Caricature - Michelle Obama

 Caricature Henrique Michelle Obama

Illustrations by Henrique Monteiro, text by Priscilla Santos

In August 2008, Radar Magazine put a picture of the new American First Lady on the cover with the following headline: "What's so frightening about Michelle Obama?”. At the beginning of the month, unfavourable impressions hovered over the wife of the democratic candidate; it was said she was sarcastic and that, during the few times se agreed to speak publically, she seemed to make a special effort to show that Obama was a mere mortal, as if he were seen as a god. She also didn't hide the fact that she found the political game irrational and her husband's running a prosaic act: what is he doing here? These observations came from republicans, undecided and Hillary Clinton supporters alike and would quickly find their way into political debates, the angry Fox News and, finally, The Oprah Show. She was an out of place piece, worse, a piece that didn't know its place.

According to the logic of Washington's press, every public figure that chooses to give their private life little access deserves to be punished and during the primaries, Michelle Obama made it brutally public that she wished to remain brutally private - she granted few interviews, didn't follow her husband on trips more that three times a week and looked as if she were indifferent towards everything. Her behaviour made her seem, at the same time, an annoying movie star and a lucky housewife with almost low political involvement.

That same woman would arrive at the Democratic Convention already as a pop icon. The applause and commotion for Michelle helped to make that night anthologic because it consecrated Obama as some sort of a hero and his wife as his unconditional support. Her speech and her posture from then on would not stop making her stand out, an entire timeline was placed inside a family and career frame - the maternity, the loving wife, the dedicated daughter and sister, the family difficulties that denied everyone who called her elitist... It was all there. By the end of it, everyone was overwhelmed.

Up to this point, few black women have stood-out in American politics and when they have it was more often for spite that for joy. Sally Hemings, who in 1802 became scandalously known as Thomas Jefferson's mistress and Condoleezza Rice, who is often said to not even resemble a woman have helped to darken the image of their fellow women - aside from the brave teacher Shirley Chisholm who bravely applied for a job in the White House in 1972.

Still, Michelle Obama, although making politics, doesn't actually keep political projects (as did Hillary Clinton), She gives her global view on American issues, but not her stands on them, even though we know she has very strong opinions, although we don't know them very well. That might very well be the key point when it comes to the First Lady; in a less obvious way that Obama, she is seductively intriguing. And that is what's so frightening about Michelle.

While she remains enigmatic, the press fight eachother off trying to find out about her diet, beauty tips, health advices, maternal experience, the size of her rear end, when the rain will mess up her hair... Especially when it comes to her image - it has already been announced that purple is the colour for the end of the year and also mentioned that the intelligence and charm of the new First Lady echoes Jackie Onassis. Michelle Obama, born Michelle LaVaughn Robinson is already known as Michelle O.

Once again, everything starts sounding like a TV series. However, the path of the biggest economic authority in the world and, as a consequence, our paths, will be, in a very real way, at the mercy of this family, in which Americans have placed their disappointments, hopes and interests. And we have only just begun the introductions.

 Caricature Henrique Michelle Obama

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