In one of her feuds with the Bella twins, WWE superstar AJ Lee said something that rings true for the likes of ex-First Ladies who want to build off their husbands’ careers. Standing at the entrance with a championship belt over her left shoulder, AJ Lee said ‘talent is not sexually transmitted‘.
It was a real zinger as one of the Bella twins was sleeping with Daniel Bryan and the other one with John Cena.
AJ Lee, unlike the Bella twins, built her career off hard work while Bella twins ‘sucked‘ up to people in high places.
So people like AJ Lee who have no connections must work twice as hard as those who rouse media fascination due to their associations with someone important.
This is the case with most First Ladies. To be fair, Hillary Clinton did have a political career before Bill Clinton became President. But during her unsuccessful Presidential bid in 2016, she would have liked everyone to forget what she had done prior to becoming the First Lady.
She supported Barry Goldwater who vowed to repeal the civil rights act and re-segregate America. Apparently, she finally saw the light and became a Democrat at Yale. But then there is that time when she called African Americans ‘superpredators‘ in 1994 to rouse racists in the same way she would later accuse Donald Trump of doing.
As a Senator from New York, she said that marriage was between a man and a woman until she saw the light again and so on.
The point here is that Hillary Clinton was allowed the leeway that a self-made woman would not. Her lies, offensive statements, and corruption were ignored because the American media is fascinated with the First Ladies.
But the media realized that Hillary was unlike other First Ladies, she wanted to run for the office. It was only a matter of when. But rather than give her critical coverage as a Presidential hopeful ought to receive, the media made Hillary a darling.
Even after Bill Clinton’s exit from the Oval Office, Hillary remained a popular figure. In part because she remained politically active and in part because her successor Laura Bush was a murderer. It’s a little difficult to make a murderer seem charming unless he is President of the United States.
During that period until 2018, Hillary Clinton remained the ‘most admired woman in America‘. Two years after losing the election to the worst candidate in America history, Hillary lost the prestigious title to Michelle Obama.
But what exactly makes Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama the most admired women in America?
What have they achieved that makes them worthy of the title? Their husbands were accomplished men, war criminals but accomplished nevertheless.
In the wise words of AJ Lee, talent is not sexually transmitted so just because you happen to be sleeping with the President of the United States shouldn’t make you the most admired woman.
In Hillary’s case, you could argue that even though she leveraged her husband’s credentials to become a Senator and then the Secretary of State, she did break glass ceilings.
But Michelle Obama? What has she done besides making cringe videos, growing vegetables and ‘raising two wonderful daughters‘?
There are single moms out there raising kids on their own. You only need to go to your nearest Walmart to find women working 50-60 hour weeks to make ends meet and send their kids to college.
I’m not being sentimental and subjective here about the hardships women face. My argument is objective and thus boring while the media’s excuse to present Michelle Obama as a reincarnation of Rosa Parka is subjective and thus exciting.
It’s as if there’s affirmative action for First Ladies. The media set them a low bar. If you haven’t murdered your ex-boyfriend and your daughters don’t appear in rap videos twerking on a Ferrari, you are an ‘accomplished woman‘.
We saw this also with the condescending coverage of President Obama. There was an inhibition in the neo-liberal circles when critiquing him. They were willing to cut him some slack on the basis of his skin color. The prevailing underlying assumption it seemed was that this is the best a black President could do.
I say black President because of his skin color. In terms of his ideology, mindset, and biases, he was white, a sellout.
So when First Ladies get this condescending media coverage, it is more offensive with greater sexist undertones than a Fox News segment. Just as real racism is subtle as in the affirmative action, real sexism is also subtle.
Oh just in case you’re reading this AJ, call me maybe?