White feminists who acknowledge Obama’s blackness, and the stereotypes attached to it, believe her “momification” is a shrewdly calculated answer to attacks on her as “Stokely Carmichael in a dress.” In her article, Malone endorses a similar analysis by Rebecca Traister in Salon. It is as if, even these smart women cannot believe that, alongside strong, black womanhood, Michelle Obama might have a nurturing, maternal side that is not politically manufactured but a part of who she is.
Black women in the public eye, including Michelle Obama, may not see the need to distance themselves from traditional roles, as Hillary Clinton once did, famously saying, “I am not some Tammy Wynette standing by my man.” and “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.” Cooking-baking, devoted wife and mother has never been a stereotype about us.
Low-income and working-class women, black women, and other women of color don’t see their mothering experiences and concerns reflected in the mommy media machine, and we get the cultural message loud and clear: Affluent white women are the only mothers who really matter. Further, media overexposure of these women bolsters the perception of them as self-absorbed brewers of tempests in teapots.
Philyaw writes that historically, black women have rarely had the privilege to choose motherhood over career. Black women have always worked outside of the home–have almost always had to–even when society forbade “good” white women from leaving their pedestals. We have ploughed the fields and raised other folks babies, as well as our own. And as for many black women of my generation–women whose parents kicked down a host of racial barriers during the Civil Rights era and worked tirelessly to provide opportunity for their children–many of us were raised to do our family (and our race) proud through scholastic and professional achievement more than marriage and children. (I am glad of that, by the way.)
Read the article here.
More reason Jessica Valenti needs to stop writing articles like this one that dismisses the article above and the voices of other WOC. - I’m Not a Mother First
Michelle Obama and the Myths of Black Motherhood - By criticizing Michelle Obama’s “mom-in-chief” remarks, Jessica Valenti and other white feminists showed that they are more than willing to erase a black woman’s experience to fit their narrative.