Michelle Obama in Saudi Arabia doing the right thing

Michelle Obama in Saudi Arabia doing the right thing

President and Mrs. Obama went to Saudi Arabia for a funeral and coronation of the new Saudi king. The Washington Post stated:

In a country that demands women adhere to a strict dress code in public (face and hair covered, and long, flowing robes), Obama went with a flowing blue top, black pants and no head covering.First Lady Michelle Obama

This infuriated ISIS/Daesh fans who tweeted in horror at a woman uncovered and delighted people back home. Senator Ted Cruz tweeted:

I agree completely with Senator Cruz. Mrs. Obama successfully made a silent but clear statement about women’s rights in a nation where women are not allowed to drive and are covered head to toe from a young age. She continued a tradition of recent first ladies quite nicely.

Keep in mind that Michelle Obama does not make fashion choices lightly, particularly on the world stage. Her fashion choice comes as the late Saudi king Abdullah’s legacy on women is considered in light of the ascension of Crown Prince Salman to the throne.

It’s also a more social-media-friendly version of political messages delivered overtly by other first ladies.

In 1995, Hillary Rodham Clinton told an audience at the U.N. Women’s Conference in Beijing, “Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.”

Ten years later, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan in 2005, Laura Bush also emphasized women’s rights before a group of Arab leaders. She said: “Freedom, especially freedom for women, is more than the absence of oppression. It’s the right to speak and vote and worship freely. Human rights require the rights of women. And human rights are empty promises without human liberty.”

The Saudi delegation of leaders walked out before she got to that line, something she notes in her book, “Spoken from the Heart.”

Ten years after that, Obama, this time with her fashion, has made a similar statement.

Bush said in 2005 that “women who have not yet won these rights are watching,” and Obama, in Saudi Arabia with no headscarf and in slacks, makes the message that much easier to see.

Very well done Mrs. Obama. And thank you!

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