Social Question

_zen_'s avatar

Michele Obama's new clothes?

Asked by _zen_ (7854points) May 26th, 2011

Since day one, she has been considered this icon of beauty and fashion, making all kinds of lists.

The latest is in Time magazine, but the lists go on and on. The most beautiful this, the best dressed that.

Am I the only one who thinks she’s just an unattractive, large shlumpy woman – who if not for having the POTUS on her arm, would not get noticed at all?

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104 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

I’ve never thought of her as “large”.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Zen, just because you don’t agree with whether or not someone is attractive doesn’t make this some giant conspiracy perpetrated by the media. It just means different people like different things.

jrpowell's avatar

“Am I the only one who thinks she’s just an unattractive, large shlumpy woman – who if not for having the POTUS on her arm, would not get noticed at all?”

Are you drunk? Do you know how offensive this is?

_zen_'s avatar

@johnpowell I imagine it’s very offensive – to her – if she reads this. To anyone else, it’s just my opinion.

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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

She’s not fat. She’s not overweight. She’s not super-thin, either, but isn’t that kinda a bonus in a day and age when women are told they must be anorexic and photoshoped to Barbie proportions in order to be hot?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Michelle Obama is an attractive woman. She is also the First Lady of the US and therefore gets extra attention. She also happens to be bright and articulate. She is, after all, a Princeton grad and a Harvard educated lawyer. That takes some doing.

I for one am glad that she takes care to dress well. I thought what she wore to the recent state dinner in London was stunning.

What gets my goat is the use of the term POTUS. I woke up one morning, and everyone was using it. I had to ask someone what it meant. I think it’s demeaning. Why can’t we write it out properly the way it’s been done for over 200 years?

jrpowell's avatar

Google Snookie.

_zen_'s avatar

@MyNewtBoobs Take a step back and breath. People who have known me here for years know I am not fattist or anything. I love women of all shapes and sizes. My S/O is far, far from thin – and I find her to be the most beautiful woman in the world. This is about the details of my question – and my further explanation. It’s not a personal thing, it’s not a media conspiracy. It’s about perception, and the syndrome I am relating too. Everyone said the Emporer’s new clothes were beautiful – he probably made those best-dressed lists too – until the little boy pointed out that he was naked.

Edit: Jake et al: I have the utmost love and respect for the USA – which I’ve consistantly shown here. For many reasons I won’t go into. I have seen POTUS numerously, most recently in the best-dressed list on TIME of which I am referring. I have no problem writing out the full term – the First Lady. I am sure she is intelligent and eloquent and lovely – being a Harvard grad and all. This is not about that.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@hawaii_jake Because the term POTUS has been around since at least 1895, according to the OED. You might be just noticing it now, but it’s hardly a new phenomenon with the Obama, or even Bush, presidency.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@zen Then maybe we’re thinking of different stories, because the Emperor’s New Clothes story I remember was full of yes-men so terrified speak the truth that they did, essentially, perpetrate a conspiracy.

bob_'s avatar

Since day one, she has been considered this icon of beauty and fashion, making all kinds of lists.
Those lists are moronic.

Am I the only one who thinks she’s just [...] unattractive [...]
Well, no. Attractiveness is completely subjective.

[...] large [...]
The woman is almost 50, and has given birth to two kids. How do you expect her to look? For her age, she’s in very good shape.

[...] shlumpy woman [...]
(I had to look it up.) Again, (kind of) subjective.

[...] who if not for having the POTUS on her arm, would not get noticed at all?
It’s pretty obvious that she would not. She is famous because she’s the president’s wife. If she weren’t, she’d just be some lawyer from Chicago.

_zen_'s avatar

@bob_ Thank you.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Well, that was an interesting little tempest in a tea cup.

