Last night, Michelle Obama was the honored guest of the annual ESPY awards. Naturally, the media collective was head over heels with praise and admiration.
At the Sacramento Bee, Brian Blomster had what can only be described as a literary orgasm. Obama, he said, "wowed attendees" with a "black Cushnie et Ochs dress that was all curves and slashes." According to Blomster's reporting, Obama "gave the evening a markedly high-fashion feel."
In tune, USA Today remarked, "Civilian life looks good on Michelle Obama. If Barack Obama is America's ex-boyfriend, the former first lady is this country's one that got away." (Incidentally, I find it quite odd that some Americans sexualize our politicians. Obama is the "ex-boyfriend" and for some Trump fans, the president is "daddy." Anyway. ...)
At the Huffington Post, Ron Dicker doubled down, declaring, Michelle Obama "is still in charge." Dicker continued, "The former fab FLOTUS also got props for slaying in a cutout dress by Cushnie et Ochs."
"Props" for "slaying" aside, this is a new tune from the Huffington crew. Just a month ago, the Huffington Post attacked the current first lady, Melania Trump, and first daughter, Ivanka, for wearing designer clothes. It disdainfully compared the price of one of Melania Trump's dresses to "the median American family income."
But that was June, and now we're in July. And, of course, Cushnie et Ochs dresses are very cheap.
Don't get me wrong. My gripe here is not that Obama is receiving praise. On the contrary, I believe Obama was an impressive and successful first lady. I met Obama in 2004 and enjoyed talking with her.
But most media reporting of the first lady is totally hypocritical. After all, where Obama is adorned with praise for her fashion and actions, the current first lady is derided for just the same.
Indeed, derision might be too weak a word. Because where Obama is portrayed as a talented, courageous, and beautiful woman, Trump is represented as a high-class prostitute. Except for when she rebukes her husband, the media judges Trump with perpetual harshness. Her beauty is held against her. Her accent is derided as proof she is stupid. This distinction in reporting is pathetic.
Consider, for example, that in the past 24 hours while Michelle was at the ESPYs, Melania visited a children's hospital in Paris, France. And the video of that visit speaks to something. Namely, that in her limited time as first lady, Melania has been dignified and compassionate. She has represented our country well, irrespective of your feelings about her husband.
If nothing else, this conduct entitles Trump to the same media treatment afforded Obama. But don't count on it.
As Emily Jashinsky noted Thursday, the media is utterly hypocritical in its analysis of women in politics and feminism more generally. Sometimes, it's what a woman wears; sometimes, it's what a woman does. But at the crunch, it's what a woman believes.
And for much of the media today, being a conservative woman or a woman married to conservative is a sin to be punished. Thus follows the reporting.