It’s amazing how Americans get riled up over people trying to do things to actually help kids — and our health care system. Michelle Obama has been under somewhat consistent scrutiny for her “Let’s Move” campaign, targeted at tackling childhood obesity, but one Alabama High School football coach’s unnecessary verbal rants regarding her efforts have landed him a spot right inside of his home watching the days go by instead of on the field.
Apparently while discussing the FLOTUS’s goal of providing school kids with low-calorie lunches, Lauderdale County High School head football coach Bob Grisham referred to Mrs. Obama as “fat butt Michelle” and went on to add, “Look at her. She looks like she weighs 185 or 190. She’s overweight. I’m serious. Y’all, our country is, is, is going in the wrong direction.”
According to Philly.com, the rant was caught on tape by a student and school administrators responded by putting Grisham on a 10-day suspension. With news also coming out that he openly called homosexuals “qu**r,” it’s hard to say how much of this reprimand has to do with the First Lady versus the expression of anti-gay sentiments, but it’s good to see discipline has been the swift response. When questioned about his comments on Michelle Obama, the coach simply said he “misspoke.”
We know all to well that this is hardly the first time the First Lady’s body, and specifically her behind, have been criticized. Unfortunately, this is probably one of the lesser incidences, considering much more public figures like Rush Limbaugh (surprise) and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) have openly said disparaging remarks about Michelle Obama’s backside. When speaking to the Washington Post, Andra Gillespie, Associate Professor of Political Science at Emory University, said these critics:
“are reacting to the culture in which they’ve grown up or they are using it as a code to racialize Michelle Obama and remind people that she’s black. It is unreasonable to expect a nearly 50-year-old woman to have the body of a 25-year-old. She looks great for her age.”
That point is further driven home by the realization that this criticism consistently comes from old White men (I’m assuming Grisham falls in that category) who still fail to realize the racial and political makeup of America is changing yet somehow still believe they can revert it back to what it once was — and old (white) boy’s club. Meanwhile White women, for the most part, are asking their personal trainers how they can get toned arms like the the First Lady’s, i.e., their efforts are backfiring. Though I’m personally disgusted at this negativity — and particularly the fact that it stems from the sentiment of who does this Black woman think she is to tell my child what he or she can and can’t eat, even though it will likely save them from medical issues down the line — I take comfort in knowing the comments haven’t affected Mrs. Obama in the slightest. Earlier in her FLOTUS days, the “Today” show asked her whether all of the focus on her physique has affected her body image. She replied:
“No, not really — but I thank God I’m 45 in this and not 35. I feel bad for young women going through the same thing, because [at that age] you don’t know who you are. I know what makes me happy. My message to women: Do what makes you feel good, because there’ll always be someone who thinks you should do it differently.”