Semi-Nude Michelle Obama on Spanish Magazine Cover
Repost of the Week
By Naomi Extra
Article Reposted: “Spanish Magazine Courts Controversy with Michelle Obama Cover” in Yahoo News
First Lady, Michelle Obama, is topless on the cover of a Spanish magazine. Yes, you read correctly. Topless. In the Yahoo News article, Sarah Weir writes: “Michelle Obama has graced magazine covers from Time to People to Vogue looking powerful, beautiful, and downright regal, but now a Spanish magazine is picturing her bare breasted, and as a slave.” The article provides some context for what the artist might have been thinking along with some valuable insight. But for those of us who are privy to black women’s racial and sexual history in the United States, the image may be perceived as offensive.
In the groundbreaking book At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance—a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle McGuire, one of the chapters is entitled “A Black Woman’s Body Was Never Hers Alone.” The name of this chapter was taken from a painful lesson that Fannie Lou Hamer was taught by her mother and grandmother when she was a child in the Mississippi Delta. I was reminded of these haunting words when I saw this image of the first lady. Both McGuire and Weir bring to light the the lack of ownership that black women have and still encounter when it comes to their bodies. By attaching the first lady’s face to an anonymous semi-nude slave body, the artist creates a power dynamic through both the gaze and the what the slave body itself signifies. We could ask ourselves any number of questions related to this controversial work. Like, when’s the last time we saw one of our white first ladies depicted in this way? Did the artist get consent from the first lady before she attached her face to a semi-nude body? How is Michelle Obama perceived globally? And perhaps, most importantly, what does she think of the magazine cover?
Check out the article link reposted above and let us know what you think.