_zen_'s avatar

No-one really agreed with me, though. Maybe it’s just me. It’s oftentimes just me.

ucme's avatar

I think she looks great regardless of her age, but I did spot a pic of her in the paper the other day & well, this outfit looked a little odd.
It’s only fashion though, so hardly a deal breaker.

cazzie's avatar

I think she looks great. I also think that it’s not her job to be attractive, so to denigrate her or any public service person on the basis of her looks is very much out of line and I’m wondering what the hell is @zen ‘s problem, really?

koanhead's avatar

Mrs. Obama is a nice looking person, and she’s famous. I don’t think she’s “hot”, nor indeed anything special in the looks department. From what little I know of her personality and background I’m rather more impressed with her in those ways.
Some people (me for example) are unattractive. Some of us don’t mind it, and don’t mind about being called unattractive. For others, it’s offensive. I bet Mrs. Obama would be offended if someone famous called her “large, unattractive, and schlumpy” on some forum where a lot of people would know or hear about it. I doubt very much she would care very much what @zen or I think.
I have to admit that I don’t understand how you can see her as “large, unattractive and schlumpy” unless you are comparing her to Twiggy or Kate Moss or whomever the junkie-du-jour might be. She ain’t tall, she ain’t fat, and neither her face nor figure are disfigured.
Well, it’s all relative.

_zen_'s avatar

But if she were a regular woman, as bob mentioned, she’d never make any lists. She seems to be on every single top beauty and best dressed list – and I’m amazed at this.

She’s nice, and ok looking for her age – but best dressed and most beautiful??????

Edit: Methinks Cazzie hasn’t read my details, and subsequent posts. It is not about her – it’s about media, and the public’s perception. I would venture that Mrs. Obama probably agrees with me.

koanhead's avatar

With all that said, I must admit that I dearly wish that people could just wear clothes and not make such a huge hairy katamari-damacy of a deal of “fashion”. For crying out lout.

koanhead's avatar

@zen You might be right, but I’ve not seen her on any such list.
This is not surprising as I do not read Time magazine nor such like. Can you perhaps cite or link to some of these lists?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@zen I think she’s quite good looking, as a normal, working woman who’s had 2 kids and isn’t 25. I don’t know that she’s my type, but I can definitely see her being the “hot mom on the block”. The dressing, I’ve seen good and bad. The good is generally when it’s a big event, and while you’d think that’s when everyone looks better, it does take an eye to be able to look at all the various designer dresses and decide that this is a better choice than this or this or this. But I think one of the big reasons she makes the best dressed lists so often is that it kinda blows our minds to think that a non-celeb (model, actress, singer – something in LA or NYC) could look and dress really nicely, and inspire little girls to wear less thongs that poke out of their jeans, and more elegant, classy stuff. It’s a way to get people off their tales. Not to mention that they’re adding in a token black woman who doesn’t look like Beyonce with the bootylicious curves and who has pretty dark skin, instead of the creamy mocha skin that most black women who are allowed to grace the beauty pages have.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@koanhead : Not make a big deal out of clothes? Ack! What’ll we talk about when I play Scrabble?

koanhead's avatar

Ok, so it’s certainly established to my satisfaction that Time, Vanity Fair and Vogue consider her a “fashion icon”, whatever that means (better not try to double-click her!)
IIRC Nancy Reagan was also considered a “fashion icon” in her day (not so much any more)- and I never found her particularly attractive (in fact I’ve always found her intellectually repellent).

_zen_'s avatar

Hey – it’s just an observation of mine. Just keeping it real. Not meaning to offend her personally or anyone else. And I have a feeling that, being intelligent and nice (she comes across as such) and slightly WTF about her newfound fame and position which was thrust upon her (Hey – she grabs the Queen around the waste – He, Obama, bows low to foreign dignitaries) – I think she just might agree.

She might say – in a tell all someday 20 years from now: I am dressed and coiffed, spiffed and buffed by 10 attending top-of-the-line fashinistas – as the FLOTUS. But inside, I’m just my old Chicago, frumpy, shlumpy self – amazed at how I top all kinds of beauty and fashion lists. Good thing no-one ever asked me about my beauty secrets and tips. I’d say – let a professional dress you, photoshop, and the power of suggestion.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@zen What Vogue and the like deem to be “good fashion” is generally a completely different thing that what the general populace thinks. And more photos are taken of Michelle Obama than of Jackie Kennedy, so people can look through all 200 frames of Obama at pretty much every point in her life, whereas with Kennedy, they only got the 1 shot the photographer decided was good. Plus, the times have changed – Mrs. Obama is under pressure to do things other than have tea parties and save nice furniture that Mrs. Kennedy wasn’t.

