Stop Making Michelle Obama Your Feminist Leader

Writing at Essence, The Root contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas says that she favors the choices the first lady is making for her life despite the expectations that some are trying to impose on her. 

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First lady Michelle Obama (Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Writing at Essence, The Root contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas says that she favors the choices the first lady is making for her life despite the expectations that some are trying to impose on her.

Shortly after I began penning this column in June 2011, I wrote a somewhat controversial post, "Struggling to Claim the F-Word," in which I distanced myself from being called a 'feminist.' "Do I believe in equality, equal pay, equal rights for everyone, including men? Yes," I wrote. "But to say, 'Yes, I am the F-word!' Just feels ... like a burden I'm not ready to bear."

More than a year later, I'm probably farther away from claiming the title than ever before. Feminism, at its core, is a great and empowering purpose. But a vocal minority among the group are making all feminists look bad. Here's a recent example: a story in the Washington Post last week headlined "Four years later, feminists split by Michelle Obama's 'work' as a First Lady." (The quotations around work, as if it's debatable whether Mrs. Obama does any, are the original publication's and not my own.)

The first half of Lonnae O'Neal Parker's piece considers Mrs. O's "strange but considerable" power in the White House where some feminist women accuse FLOTUS of "letting down the team" by "not working" and scoff at her self-described primary duty of "Mom-in-Chief," a sort of Captain America Mom where no child leaves the table without eating their vegetables. Mrs. O, these feminists lamented, is no Hillary Clinton.

Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire piece at Essence.

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