Michelle Obama hosted a “United State of Women” summit Tuesday at the White House. The schedule featured an interview with the First Lady conducted by Oprah Winfrey.
At one point, Winfrey asked Obama if she had any advice for men. “What can men do, leaving here?” the former talk show host asked.
Obama’s response was pretty telling.
“Be better,” the First Lady replied. As Winfrey screeched (literally) with laughter and the attendees of the women’s summit reacted with rousing cheers and applause, Obama reiterated, “Be better at everything.” And, the audience, along with Oprah shriek, howl and cheer some more.
This is very telling. There are so many angles for analysis; only a few will be considered here. Let us start.
I. This is a complaint about men sloughing off. And why shouldn’t they? There really isn’t any real incentive to work hard any more. If men are to work hard, modern men realize that works best when it is to be for their direct benefit. More specifically, the complaint is about men not bettering themselves in ways that women want. One word seems to escape them: incentives.
II. This is a complaint about men not keeping up. With modern empowered women climbing the affirmative action university and corporate ladder, men are just not where she needs them to be. But then again, she probably is not all that she thinks that she is.
III. It is a complaint about unfulfilled hypergamy. Being a SIW means that she can let her hypergamic impulse run wild if she so desires. And they do. So where is the man with more money, more status and a dominating personality? And if there were such men, why would they bother with these SIW women?
IV. Women enjoy being victims. This is truly empowering. That is why the audience, along with Oprah shriek, howl and cheer some more. The implication is that they are victims of men being poor men. Perhaps some introspection by the women is called for here. Though it does appear that howling is sufficient to suppress any of this that might come bubbling up. Perhaps that is why they do it.
V. “United State of Women” summit. So the women are united for their cause. The shrieking and howling show and reinforce their commitment to the cause of women. Would there be shrieking and howling if the host made statements related to the betterment of humanity as a whole?