And really, the thing is, when all these “best-dressed”, “New Jackie O” articles were coming out, fashion was really ugly. I’m not kidding you. I would search so hard to find cute clothes, and come up with nothing (and I really needed some new shirts, all mine were well-worn and ill-fitting). I looked everywhere to find black, mid-calf boots with a 2-inch chunky heel in black leather with a regular toe (none of this pointed elf shit) – something of a basic footwear staple. I literally could not find anything that didn’t have holes, and wrinkles, and ruffles, and buckles, and genie-toes, and generally ugly add-ons anywhere but an adult store that had a pair of black go-go boots. Sadly, this is not an exaggerated story. I remember thinking how on How I Met Your Mother, both actresses got pregnant, so of course they had to hide it – but then it seemed like the entire fashion world followed, trying to mimic what the women were wearing instead of saying “hey, these are special outfits for pregnant women, maybe the women who shop at Target and Dillards aren’t all trying to hide a baby bump from the audience, and would rather not looks so frumpy”. So what many of these articles are saying is “Hey, it’s a woman who didn’t decide that Uggs were, in fact, the hight of fashion” or the complete opposite “Hey, look, she’s keeping up with the times and wearing this ruffly, fringy, asymmetrical shit everyone else is!”

koanhead's avatar

I like cargo pants. And BDU shirts. Plenty pockets! Oh yeah, and crocs.

cazzie's avatar

Here’s the thing. Jennifer Lopez was voted ‘Most Beautiful’, as far as I know. The fashionistias are using Michele Obama as a clothes hanger. They are dressing her and then patting themselves on the back that she looks so good wearing their clothes. She is photographed constantly so what she’s wearing is everywhere she is. They talk about what she’s wearing to sell the designers and the fashion. It’s not really about her. That bothers me too, @zen . I hate all the attention about what she looks like when they should be talking about her work. And if you think Feminism is dead, you’re wrong because it’s this crap we’re always trying to balance out.

Remember all the rubbish about Hilary Clinton and her hair? Her hair got more public attention than her work as First Lady. Stupid.

Plucky's avatar

I don’t think she is large or overweight. From what I can see, her body looks to be in good shape (especially for her age and for bearing two children). I don’t find her facial features all that attractive. As for her clothes…I don’t pay attention; maybe it’s because it’s just not in the media very much in Canada. In fact, this the first time I’ve ever seen anyone discuss her fashion (and looks).

I don’t keep track of the american president and first lady. This is the first time I’ve actually gone and googled photos of her (for this question).

chyna's avatar

I think she’s pretty.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think she is a quite attractive woman. No she isn’t a tiny woman but she looks very fit and healthy and frankly, a better role model for women than someone who diets to keep stick thin. I don’t always like what she wears, but she always tries to look stylish.

I have to say @zen I find the emphasis people pay to the way women in public roles dress. I can’t say I hear “oh that [male] politician doesn’t dress well” or “he is carrying a few too many pounds”. She is an intelligent, articulate woman who obviously aims to look stylish when in public. Can’t that be good enough?

_zen_'s avatar

By this point, we are completely off track. I fear @Bellatrix and others who come along have not read all my subsequent posts and explanations – and are reading things into my question that are not there.

I, for one, am entitled to my opinion – and it’s that Mrs. Obama is not a particularly attractive woman. But that is not my point. My point is how in heck does she make the not only best-dressed lists, but also beautiful women lists? I think it is simply because she is the FLOTUS. That’s all I’m saying.

WasCy's avatar

You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and I won’t gainsay you for it. I don’t agree, though; I think she’s pretty attractive – and without even adding the qualifier ‘for her age’. I also agree with you, though, that except for POTUS, she’d hardly be given even a first glance, media-wise.

I also thought Laura Bush was a good-looking woman (without qualifiers), but she was pretty often slammed informally because she was the wife of ‘that’ POTUS. So it goes.

