London-based writer, Fifi Haroon, decided that placing Michelle Obama as the #1 most powerful women on Forbes’ Most Powerful Women in The World list was ridiculous, especially given that she is simply a wife and mother, going so far as to suggest that, “she is in the habit of self-effacingly describing herself primarily as ‘Malia and Sasha’s mom’.”
The excuse Haroon gives for Forbes’ choice is that, “Forbes is an old-fashioned US-centric men’s publication that still believes it is perfectly valid to selectively confuse fame with power and populate a Powerful Women’s list with pop stars, television presenters and a wife, while keeping its male-dominated Powerful People’s List exclusively political.” and that the magazine’s list for “Powerful Women” is skewed based on its “blatantly gendered criteria.”
Below is my post in response to her op-ed:
You seem to equate power with powerful positions. That may be how you measure one’s success or even perhaps your own, but power does not require a throne from which to give orders. I did not vote for Obama, nor am a liberal or Democrat. I am a registered Republican, albeit moderate in principles, but I really feel that your op-ed is completely simplistic and skewed. Ask any young girl today who Hillary Clinton is or to describe her role in the White House Administration and I’m certain you will get a blank stare. Ask them about Michelle Obama and you will not only get recognition, you will certainly have many say that she is President Obama’s wife. As such, she is one of these most visible women in the world and one that rarely has an agenda other than being a partner to her husband.
Little girls know what a mom is and they certainly understand a wife and caregiver. My mother, along with my father, raised three college educated children. Two have careers and one is a career volunteer that, although highly educated, she felt that she wanted to take on the project of raising her three children as opposed to building advertising campaigns and marketing slogans that would become obsolete long after she passes away.
Wives and mothers are the single most influential person in a young girl’s life. Their values and morals are taught and passed on for generations. My grandmother raised three boys, who married and together had nine children. Those nine children produced 16 children. Her influence was great and her power was much more immense and far-reaching than any one person who chooses to take her Harvard degree and put it to use in a career. It’s unfortunate that you see Michelle Obama as untalented and a failure because she is not shaking the trees in the business world. That is not power. That is position. I have spent years writing about influential women and each one rarely reached the depths of notoriety in their lifetime. In fact, if you look at how women gained the right to vote, you’ll see that it was Tennessee State Representative Harry T. Burn who broke with his party, against what you would consider the most “powerful” men in the state, to vote in favor of women’s suffrage because his mother wrote him a letter and asked him to do it. http://meandmy1000girlfriends.com/?p=605
Now THAT is POWER.
So, who’s the Most POWERFUL WOMAN in the WORLD? To a young girl, it’s definitely MOM.