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Critics are Asking: Should a First Lady Be Handing Out Academy Awards?

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The first lady, Michelle Obama, was ‘the talk of the town’ as they say or ‘talk of the world’ maybe, when she appeared on a video screen at the Academy Awards. She was ‘beamed’ there from the White House Diplomatic Room.

She was introduced by Jack Nicholson, host of the event, and she read the award for best picture, Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo.’

“It just seemed so natural because the whole thing is so unnatural,” Affleck told reporters after the show — right after he said he thought he was “hallucinating.”

Kristina Schake, the first lady’s communication director said afterwards in a statement, “As a movie lover, she was honored to present the award and celebrate the artists who inspire us all — especially our young people.”

“The only thing that was missing was seeing her walk down the red carpet,” said Anita McBride, who served as chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush. “She’s as glamourous as any other star, [and] she is comfortable in that role. As far as the optics in the national conversation, you can see where the other half have come down, [asking] ‘Is this really necessary?’ ”

In recent months, the Obamas have diligently showed up at various events, sporting events, on entertainment television, social media and local media. But the first lady has rarely engaged pop culture without also pushing one of her own causes.

Katherine Jellison, a professor of women’s history at Ohio University who has studied first ladies said, “I get the feeling that she is for the first time maybe really relaxing and enjoying her celebrity hood.”

Michelle Obama has joked to daytime TV host Rachael Ray that she had cut her bangs as part of a midlife crisis.

There is no job description for first ladies, and Obama is stretching the role in new directions. But she is not the first member of a first family to engage with Hollywood and the Academy Awards.

Also, Mrs. Obama challenges the notion that first ladies aren’t as intelligent as their husbands or allowed to engage in meaningful work that they value themselves.   Michelle Obama is a highly-trained lawyer and a brilliant leader.  It would be ashamed to see her relegated to telling kids to eat their vegetables.