Bellatrix's avatar

You are entitled to your opinion. So am I. I think she is fairly attractive. I agree, looking at some of the photos posted, her style is at time… off track. I don’t read the sort of magazines that include photos of her.

I stand by the point though, I don’t really care if she reaches best dressed lists or not and I think the constant attention women in public roles receive in terms of how they look is ridiculous. She is an intelligent woman and from what I have seen she is doing work in her own right on issues she considers important. Why should anyone’s focus be on how she dresses. I find it demeaning. I am not accusing you of being demeaning by the way @zen but the constant underscoring of women’s achievements by how well they look/dress/how skinny they are is demeaning.

_zen_'s avatar

@Bellatrix I don’t mind opening up the discussion to include all kinds of things, which perhaps it invites; feminism, sexism, shallowness etcetera.

It’s hard to get away from top 100 lists – beauty, fashion, brains, brawn or whatever. I don’t subscribe to it – and live far away from it – but am aware of it as I like to read – anything.

The initial premise of this question was that I like to think that by now, being human, male, western and middle-aged – I have a (somewhat biased) take on what constitutes “perceived, western” beauty and fashion.

IMVHO, Mrs. Obama would not, if she were not the FLOTUS, make any kind of any list. Thus – I likened the phenomena to the Emporer’s New Clothes.

I don’t wish to detract from her, and I can fully appreciate @chyna and others who think she is pretty. I don’t find her ugly at all. Not pretty, but not ugly. But she is far, far away from what I think should be the top 10 most beautiful women, top 100, or even top 100,000.

marinelife's avatar

@zen It’s just you. Again.

JLeslie's avatar

@zen I am on your side with this, and so are many of my friends.

filmfann's avatar

A little respect for the First Lady

Ya, her ass is as wide as Sally Struthers…

wilma's avatar

I’m with @zen and @JLeslie .
I think she is attractive, but not pretty or beautiful.
I think sometimes her clothes are great, sometimes a “fashion don’t”.
I don’t think anyone would care or pay any attention to her looks or style, if she wasn’t the wife of the president.
I think that the publicity machine and media and press folks have tried (successfully) to hype her up as a beautiful fashion icon.
It doesn’t bother me, I don’t really care one way or the other. I don’t read those kinds of magazines or pay much attention to who’s who in the fashion world.

_zen_'s avatar

Thank you.

Seelix's avatar

She’s a nice-looking woman. Large? No. Shlumpy? No.

Have you ever seen an overweight woman before? Michelle Obama is not overweight. She’s not stick-thin like most Hollywood actresses, but no one can call her “large”.

Keep in mind that no woman looks like a beauty queen with no makeup and regular bum-around-the-house clothes.

JLeslie's avatar

She does have a large backside, sorry. Media obsessing about her arms, well it is one of her better features, that is nice of them. But, they are not extra special that they warrant so much attention. No ones arms warrant the amount of attention hers received. She is not someone you cannot take your eyes off of. The media should have called her an attractive woman, but they go on like she is a raving beauty. She is not Grace Kelly, Halle Barre, Sela Ward or Venessa Williams. Every so often she wears something stunning, like the dress with the Queen, but there have been many fashion don’ts the media made into a do.

I thought Laura Bush was an attractive woman, no one made her out to be a raving beauty, and I am not saying she is, but attractive for sure. To be honest (I wrote that transition just for you zen) I think they missed how incredible her hair is. Almost always nicely styled, and I wish I had hair that thick. Mrs. Bush always dressed well.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seelix I have not seen many photos of Michelle Obama without makeup.

_zen_'s avatar

Thanks @JLeslie – that is what I was thinking – and I like your examples. Vanessa Williams – now she is absolutely stunning. Today as much as 30 years ago. And I remember that penthouse spread from 30 years ago.

Seelix's avatar

@JLeslie – I was referring to some of the photos in one of the links that Zen posted earlier. Yes, some of them are unflattering, but you could catch Venus herself in the wrong moment.

And I can’t help but disagree that she has a “large backside”. Yes, her waist-to-hip ratio is a little larger than what American society has deemed as “ideal”, but that’s a different story – what’s considered “ideal” is a little out there in terms of what real people look like.

