In today's edition of Outrageous And Unfounded Insults, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has decided to question Michelle Obama's body shape.
MediaBistro reports that Sensenbrenner was overheard talking on the phone, retelling an incident in which he said about Michelle Obama:
"She lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself."
The most bothersome issue here is the conflation of two entirely separate matters: the First Lady's (natural) physique and her campaign for healthy eating and physical fitness.
Michelle has traveled the country for her "Let's Move!" campaign for over a year, talking about healthy eating, promoting a more user-friendly pyramid graphic, getting stores like Walmart to stock their shelves with nutritious items and playing sports with kids.
Although she has been called out for indulging in the occasional hamburger and fries, Michelle Obama has practiced what she preaches: she stays fit (those arms are still toned after all these years) and maintains an enviably healthy body, both inside and out.
Yet some conservative critics don't see it that way. Before Representative Sensenbrenner spoke out, Rush Limbaugh was on the case, disparaging Michelle Obama's body as a way to critique her healthy eating campaign. The radio host said in February:
"The problem is, and dare I say this, it doesn't look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice...I'm trying to say that our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you."
With comments like these, Limbaugh and Sensenbrenner not only blatantly insult the first lady. They also invoke the specious notion that skinny equals healthy, that women with shapely curves can't possibly lead active, mindful lifestyles.
In fact, Michelle Obama and her fabulous physique are an ideal example for women -- and men -- of what an active, balanced, healthy lifestyle looks like. Posterior and all.
Read more about Rep. Sensenbrenner's comments at Mediabistro.com.
UPDATE: Rep. Sensenbrenner's spokesperson has responded to the Daily Mail's report on the subject, saying:
"Mr. Sensenbrenner was referring to the First Lady’s healthy food initiative. He doesn’t think the government should be telling Americans what to eat. While he may not agree with all of her initiatives, he plans to contact the First Lady’s office to apologize for his comments."