We hear Michelle Obama’s name, we instantly imagine her flaunting a new style statement. All eyes stare at her, focusing on what she would be wearing today, what would be power outfits that no one notices the slightest mistakes of the person standing beside her. Barack Obama was overlooked and repeated his outfits, more than we could count. But that doesn’t bother us, doesn’t it? And, don’t forget we judge her immediately if anything goes wrong in the attire. Yes, all of us do! The double standard in men and women’s fashion? The former First Lady candidly agrees!
Noticing the pattern, Michelle Obama, who was present at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California on Tuesday, shared how each time she appeared holding hands with President Husband, her gowns, more than anything, made headlines wherein everyone interestingly forgot to comment on Mr Obama’s repetitive tuxes. She reveals that she wore like hundreds of different gowns during her time in the White House, and Barack donned the same tuxedo and shoes to the dinners over the course of his presidency. Did you notice? I think not!
“Now, people take pictures of the shoes I wear, the bracelets, the necklace. They didn’t comment that for eight years he wore the same tux, same shoes,” the lady echoed.
Guess this is no news for us that women, in general, are a part of this societal disparity where they are expected to dress perfectly, otherwise, fashion police would nab them under impromptu fashion case. But men can go free with wearing same classic black tux over and over. This illustrates the biased rules for Mrs Obama. “This is the unfair thing,” she said to the Apple executive Lisa Jackson at the conference. “You talk about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, no matter what we do, he puts on that same tux,” she added.
“He was proud of it too, he was like, ‘Mmm! I’m ready. I’m ready in 10 minutes, how long did it take you?’,” she recalled.
But the canon aside, Michelle Obama did earn the tag of being the style icon worldwide. That’s something, huh?
Speaking of the disparity between men and women in fashion – this is also true with men and women in the Information Technology sector. At the WWDC, she had one key suggestion for Silicon Valley – to make more room for women in technology.
Technology roles are typically taken up by men, and women only contribute to about 26% of computing jobs in America, according to the National Centre for Women and Information Technology.
In India, almost 30% of engineering students are female. Even though this number is better than women engineers in the US, it still doesn’t show that all 30% women take up engineering or IT roles after graduating from college. Some women choose easier paths after going through engineering college.
Michelle Obama said, “Girls walk away from tech and science. There’s something about how this subject is being taught,” She added, “You guys are smarter than that. You’re better than that, let’s figure it out” hinting at the several gender issues that are prevalent in Silicon Valley.
She also called out to the men in the room and said that they should be ready for more women in their field. She said,
“I look to the fellas in the room and say, ‘Are you ready? Are you really ready to have women at the table? Then make room.’”
Most of the attendees at the conference were Apple developers, however, the front row seats were taken up by female high school students and some of them even got to meet Michelle Obama before the speech. Michelle Obama has been known to talk and advocate women’s and girls’ rights through Barack Obama’s presidency and after.