_zen_'s avatar

@Seelix As soon as we started disecting her – we lost the point of the idea here. It’s about what @jleslie and wilma and even bob_ who didn’t agree with me wrote: it’s about would she be on all these lists – would we be talking about her so much – if she wasn’t the FLOTUS.

Backside? Hip to waist ratio? Arms?

Do we have to get into so much detail to someone who is on the top 10 list of beauties and fashion? It sort of proves my point.

Seelix's avatar

@zen – Hey, I was just taking exception to your calling her “large”.

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

I have to agree with the fact that Michelle Obama wouldn’t make these lists (silly as they are) if she wasn’t FLOTUS, and as proof I offer up the fact that she was never on them until her husband stepped onto the national stage…...NOT knocking her or her looks, just the fact that the media and the (so-called) fashionistas are kissing up so darn much.

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bob_'s avatar

Why is it that when people don’t agree with something it’s always “oh, it’s just you”?

WasCy's avatar

That’s just you, @bob_ .

Facade's avatar

So basically, you’re way off base here. Mrs. Obama is a very beautiful woman inside and out (as far as I can tell). She is in the public eye the majority of the time, yet still manages to look great when photographed.

What do you look like?

AmWiser's avatar

Since day one the media has put in the minds of the people what should be this and what should be that. What difference does it make what lists the magazine’s generate, they are entitled to their opinions too.
And of course you are not the only person ‘who thinks she’s just an unattractive, large shlumpy woman – who if not for having the POTUS on her arm, would not get noticed at all’.

JLeslie's avatar

@zen I don’t mind that the media seeks to report on what she is wearing, or give her a compliment that seems accurate. I do mind that a photographer or publication would purposely publish a photo to make her look badly. Like that link above of her hair flying above her head. I think no matter what out first lady looks like she deserves respect, because in the end who cares what she looks like. A reasonable amount of attention seems fine. She is famous, so of course she is watched.

JLeslie's avatar

I wanted to add I do not think it is appropriate for the first lady to be on dos and don’ts lists. Straight reporting on what she is wearing, if the fashion people love it or the media they can use adjectives, stunning gown, beautiful suit, and when it looks bad say nothing but describe it, a red knee length dress by Joe Smith. the public can decide if they want to copy her.

Nullo's avatar

It’s media gabbling, probably to play up her image to better match Barry’s relative celebrity. They’ll do that sort of thing, if they like you. And they’re fickle.
I personally find Mrs. Obama unattractive, and I suppose that I have the fashion appreciation of a boiled newt.

Judi's avatar

Beauty is more than superficial. She is a fairly attractive woman with a beautiful, elegant attitude and heart. If she were mean and nasty, used fowl language or bad mouthed people she would be seen in a different light. It is her physical fitness in addition to her grace, intellect, compassion, and demeanor that make her beautiful. Kudos to the people who put her on the list that look at more than the fashion model template to describe beauty.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie I call bullshit on your last comments. She’s not there to ‘look beautiful’. She is there to do a job that should be a little more important that the ‘looks good’ clubs. If that much stress is put on how she looks and what she’s wearing I call ‘Shallow bloody values’ on American reporting and culture vultures.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie I agree, it shouldn’t matter at all, but we do comment on what people wear, we do notice when someone looks amazing. Young women want to dress like the women they admire, it helps American designers and other designers, American business, and retail. I think there is a part of the public who wants to know what she is wearing. I just don’t want it reduced to the first lady being lumped in with what some 25 year old actress or rockstar is wearing.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Well, it looks like I’m in the minority again… I don’t find her that attractive. One could say that she’s a “handsome” woman, but that’s as far as I’d go with it. And I can’t stand her clothes; she looks frumpy.

tinyfaery's avatar

Good job. Objectifying Mrs. Obama will completely negate her intelligence and power. Now that Newt Gingrich, what a looker.~

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Oh yeah, Newt’s a hottie, all right. :P

