'First Lady' Role: It's 'Sexist,' Needs to Go
It's outdated, and hurts women: Nabila Ramdani
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2014 12:43 PM CST
In this Tuesday, May. 7, 2013, file photo, French President Francois Hollande, left, and his companion Valerie Trierweiler arrive for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool, File)

(Newser) – It may be time to do away with the "feeble, sexist, and outdated" role of first lady, writes Nabila Ramdani in the Guardian. Look at Valérie Trierweiler: Upon learning that her partner, French President François Hollande, was having an affair, she spent eight nights in the hospital—during which time Hollande spent just 30 minutes with her. Now, aides are saying he plans to ditch Trierweiler and make his actress lover the new first lady. But even less extreme cases illustrate how terrible this position can be, Ramdani writes.

For example, Michelle Obama gave up her career (and her salary) as a lawyer to be "hostess of the White House," carrying out a few—usually "shallow"— official tasks. The UK's Samantha Cameron left her career behind as well, despite the fact that she's not even an official first lady. "First ladies around the world are largely required to be presentable escorts when called upon, and to make their husbands look good," writes Ramdani. "Thus highly educated, talented women ... are effectively told to suspend their careers to become state-sponsored ladies who lunch." Click for her full column.

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Showing 3 of 38 comments
Apr 27, 2014 4:00 PM CDT
What will the title be for the spouse of a male president married to a male? Second Man?
Jan 23, 2014 9:49 PM CST
I agree....The wife of the President is no different from any other wife. Her role is to shut her mouth, stay barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen whipping up food for her husband and kids. Hey Michelle, get your do-rag on and get to flippin' flapjacks..............BO and the chillins is hongry................
Jan 22, 2014 10:17 AM CST
I call B.S. - there have been first-ladies who were VERY strong minded and continued their professions while their husbands were in the White House. Just because the wives of current presidents are attention-seekers please do NOT blame it on a title attached to the marriage partner of the President! The two are not the same. If we had people of the same moral fiber and/or work ethic that we had a century ago this article would be considered to be absurd (and I for one still think it is!).