This meme on the right that Michelle Obama is overweight is utterly bizarre to me. A glance at her should serve to debunk it. I can’t see another explanation for its persistence than racism — they have to be thinking, even if unconsciously, something like “Black women are fat. Michelle Obama is black. Therefore, Michelle Obama is fat. QED.”I had been busy noting that Limbaugh is no Kate Moss himself, and if he had a "No Fat Chicks" t-shirt it would have to come with a few X's in front of the size "Large." Ed Brayton remarks
Really, Rush? You’re going to do weight jokes? You might notice that I don’t ever poke fun at someone’s weight. You know why? Because I’m overweight myself and I’d look like an idiot and a hypocrite if I did it. That seems not to matter to Limbaugh.No, I expect it doesn't. But the reason for that isn't quite clear. It could be because Limbaugh's a racist, and therefore the charge of hypocrisy is dismissed as irrelevant or (more likely) doesn't even register. But I think plain ol' misogyny is closer to the truth. Insulting a woman's appearance, especially by calling her fat, is the most basic, intellectually lazy things you can do to dismiss her. And it only seems relevant if you consider it important for her appearance to conform to your tastes...as Limbaugh pretty clearly does. Michael Heath points out that this tendency extends back in history beyond the Obama White House:
Mr. Limbaugh criticized Bill & Hillary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea’s physical appearance when she was a 13 year old child. While he’s clearly a racist, his misogyny goes back decades.And Sadie Morrison is not even necessarily convinced that Limbaugh thinks Obama is fat:
“Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?”
— while holding up a photograph of 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton on his 1993 television show
I don’t think that he necessarily views Michelle Obama as overweight; as previously mentioned, slurs regarding physical appearance are almost always the first offense directed against women by misogynists whether or not such slurs match any sense of objective reality.And if the woman in question is so thin that there's no way you can call her fat without looking like a lunatic, you say she's horse-faced. For the dedicated yet lazy, there is always a physical put-down handy. I would hazard a guess that this is part of the reason why some conservatives like to extol the beauty of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann to the point of creepiness-- it's defensive tactic against the same sort of attacks they would be hurling against left-leaning female politicians. They have not taken into consideration the idea that a woman's appearance as the most important thing about her might be a premise their opponents have discarded.