Michelle Obama’s Southern Strategy

The following strikes me as bad advice, all around. Not the least because can you imagine the column Maureen Dowd would write (earth tones, anyone?) if Michelle Obama actually made the radical dress and comportment transformation suggested to Bonnie Fuller by Houston Chronicle newspaper columnist Whitney Casey and published at HuffPo:

[Casey] believes that in the south, Michelle Obama’s bold upright stance and choice of bold colors may turn off voters, who could be frightened by her directness.

To win over this part of the country, “she could be a little more demure, toss out the feminine mystique and use her feminine wiles. I know this sounds silly and sexist,” admits Casey, “but she should do it so she can be who she is when the time is right.”

Be a wolf in soft lilac clothing…until you land the White House. Then you can let your hair down (or rather, put it back up).

Casey’s suggestions for Michelle: “Keep your arms open, not crossed or on your hips when you stand. Soften your shoulders, maybe with sweaters, switch to softer colors — powder blue, yellow, soft lilac — wear lower heels, loosen up your hair, and switch from structured to looser, flowing skirts.”

In sum: you’re scaring southerners with your erect carriage (the audacity of posture!) and presumptuous purple sheath dress; try to make yourself smaller — invisible might be ideal.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.