Though some viewers thought that Michelle Obama’s moment on the Oscars was exciting, show-stopping, or (at the very least) innocent enough, there were many others who expressed outrage at her appearance. In Iran, the network Fars News photoshopped the First Lady into a more modest ensemble, adding sleeves and a higher neckline to her Naeem Khan gown.
An Iranian woman appearing on state TV must wear a hijab that covers her arms, legs, and hair. Men must also dress appropriately according to these rules, and only sports players are allowed to bare their legs on the boob tube. TV networks are a bit more lenient with foreigners, as long as their footage was shot outside of Iran. This is certainly not a first for Iranian film and TV—many actors, dignitaries, and TV personalities have been photoshopped into more condoned garb in the past.
While the First Lady’s outfit of choice may have bothered Iranian officials, it was the fact that she was presenting an award to Argo that really stirred the pot. Some Iranians are of the opinion that Argo was “a-historical,” and “an advertisement for the CIA”. Detractors felt that the First Lady’s appearance was strategic and politically-minded, based on the subject matter of the film.
And Iranians weren’t the only group to express their anger concerning the First Lady’s involvement with the Oscars. No sooner had the telecast come to a close when right wing media outlets exploded in a fit of ire over her presence at the awards show. And while their phony outrage was predictable, it was particularly infuriating for being untrue.
Conservative bloggers and tweeters cried out for a "separation of Hollywood and state" following the First Lady's appearance, conveniently forgetting that Laura Bush appeared on the program in 2002 and that, I don't know, Ronald Reagan was a damn MOVIE STAR before he was president.
"It is not enough that President Obama pops up at every sporting event in the nation. Now the first lady feels entitled, with military personnel as props, to intrude on other forms of entertaining (this time for the benefit of the Hollywood glitterati who so lavishly paid for her husband's election)," said Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post.
I mean...I personally just thought it was lovely of the First Lady to take a moment to commend American filmmakers for their contributions. The Obamas are far more accessible than many other First Couples have been in the past, and I, for one, love the crap out of it. Why should they muscle their interests and personalities into some prefab mold? If Michelle Obama wants to Dougie with Jimmy Fallon, that's just fine in my book.
Source: The Guardian, Fox News, Media Matters
Photo: Just Jared