‘Becoming’: Michelle Obama refutes being an opportunist and using First Lady status to become an entrepreneur
Every time a president is elected, his wife, who then becomes the First Lady of the nation, starts living an entirely different life; a life of constant scrutiny and eventually leading to controversies. Michelle Robinson Obama was no different. As the first African-American First Lady of the United States, Michelle saw her life turn 360 degree around since her husband became the most important man of the country and the most powerful man in the world.
From being a middle-class, working professional in a 900 square foot apartment to moving into the White House with “132 rooms, 35 bathrooms and 28 fireplaces spread out over six floors, and staff of ushers, florists, housekeepers, butlers, and attendants for her every need” could change anyone. And so it did to her as well.
It not only changed Michelle’s lifestyle but also how she was perceived by others. But she was not like other women of her times. She was always a strong, independent, ambitious woman. Before becoming a woman of influence she was a licensed lawyer successfully practicing at a Chicago law firm in marketing and intellectual property law, followed by a position at for the Chicago City Government.
In simpler words, Michelle Obama’s professional background and grooming put her at the forefront of many public appearances of President Obama and that raised many questions. From her dressing sense to being the one who talks more at a public address than her husband, Michelle has always been criticized. There have also been opinions on how she used her status to become the entrepreneur and philanthropist that she is known to be today. But how much of this is true?
The documentary ‘Becoming’ lays down a whole lot of facts about her life. As a mother and a wife, she faced the struggle of juggling her career and newfound power, fame, and influence, which, in fact, required her to compromise. She gave up her practice and faced a major identity crisis. This was a heavy occupational risk she took. The facts, as they remain, shared by her and evident from the documentary is that she never internalized her political status or of being a “celebrity”. Instead, she continued in her entrepreneurial drive, whether they were in public service or working for nonprofit organizations.
This move could be largely misconstrued as a way to exploit her position to climb the career ladder. But if one tries to read between the lines, it will become evident that she is still on her way to identify herself and her true potential and where she wants to go. She might have achieved some professional goals as the First Lady and then as the former First Lady, but that could be attributed to her leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and her education.
‘Becoming’ is essentially a deep dive into her evolution from being a simpleton to a powerful social and political figure and refuting the myths of being an opportunist. In her words, it is the “universal challenge of squaring who you are with where you come from and where you want to go.”
‘Becoming’ is currently streaming on Netflix.