• Jewel Samed/AFP/Getty

    Happy Birthday

    Don't Ask Michelle About Botox

    The first lady's profile in "People" magazine harps on self image despite her achievements

    Despite Michelle Obama's campaign against child obesity and admirable example as wife and mother, it seems the only thing worth mentioning as her 50th birthday approaches is her body. A profile of the first lady in People Magazine, set to hit newsstands Friday, leads with questions on her potential Botox use and if she has "peaked" at 50. The article is just the latest in a long line of coverage obsessing over a woman’s age rather than her accomplishments. Thankfully, Mrs. Obama continues to focus on her work in the White House and raising her daughters right. Waving off worries about her wrinkles, she replies that “women should have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to feel good about themselves."

    Read it at Think Progress
  • MAHMOUD KHALED/AFP/Getty Images

    SAY AGAIN?

    Quotes Roundup: Turmoil in Tahrir

    Sexual assaults and abortion legislation captured the world's attention.

    It took social media to save lives in Egypt. As the country was swept up by the huge protests in Tahrir Square that eventually forced the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, sexual violence seemed to run rampant. The organizations Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment (@OpAntiSH) and Tahrir Bodyguard (@tahrirbodyguard) mobilized volunteers via Twitter. They spread the news about areas where rapes were occurring, set up hotlines, and even asked members to spam people’s phone numbers when they tried to clog those hotlines. So far, @OpAntiSH reported of 180 known sexual assaults during the protests, according to Daily News Egypt, with more than 44 on June 30 alone.

    Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, is pretty upset at North Carolina legislators. On the heels of the fight against abortion legislation that made Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis a superstar among abortion supporters, North Carolina added its own abortion restrictions to a state bill. Just like Texas, it could shut down many abortion clinics. The kicker? It’s part of a proposed anti-Sharia law.

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  • MOTHERLAND

    First Ladies Unite

    Bush Institute summit in Tanzania includes Michelle Obama, Laura Bush.

    Women in positions of power, including first ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, joined forces in a summit to focus on improving life in Africa.

    Hosted by the George W. Bush Institute, the African First Ladies Summit on "Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa” addressed health, economic empowerment, and education for women Tuesday morning in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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  • Jacquelyn Martin/AP

    FLOTUS KNOWSUS

    First Lady Visits Girls in Senegal

    Michelle Obama told the young girls they were “role models.”

    Students from an all-girls high school in Dakar, Senegal, welcomed first lady Michelle Obama Thursday morning. Mrs. Obama joined Senegal’s first lady, Marieme Sall, and the two watched a choir of girls and dancers perform to traditional drum music. Obama said education is critical to the success of a country, and the girls served as role models for others around the world. In Senegal, USA Today reports, many girls are forced to drop out of school to care for siblings or because of expensive schooling fees. President Obama, the first lady, and their children are visiting Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. In other news, Michelle Obama got an Instagram—saving the world one sepia tone at a time. 

    Read it at USA Today
  • Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, New York City, June 25, 2013. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

    Sit-Down

    Carla Bruni's Next Chapter

    The former first lady of France opens up about her new album, ‘Little French Songs,’ and much more.

    Carla Bruni’s transition back to civilian life seems to be going smoothly.

    Upon entering the penthouse suite of a posh hotel in midtown Manhattan, I’m greeted by a waft of cigarette smoke and gales of laughter. Bruni, sporting denim jeans and a shirt with rolled-up sleeves, is chatting and puffing up a storm with her pal (the topic, they later tell me, was the intense smoking habits of Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey). The view is marvelous, providing a panoramic vista of Central Park.

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  • President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk on the tarmac to board Air Force One at Dallas Love Field, Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Dallas. (LM Otero/AP)

    Mobama Freed

    First Lady Swagger

    Michelle Obama, ambivalent and buttoned up in her first term, is finally free, says Michelle Cottle.

    “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

    OK. Maybe those were not Michelle Obama’s exact words to the LGBT activist who disrupted her speech at a private DNC fundraiser last Tuesday. If, indeed, one insists on being a stickler about it, Mobama’s response was more along the lines of, “One of the things that I don’t do well is this!”

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  • Michelle Obama speaks to a crowd in May. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

    Tired clichés

    Angry Black Women, Michelle, and Me

    Time for another flurry of accusations that the first lady is an angry black woman. Sophia Nelson on why she should ignore the haters and continue to speak her mind.

    “Mrs. Obama is black, she is a woman, and if she doesn't get angry on occasion, she is not human. She is human. End of story.”

    —George F. Will, This Week, ABC, January 15, 2012 (in response to Michelle Obama saying she is not some “angry black woman” on CBS This Morning, January 11, 2012)

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  • Jacquelyn Martin/AP

    EVERY DAY I’M HECKLIN’

    Michelle Obama Confronts Heckler

    Also threatens to leave fundraiser.