_zen_'s avatar

@Facade You once again missed the point. There’s a lot to read up – and I bet you didn’t bother – nor do you care. But if you think you have contributed something to the idea of this question, you’re mistaken. Nor does it have to do with how she actually looks – and certainly not how I look. For the record – there are a few who have seen me and I probably look better as a man than she does as a woman – again – this is subjective and besides the point anyway. I think that I would make the list sooner than she would, if she weren’t the FLOTUS. That, is the point.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie I take back my bullshit comment…. perhaps we are on the same page, but I do resent the shallowness of the comments and crap behind it with the commercialisation and selling and marketing.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie If not the same then at least very close :).

wilma's avatar

If I’m not mistaken I believe that @zen and I also “resent the shallowness of the comments and crap behind it with the commercialization and selling and marketing.”
The publicity machine drives a lot of things that I don’‘t care for.

cazzie's avatar

Amen, Brother….. and Sister…..

Plucky's avatar

@zen I agree with you about her fame being the only reason people are talking about and noticing everything about her. If she wasn’t the president’s wife ..she wouldn’t get a second glance in the real world.

@WillWorkForChocolate…I agree, I think “handsome” is the perfect word for her.

As for personality ..I don’t know her or follow what she does, so I have no idea (I believe personality can make a regular person into a completely gorgeous person). But that’s not the point. @zen‘s question had nothing to do with Michelle Obama’s personality or intellect. At least, I didn’t read it that way – correct me if I’m misinterpreting.

And, yeah, Vanessa Williams is as stunning as ever :)
And I don’t know why @zen ‘s name isn’t turning orange :P

_zen_'s avatar

@PluckyDog Thank you for summing it up nicely. I had hoped I could ask this without ruffling too many feathers – but it is a controversial subject which usually gets people a but riled up.

I, too, think Mrs. Obama is a handsome woman. That is probably a great way to describe a woman of her age, size, stature demeanour and, well, looks. But handsome is a far cry from being on every single vogue, vanity fair and cosmo list of most beautiful and best-dressed.

My question was, in essence, why? Why are they doing this – and what does it say about us?

I wish I could ask this without referring to her specifically, so as not to offend her – or those like @facade who (for some reason) took it personally. But alas, how could I?

Unless ths thread goes into something of substance around the issue of media, perception, feminism, etcetera – I feel I’ve said perhaps way more than enough about it.

As to why my new username doesn’t become a link – it’s a mystery. ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

@zen, It seems the underscore just works for italics?

I think there is a big push in America for us not to define beautiful as being the blond California girl. That beauty comes in many shapes and sizes. Similar to when @Seelix took issue with me saying Mrs. Obama has a large “hip to waist ratio.” That we here in America are too ethnocentric even when it comes to body type and beauty. I have arguments with black people where I live, theu say white America is dictating how people should look, and black women have to use harsh chemicals on their hair, and wear what white America says they should blah blah blah. Also, we women should be embracing and supporting women and things like weight, clothing, hair style, and others should not be criticized, especially since it does not happen much with men.

I think the left tried to get out in front as much as possible to shut down negative criticism of Michelle. That if there was going to be talk on these trivial topics, it would be dominated by positive messages. The real thing that sparked it I think, was Michelle wore a dress which did not cover her arms, and she received a lot of criticism, people retorted back with she has great arms she should be able to show them, and we love her style, etc.

Although, at Obama’s acceptance speech the dress his wife wore was awful. Some black and red number. Lol. That was before the sleeveless incident.

JLeslie's avatar

And, also, Hillary’s taste was not great when they first arrived in the white house. She had been in Arkansas too long maybe (sorry for that, I don’t mean to offend anyone. My fashion sense weans as I live away from more fashion oriented cities and I worked for Calvin Klein, Bloomingdale’s and others back in the day). The big deal I think about Michelle compared to Hillary is she is black. So many crazy racists comparing Obama to a monkey, and other racist comments, I think there are people out there who very badly want race to not be an issue, so a skinny white button-nosed ideal is railed against loudly.

Goodness knows I don’t have a button nose, and I am white. And I have a flattish eastern European butt, which is out of favor as much as the butt that is too big. Can’t win

Plucky's avatar

@zen I really don’t understand why it’s a controversial subject.

