ladys' butt. What?, Michelle hasn't done anything else worth mentioning? And I suppose it's okay if kids start teasing Malia/Sasha about their mom's ample backside that they may have overheard others talking about? Again I say too many are ok with this because to some black women don't matter even if they make it to the white house.

But some people will go crazy now that a man has been refered to as a 'house negro' by crazy Muslims. I don't condone this either, but I don't care about it more because it's in reference to a man.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercinco

I will not waste my time reading the piece at Salon, it’s not even worth it. Some people are still trying to find their place in society and coming into their own being. Everyone knows that in America, everything and almost everyone is superficial regardless of what any woman accomplishes.

They may never know who she is as an individual and she and every woman in this country will always be judged by their outward appearance. The level of knowledge or lack there of never comes into play when dealing with ignorant and shallow people.

Mrs. Obama is not Jackie O and nor is she trying to be_ she is Michelle L. Obama, an educated, articulate, non-sufferer of PTSD, victim hood and low self-esteem as others wish she had.

What I find interesting is that our common everyday language, which is full of slights, jabs, insults, opinions and ideas meant to humiliate and dis-empower, have become the norm in all walks of life and will become even more so since this election.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterYvonne C.

Today I read Erin Aubrey Kaplan’s essay. It was through this blog that I had first heard about Erin’s essay. Based the excerpts published on this blog and WAOD’s response to the article, I was confident that WAOD’s criticism of the article was valid. However, after reading the article, I was actually moved by it.

For me, the article speaks to the painful reality that many Black woman face everyday when they have to walk out the door and into a world that judges them to be less beautiful because of physical attributes that have not – (perhaps until to now, which is Erin’s wish) – fit into the world’s standard of beauty. Our hair is different. Our color is different. Our noses are different. Our lips are different. And yes – our posteriors are different.

Kaplan’s essay made me think of my niece who is in her early twenties. She, unlike my sisters and me, has a big posterior. I would tease her – using that same phrase “baby got back!” But until now, I had never considered the possibility that having a shapely back-side would make her any more self-conscious than she is just being a young Black woman trying to make her way in this world. However, I am all to familiar with that self-annihilating game we play each morning as we try our best to “look” assimilated and to not unintentionally offend them.

To those who are displeased with the essay, I urge you to re-read it. But don’t read it through that jaundiced lens colored by the assaults from BET, rap music, R-Kelly, misogyny, and the like. The essay is written in defense of Ms. Obama and to remind the world (and us) that Black is indeed beautiful.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterC. Robinson

OH how n ice. now there's going to be a whole podcast about this...

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermiriam

Moved by it? Moved by black people always talking about a black woman's bum or other body part yet again? Oy gevalt!

All black people look different from each other let alone everybody else on the planet; it will be nice when one day black people finally embrace individualism for a change. Instead of kowtowing to the Great Black Monolith Personality Mould or the Great Black Monolith Body Mould.

'We' though don't have to try to look assimilated or try hard not offend anybody, all we have to do is walk out of our front doors to get from point A to point B and sometimes there are still black people faithfully FAMILIAR as always, saying or doing something offensive when they're referring to you. THAT'S the offense.

Whoever wrote this article is just so used to the slap-dahs, disrespectful 'entitlement' and familiarity between black people and that's why they thought it was OK to write that article about Michelle Obama. They weren't defending her; they just think it's OK to say petty and offensive things about black women because nobody would ever seem to take notice or ever be concerened with a black woman.

And how are people not supposed to notice R. Kelly, misogynistic hip hop, and current BET when people just let them through the gate and never stop them from entering in the first place?

LOL

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterak

Yes, sure, Kaplan's INTENT was to uplift, and to celebrate the milestone of having African beauty in the White House. And I'm very sorry she's been made to feel bad about her bottom. But her execution was sadly lacking. In her attempt at glorifying, she resorted to ugly "Sapphire" and "Jezebel" stereotypes, equating a large backside with "ghetto" (really? Ms Obama is "ghetto" now? It this really all that complimentary, in this day and age?) and talked about her "kicking [Barack Obama's] ass" -- classic stereotype of the black woman being a henpecking, nagging ball and chain on the hapless black man. (Not to mention she felt the need to denigrate women of other races as well, which is just tacky.)

Back in the day, the press was more regularly vicious (check out some of the things said about Mamie Eisenhower, and yes we have seen whole columns dedicated to Hillary Clintons cleavage). But we should at least attempt to move beyond that now, especially when it comes to our own.

I would have loved to see this same topic handled by, say, Toni Morrison. But Kaplan dropped the ball.

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLRC

Erin Kaplan is reflective of many wounded souls in our community the pathology of white racism, supremacy, entitlement, has impacted to many for to long.

Erin has digested this contempt for or humanity by convincing herself with this effort she can secure validation and self worth in the white liberal chatter class.

So now where do we go from here ..I recommend when we encounter this fractured souls in our lives and orbits we reach out and heal the wounded and along the way make sure the Salon's and the chatter class reflect and react before they consider what they do there is a universal law which returns what is sent....

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Thrasher

ak said: Whoever wrote this article is just so used to the slap-dahs, disrespectful ‘entitlement’ and familiarity between black people and that’s why they thought it was OK to write that article about Michelle Obama. They weren’t defending her; they just think it’s OK to say petty and offensive things about black women because nobody would ever seem to take notice or ever be concerened with a black woman.

Thank you.

I just want people who work for the media to ease up - to the power of ten - this pathological notion that we, black women, and black men, solely exist for denigration as entertainment. It needs to rest for a few decades. If they have to be bankrupted for it to happen, so be it.

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGoldenah

Goldenah: I just want people who work for the media to ease up - to the power of ten - this pathological notion that we, black women, and black men, solely exist for denigration as entertainment. It needs to rest for a few decades. If they have to be bankrupted for it to happen, so be it.

I thank you too! What you said above needs to come to fruition like NOW!

Everything about black women and at times black men as well in the public eye is so frivolous, light-hearted and buffoonish to people now that they just take every single black person for granted and end up giving NOBODY a shred of respect so that they can keep their dignity.

And because Michelle is not the President and is a black woman "Oh well it should be safe to say anything about her shouldn't it? Oh we're not REALLY targeting her are we? Oh that's such a harsh word, 'targeting'!"

Deliver me Lord because I am READY!

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterak

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