Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Michelle And The Red Dress
When I watched the news report last week of president-elect Barack Obama and our first lady to be Michelle Obama's recent visit to the White House, I was in awe. It was such a historic moment to watch the future President of the United states and his wife, check out their new digs, 16 blocks from where I live in Washington DC. The first part of the report showed Barack looking quite handsome in a Nike jogging suit, dropping Sasha and Malia off at school. The film then fast forwarded, showing Barack stepping out of his limousine in front of the White House. He then turns of course and puts his hand out to help his wife Michelle, out of the the car. When I saw Michelle with a Crimson Red dress on I nearly screamed!
I thought to myself: "What a freakin' power move?" Michelle wore a red dress to the White House! I knew immediately that Michelle had chosen to wear red as a symbol and a sign that screamed to the world: I will not be taken lightly. I am here and I am to be taken quite seriously.
Red for many centuries has been a color that symbolizes power and it is hard not to notice or focus on the color red, as evidenced by the excessive use of the color in advertising. The color red symbolizes both love and war (we all know that Michelle loves Barack and is a warrior) and has been known to be a sexually provocative color. In the past, red was known as the color that prostitutes and women who were considered sexually "loose" or wanton wore. That is because scientists have found that the color red, when worn by a women, acts as an aphrodisiac on men. In India red is the color worn by the bride (unlike in our culture where the bride traditionally wears white). It is nonetheless a very controversial color, especially when worn by women.
I even remember when I was a little girl overhearing old folks say that dark skinned women should not wear red, because it brought too much attention to their color. Of course this is due to our legacy of slavery where being dark skinned, especially for a woman was considered a burden. Navy blue and other darker colors were considered more suitable for women of darker skin tones.
Well whatever side of red you are on, the side that views red as a color associated with the devil, war and aggression, or the side that sees red as the color of love, sensuality and power, I think as a dark skinned woman, Michelle decided to break all the rules, stood tall ( both she and Barack literally towered over the Bushes) and said to the world; "I will not be the demure and shy type of first first lady... I am putting on my red dress!"
I even noticed as the two couples stopped to take pictures, Laura Bush lift up her arm and compare the color she chose to wear(a brownish tweed) to that of Michelle's. It was quite painful to watch as the Bushes were clearly outshone by Barack's smile and Michelle's red dress!
at 9:42 AM