_zen_'s avatar

Read up – apparently it is.

Plucky's avatar

@zen I have been…lol. But I just don’t get why it is.

_zen_'s avatar

I think it’s a combination of things, if you read what people said plus who they are. I don’t know anyone here personally (well, a couple – but not in this thread) but I’ve read their musings for a couple of years – I think I know why each reacted the way they did. I think they do too. I think if they had taken the time to read what I wrote, how I asked it, and further explained myself – they wouldn’t have reacted quite the same way. I am always amazed at how people are personally offended by someone’s opinion or observation, and about a third party – a public figure – or in this case – media and the general population’s perception of beauty. You would think I said to someone specifically , hey – you are ugly.

JLeslie's avatar

@zen Well, you did say large and shlumpy. Lol.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’d just like to point something out- the word “large” does NOT always mean “fat”. My very best friend (we’ll call her Jane) is “large”, and by that, I mean to say she is tall and has very big bones. I don’t say “big boned” to mean fat either. Jane’s not fat at all (unless you want to nitpick the leftover pregnancy weight), she seriously has big bones.

Jane is 6’ tall and has really big bones. It runs in her family. I’m very short and have tiny bones. My dad always called us Mutt and Jeff because we look so weird together, it’s funny. Jane is “large” and I am “small”.

By the same token, you can call Michelle Obama “large” because she’s fairly tall and she does have big bones. And she’s got “man hands”. She’s not some petite miss, she’s a large, handsome woman.

The OP didn’t say the president’s wife was a fatass, he said she’s large. Arnold Schwarzenegger is large, but he’s not a fatass either. Don’t take such offense over it.

_zen_'s avatar

@JLeslie You would think that I had said that to someone here, I meant. Why would someone care what I think of someone else? I happen to think she is large, and shlumpy. Seems a few other jellies here agree. But regardless, even if someone thinks she’s the cat’s meow – why would they be offended about what I think about her?

JLeslie's avatar

@zen Now I better understand your point, and it is a very good point. I guess maybe they identify with her? Not necessarily a specific feature, could be just having been picked apart by someone in their past causing them to feel insecure, or attacked unjustly? Or, simply wanting to defend women.

I know where I am kind of less than “ideal” in my features, or when I am shlumpy. I own it, I know it, I don’t expect to meet the crazy ideals. When I was younger some of the parts of me that I am not so fond of, sometimes got positive attention?! You just never know, but either way the feature is what it is. I don’t care if it is pointed out to me, I point it out myself. But, I don’t want it plastered across a magazine. And, maybe some don’t even want it said out loud on fluther, or gossipped about between friends? I don’t think anyone should always have to be full make-up and well coordinated outfit. Oprah owns it, she goes out with no make-up and sweatpants, and magazines jump on it, her reply is “that is how I look with no make-up.” I guess the problem is when someone is trying to look good, think they look good, and it falls flat?

JLeslie's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I think large in this context had a negative tone. The word was squeezed between unnnattractive and shlumpy.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@JLeslie Not really- it all depends on the value we as individuals place on certain words. My best friend is an “attractive, large, harried mom”. She IS large. She looks like a linebacker compared to me.

It also depends on whether you take offense at @zen‘s opinion or not. I don’t think Mrs. Obama is unattractive, but I don’t think she’s all that pretty either. And to me, she DOES look “schlumpy”. Because I don’t take offense at @zen‘s opinion, I don’t feel anything negative about the word “large”. My mind didn’t see “large” and automatically say, “Oh, zen thinks the first lady is a fatass.”

As to the all the comments on the thread that blasted @zen, I think all the people who LIKE the Obamas are sick of seeing them criticized, and so they’ll take offense at ANYTHING that’s not complimentary, no matter how trivial. And it’s all because the Obamas are in the spotlight. If they were just normal people and someone said “Oh she dresses frumpy”, no one would give a shit.

JLeslie's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I do not think zen thought she is a fatass, that did not come to my mind at all when I first read it. I think he finds thin or petite possibly more attractive, simply she is not the ideal pretty to some people. He will have to let us know.

