Take Michelle to Work is a project by New York based artist Aisha Cousin. The project capitalizes and complicates Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, this year on April 23, 2015. In Cousin’s words the project is, “designed to spark conversation about the way Michelle Obama’s shift from model ‘feminist career woman’ to model ‘president’s wife’ illustrates the subtle social and psychological obstacles today’s girls will face in their quest to enter the workforce. This project is one of several by cousin’s that explore important and overlooked aspects of black life during the Obama Era.
Want to get you own Take Michelle to Work doll and learn how to support conversations about gender in the workplace? Click Here and be sure to tweet #takemichelletowork.
In the image above Cousin’s Michelle doll is visiting the office of Ross Jordan, Assistant Director of Exhibitions in the Department of Exhibitions and Exhibitions Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Michelle Obama was a well known figure in Chicago leading up to her husband’s senate and presidential campaigns. She was earning over $300,000 as Vice-president of external affairs and community relations for the University of Chicago Hospitals by the time her husband won his statewide senate seat.
How Michelle Obama has navigated her own professional ambitions, public persona, and her role as a mother have been of national debate that often is a proxy dialogue for the changing landscape of gender roles. Cousin’s project allows the projection of alternative careers and personal narratives for a young Michelle. The conversations that the doll engenders inquire about the false choices many women are asked to make between career, family, and personal fulfillment. Cousin’s re-invigorates this national dialogue, by creating a format were participants can imagine having workplaces that support family life and high powered career development simultaneously.
This year Barak Obama addressed the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in this video address.
In 2012, Michelle Obama visited with the sons and daughters of civil service staff for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.