Close
Log in
Please enter your login details

Skip to main content

Breaking News
  • Militant group publishes video showing French citizen believed abducted in Algeria – This comes after ISIL issued a call for attacks on western countries (French Foreign Ministry)
|

The first lady of the United States is a privileged position that can turn the woman who holds it into an instant American icon.

Each wife that has lived in the White House has had their own unique style
US First Ladies, a style and pop culture icon

The first lady of the United States is a privileged position that can turn the woman who holds it into an instant American icon.

Each wife that has lived in the White House has had their own unique style, however like every role it comes with difficult challenges according to Michele Swers, Associate Professor of American Government at Georgetown University: “The role of the first lady is hard to define in American politics. It’s not in the constitution. They don’t have any particular responsibilities, so it has changed over the years.”

Each first lady brings a mix of her own personality, background, interests and goals to the White House, and these reshape the undefined position with each new administration.

For the first 150 years of American history, first ladies largely performed ceremonial and hostess duties at the White House. They also looked after their family’s well being, advised their husbands behind closed doors and stayed out of the political spotlight.

In more modern times, the dynamic changed in the role of a modern first lady. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was in a wheelchair, regularly relied on his wife Eleanor’s public support. She was the first presidential spouse to become part of pop culture and fuelled America’s growing fascination with first ladies.

Others used some very personal struggles to the benefit of the American people. Betty Ford used her illness to encourage women to get mammograms and talk openly about breast cancer. First ladies sit atop a high pedestal and carry a loud microphone, but they must also walk a fine line.

Both of the Bush wives, Barbara and Laura, cared deeply about books and literacy, and like most of their predecessors never crossed the line from advocacy into outright policy work.

One first lady who did was Hillary Clinton. The public backlash was harsh towards her because she was perceived by some to be usurping power, and the episode tarnished the Clinton administration.

Public sentiment shifted back in her favour when she was seen as the sympathetic, scorned wife during the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

Jackie Kennedy, intentionally or not, raised the bar for women in her position in how they can use their fashion sense to build good will with the public.

The shimmering Tracy Reese dress current first lady Michelle Obama wore for her speech at the Democratic National Convention caused a fashion frenzy.

Whether the current wife of the US President will continue to make her mark as first lady after the 2012 US elections has yet to be seen. Ann Romney the wife of Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, has already been keen to stamp her personality on the political scene.
, however like every role it comes with difficult challenges according to Michele Swers, Associate Professor of American Government at Georgetown University: “The role of the first lady is hard to define in American politics. It’s not in the constitution. They don’t have any particular responsibilities, so it has changed over the years.”

Each first lady brings a mix of her own personality, background, interests and goals to the White House, and these reshape the undefined position with each new administration.

For the first 150 years of American history, first ladies largely performed ceremonial and hostess duties at the White House. They also looked after
their family’s well being, advised their husbands behind closed doors and stayed out of the political spotlight.

In more modern times, the dynamic changed in the role of a modern first lady. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was in a wheelchair, regularly relied on his wife Eleanor’s public support. She was the first presidential spouse to become part of pop culture and fuelled America’s growing fascination with first ladies.

Others used some very personal struggles to the benefit of the American people. Betty Ford used her illness to encourage women to get mammograms and talk openly about breast cancer. First ladies sit atop a high pedestal and carry a loud microphone, but they must also walk a fine line.

Both of the Bush wives, Barbara and Laura, cared deeply about books and literacy, and like most of their predecessors never crossed the line from advocacy into outright policy work.

One first lady who did was Hillary Clinton. The public backlash was harsh towards her because she was perceived by some to be usurping power, and the episode tarnished the Clinton administration.

Public sentiment shifted back in her favour when she was seen as the sympathetic, scorned wife during the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

Jackie Kennedy, intentionally or not, raised the bar for women in her position in how they can use their fashion sense to build good will with the public.

The shimmering Tracy Reese dress current first lady Michelle Obama wore for her speech at the Democratic National Convention caused a fashion frenzy.

Whether the current wife of the US President will continue to make her mark as first lady after the 2012 US elections has yet to be seen. Ann Romney the wife of Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, has already been keen to stamp her personality on the political scene.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

More about:
|