_zen_'s avatar

My s/o is shaped much like her. I do not prescribe to the usual western notions of beauty – blonde, blue-eyed huge breasted slim waist – california girl. It also has nothing to do with my point.

I think, if she were not the FLOTUS, I wouldn’t look twice at her on a bus or subway. If she were in some kind of dove commercial (you know, regular women) I’d think there goes a large, handsomish woman – maybe, if that. Actually, I wouldn’t even notice her, or look twice. She’s simply not attractive. But again – the whole premise is about the Emporer’s New Clothes.

Perhaps we can think of others who might fit this concept – other celebrities that, if not for their fame, would never be considered most beautiful, sexy or well-dressed.

Men that I think of who are not conventionally handsome but htough of as oh so sexy, and you may disagree with me here: Liam Neeson, Clive Owen, Owen Wilson to name a few off the top of my head. I think if they were not famous – no way they’d make any kind of list.

Plucky's avatar

I’m thinking by “large”, @zen did not mean fat. There are many large women who are not fat or overweight.

But, yeah, there are plenty of celebrities that wouldn’t get a second look if they weren’t famous (IMHO of course):
Owen Wilson
Gary Shandling
Paris Hilton
Donald Trump
Mike Myers
Sandra Bernhard
Tim Curry
Justin Bieber
Mick Jagger
Will Ferrell
Sarah Palin
Robin McGraw
Clive Owen
Jack Black
Carrot Top
Rosie O’Donnell
Jocelyn Wildenstein
Lady Gaga (I think she changed her face though)
etc….
Feel free to add to the list.

—I am not saying all the people above are hideous or ugly ..just that they are nothing special, physically, in my opinion (especially without make-up or being air brushed).

Response moderated (Spam)
JLeslie's avatar

@PluckyDog I don’t think half your list is on best dressed lists or said to be very good looking by the media.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

There are a TON of celebrities who have been on “this year’s sexiest” or “this year’s hottest” lists, that actually look like shit without their makeup and designer duds. Just regular Joe and Julie Schmoes who no one would think twice about, were they not in the limelight.

JLeslie's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate We are not talking about without make-up. Michelle Obama has on make-up and designer duds in photos.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

OKAY! She’s just not pretty and her clothes suck, no matter how much makeup she wears and how famous the designer of her clothing. The only reason anybody cares about her and her fashion (or lack thereof) is because she’s famous! That’s all I’m trying to say! I have no idea why a simple opinion turned into such an argument! I give up.

JLeslie's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Whoa…I agree that there are many people who are regular old Joe and Jane without the makeup, coiffe, and duds, it just was not what zen was talking about.

Plucky's avatar

@JLeslie I wasn’t really thinking best dressed lists. Just the fact that people seem to care about what they do at every turn ..at some point in their fame any ways.

cazzie's avatar

perhaps if people stop buying those dumb magazines so that the photos weren’t so valuable, so the people taking the photos would do something useful with their lives and the people who used to read the dumb magazines would read a proper book and learn something…

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

I think that maybe people here have wandered away from the actual question, Possibly @zen should have asked why Michelle Obama is on these (silly) lists now but she wasn’t even noticed five years ago. Ergo, being FLOTUS is the main reason she is on the lists.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Now that I 100% agree with. I had no idea Michelle Obama was being followed so much, and in these magazines. I had heard the bare arm issue on the TV show The View. Also, some comments from journalists, showing photo ops of Mrs. Obama with her husband, with the soldiers, making a speech, and they do tend to comment how great looking she is. The only conversation I have had with friends, rather gossipy, is one I would have to talk about anyone in the public eye. Her/his hair looks terrible today, her dress is stunning, she lost a lot of weight. I notice, but it means nothing. I don’t care what anyone else has to say about the person, its just me babbling. I could care less if there was never a best dressed list ever published again, I think that is a good idea. But, I guess it is maybe all harmless in the end.

_zen_'s avatar

@Tuesdays_Child That’s what I asked.

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

@zen you are correct, I guess, instead, that maybe everyone should just read the question and the prior responses!
;~)

syz's avatar

Compare this to this
I think she’s lovely, and far from schlumpy.

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