    President Obama reacted pretty coolly when confronted by a protester two weeks ago—but then again, maybe he has more practice with hecklers. Michelle Obama, on the other hand, threatened to leave a fundraiser Tuesday night after she was confronted by a heckler—and “came right into [the protester’s] face.” “One of the things I don’t do well is this,” Obama said, according to the transcript. According to the pool report, Obama “left the lectern and went up to the protester” and said “listen to me or take the mike, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.” The protester, Ellen Sturtz, a lesbian activist, was then escorted out of the room. Sturtz said she was “taken aback” by Obama’s response.

    Read it at The Washington Post
  • Cliff Owen/AP

    Gun Show

    Who Wants Michelle’s Arms?

    A new study seems to link a huge increase in upper-arm surgery to Michelle Obama. Erin Cunningham says it’s not so simple.

    While the first lady may be credited for the emergence of designers like Thom Browne and Jason Wu, and even for the recent popularity of bangs, the increase of upper-arm liposuction may not have much to do with her.

    On Monday, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported a 4,473 percent increase in brachioplasties, or upper-arm lifts, since 2000. And as a result of its recent online poll, the ASPS also reported that the most desired upper arms by women belong to Michelle Obama.

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  • John Moore/Getty

    Best Friends (For a While)

    Does Michelle O Need New Pals?

    The first lady has shown ‘B’ a lot of love. But, writes Allison Samuels, the star doesn’t make it easy.

    In a perfect world our first lady would be free to choose her own friends and to define the perfect role models for herself and children, with no one daring to challenge her choices. But it isn’t a perfect world for Michelle Obama, and so her choice of Beyoncé as a friend for herself and a role model for her daughters—and, thus, for young girls around the world--hasn’t been universally applauded.

    Unfortunately Beyoncé isn’t exactly helping matters. When Mrs. Carter belted out the classic  “At Last’’ for the first couple at an inaugural ball in 2008, it was clear a strong alliance was on the horizon. The first lady and the popular singing superstar soon formed an unlikely bond that continued to grow through work with the first lady’s fitness program “Let’s Move.’’ The press regularly noted the two trading adoring sentiments, with first lady even taking her daughters to see her friend perform on a few occasions.

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  • From left: First Lady Michelle Obama and Rapper Tyga. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty; Arthur Mola/Invision, via AP)

    Bad Rap

    Should Mrs. O Take On Tyga?

    As Harvard prepares for Tyga’s show, should the first lady join the in protest? Allison Samuels reports.

    In recent weeks corrections officer turned rapper Rick Ross has faced a nonstop backlash over his lyrics on the song “U.O.E.N.O,” which appear to gleefully glorify the joys of date rape. Then fellow rapper Tyga, who had defended Ross publicly, got a taste of it too, facing a firestorm as he prepares to perform this weekend at Harvard’s spring concert, Yardfest 2013. More than 2,000 students and Harvard employees signed an online petition protesting Tyga’s appearance, citing overt sexual content in his songs as well as his negative view toward women.

    The renewed focus on hip-hop’s war with women has led some to suggest that first lady Michelle Obama, as one of the most popular and respected women on the planet, might consider stepping up to the mike and taking these misguided young men to task.

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  • Scott Olson / Getty Images

    Gun Debate

    Michelle Obama: I Was Hadiya Pendleton

    First Lady gives emotional speech in her hometown of Chicago, where 15-year-old Pendleton was gunned down in January.

    The first lady gave an emotional speech in her hometown of Chicago on Wednesday, touching on gun control and the death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was gunned down in January at a park not far from the Obamas' Chicago home. "Right now, my husband is fighting as hard as he can and engaging as many people as he can to pass common-sense reforms to protect our children from gun violence," she said. Obama also talked about her experience growing up on Chicago's South Side where she was like Pendleton and other young people, except that she had certain advantages, such as adults who pushed her, good schools, and a safe neighborhood. "In the end, that was the difference between growing up and becoming a lawyer, a mother and first lady of the United States, and being shot dead at the age of 15," she said.

    Read it at NPR
  • Dennis Redman / AP Photo

    Political Accessories

    The Language of Thatcher’s Handbags

    Robin Givhan on Margaret Thatcher, handbags, and power.

    It is not surprising that a handbag should figure so prominently in the film chronicling Margaret Thatcher’s legacy–a sprawling tale brought to the big screen by Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. This personal carry-all has long been both functional and symbolic. Depending on its style and brand, it can be a statement of status or a pronouncement of folksiness. Hand it off to a hen-pecked husband or a put-upon assistant and it can demean or belittle. A purse can impress and intimidate, bewilder, berate, or amuse.

    During Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, her handbags came to signify femininity and toughness. Their style was unassuming: slender, structured, solid, and ladylike. They looked perfectly at home with Thatcher’s dignified suits and oh-so-British hats.

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