The role of First Lady diminishes strong women

Rafia Zakaria in The Baffler:

NOW THAT SHE IS NO LONGER presiding over the East Wing in the White House, Michelle Obama is grateful for the little things. One of them is toast, or rather toast she makes herself. As she recounts in her mega best-selling memoir, Becoming, nothing feels more liberating than tiptoeing to the kitchen of her own home and making toast, specifically cheese toast. It is a relief, she notes, to not have someone offer to make it for her, and a delight to walk to her back porch and eat it, alone and in shorts and with the Secret Service a hundred yards away.

It is an endearing story, with its Oprah-endorsed (she told the story on Oprah’s “SuperSoul Conversations” podcast) appeal underscoring the everyone-loves-her charisma of the most admired woman in America. There is lots more of the same in Becoming; it is laden with curated-for-cuteness interludes. Indeed, sometimes you can almost hear the collective gasps of an invisible Oprah audience rise up from the page: they’re there when she tells of Barack staring at the ceiling one night in bed during their courtship and admitting he was thinking about “income inequality”; they cheer, too, when Michelle recounts how the couple was applauded by diners at a restaurant in New York when they went on a presidential date night; and they hem with smug approval when Michelle talks of laying down the law over family dinnertime at the East Wing regardless of what was going down at the West Wing.

More here.