A voice for women

Let's get straight to the point here. Michelle Obama rocks. Argue if you like, but there's something about her that really gets you. Being a woman is never easy. You've got to juggle a lot of things like your career and kids for one, and then beat that Paris-Hilton-silly-girl image in the meantime. But women - I mean those really good ones, the often unheard of ones - they sure do rock.

The recently concluded U. S. elections saw history been made. Apart from America electing its first African-American president, the elections also brought three women to the front. There was Hilary Rodham Clinton (no explanations needed there), Michelle Obama and of course, the pretty but lame Sarah Palin. If those three showed one thing, it is this - women have power.

Of course, we Sri Lankans and for that matter, we Asians know what it's like with women leading the way. But this is a different case. Michelle Obama is not president. She is just the wife of the new U. S. president. And she's already made her mark. Why? Because, she is black, she's got two little kids, she's a lawyer, she speaks well and can win the hearts of people. Mind you, there's lot more to her than that black and red outfit she wore on election night.

Women around the world are increasingly regarding her as an agent of change, someone who can change the way the world perceives women, especially those of minority groups.

Thanks to certain movies and other forms of entertainment, the world tends to see black and Asian women as either fragile creatures who fall down crying over the slightest thing or as the macho-type who cannot keep families together. They tend to feel sorry for the women when they hear their stories of arranged marriages and being stoned to death for something they didn't do but had to take the blame as culture demands. True these things still happen in certain parts of the world where women are considered a burden and they have little choice in life. But we know the real story. We know there are those among us who suffer, those among us who need help, but we also know that there are those among us who succeed, whose stories are rarely heard.

Michelle Obama would hopefully be our voice. She knows what its like to be a woman of a minority group, just like her husband knows what it's like to not be American.

No doubt there would be people who'll criticise her every move. She's already received her fair share of criticism. But she stood through them all. She didn't pounce on her enemies like we see black women do in those movies. Instead, she fought back in her own quiet way. She smiled, didn't frown. She hugged her daughters and kissed her husband. And above all, she came forward to speak and boy, didn't she play her role well.

Mr. Obama describes her as the family's 'rock' who had the veto power over whether or not he ran for president. She matters to him, she matters to America, and she matters to the world, at least for now.
So, girls and boys, let's raise our glasses to the new lady around town. She's not Oprah Winfrey, she's not Paris Hilton, nor is she Princess Diana. She is simply Michelle Obama.

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