After writing about Michelle Obama's natural hair yesterday, I prepared myself for a barrage of #fakenews mentions on Twitter, along with other hateful messages from the #MAGA mob. And I was right to do so. But the right wing defenders didn't just stop at my account — they also hit the Facebook comments of the story with screenshots of Melania Trump's new first lady portraits, saying, "This is beauty and class." The implication (if you missed it) was that Michelle is... not.
In fact, if you search "Melania Trump" and "class" on Twitter, you'll see plenty of enthusiasts proclaiming that Melania is "finally" bringing class back to the White House. Since, apparently, it hasn't been there since Nancy Reagan's era. Trump's supporters were "embarrassed" and "ashamed" to be represented by "Moo-chelle, an ape in a dress." After the election, I saw plenty of tweets from people who were excited about having a "hot first lady" in the office.
I've already touched on what Ms. Obama means to me. She's the pinnacle of grace and grit in my eyes, and I want to be just like her when I grow up. I'll deal with the faceless Twitter names for as long as I have to, because I'm not backing down from my stance. And I have a lot of thoughts about the current administration and Trump, too. But I have never found it necessary to compare the looks of my first lady to Melania Trump's. Why does there even have to be a competition?
When it comes to aesthetics, I totally understand that what the first lady wears is important. That's one of the reasons I love Ms. Obama so much. She used her public appearances to give young and international designers some love. And, seeing a Black woman in the White House, with skin as deep as mine, was never lost on me during her eight years there. That representation is something that we direly needed.
Do I think Ms. Obama is gorgeous? You bet, but her beauty isn't just in her physical features. You're dead inside if you didn't shed a tear at this video, where 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin danced at the White House and spoke of the joy she felt seeing a Black president and his Black wife, right there in the flesh. And Ms. Obama's laid hair and groomed brows are probably worth their own slideshow for another day. But those moments are nothing compared to the change she brought to America. (One exception: her natural hair: that's cause for celebration.)
I can't speak on what Melania means to her supporters, or what she represents to the generations. But if you told me, I'd hear you out. Hell, maybe I'd even respect it. I will say this, though: Her being "hot," with her fair skin, long hair, and blue eyes, doesn't make her better (or worse) than Ms. Obama, Ms. Bush, Ms. Reagan, or any of the other first ladies that have walked in her shoes. I don't see how her beauty will help her advance her platform of fighting cyber bullying, or assist in preserving Ms. Obama's prized garden. Comparing the beauty of the first ladies is kind of like spamming my Twitter with your #fakenews hashtags: pointless and ignorant.