We’ve posted before about how women are held disproportionately responsible for making holidays happen. In our imaginations, and all-too-often in real life, the majority of the cleaning, the decorating, the cooking, the gift buying, and the card sending is done by women.
Last year Jeremiah J. sent in a twist on this theme: a CBS report on the First Ladies’ intimate involvement in the decorating of the White House for the holidays. Accordingly to the guest, they are the “commander of chief of Christmas, and they all really care.” Embedding is disabled (watch the video here).
The segment is also a really great example of how women get associated with trivial things. In addition to that stunning line, “commander of chief of Christmas,” the guest explains: “they all have their signature style… it’s really a lot of fun.” Fun, yes, but not by any means important. At the end of the video, the guest is asked if she wrote the book on First Lady involvement with decorating because she wanted ideas for how to decorate her own home. A good sport, the woman replies yes.
This year the White House highlighted Michelle Obama’s role in managing the decorating of the 54 Christmas trees that currently dot the residence. The story specifies that Ms. Obama had help — 85 volunteers — but also that they were there to help her, specifically, with her job: “…none of this would be possible if not for the volunteers… and Mrs. Obama thanked them in her remarks this afternoon.”Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.