A feminist for Michelle Obama (Jennifer M. Kohnke / January 29, 2013)

A feminist for Michelle Obama

This is in response to "Nation's feminists divided on first lady's overt choices" (News, Jan. 21). The article suggests that many feminists, and by implication mostly white feminists, are disappointed in Michelle Obama.

I am a white, middle-class woman who considers herself a feminist; I teach a course in economics and gender.

I think Michelle Obama is doing an outstanding job. Here's why:

1. Being first lady of the United States is a job. It is probably a more important and challenging job than the vast majority of jobs, including those held by other graduates of Harvard Law School, and I think it utilizes Mrs. Obama's intelligence and many skills.

2. One strand of modern feminism is critical of society for undervaluing caring and related roles traditionally done by women. Mrs. Obama clearly values these roles and asks society to as well.

3. Feminism emphasizes that, like men, women should have options, and those options change over one's life. Perhaps many factors affect Mrs. Obama's choices. The role of president of the United States is incredibly complex. Being the first black president is even more so. Challenging the traditional role of the first lady would have only added to that complexity. Although the children of a sitting president have great opportunities, they also face unusual demands. Mrs. Obama will have many opportunities to continue her legal career or pursue other activities in the future if she chooses.

I have great respect for Michelle Obama, and I am happy to have her represent me as an American, a woman and a feminist.

Margaret Oppenheimer, Vincent DePaul professor of economics, DePaul University, Chicago

Women in combat

As an Army veteran of Vietnam, I am mystified by the political decision to assign women to combat arms units (infantry, artillery, armor).

We do not allow our young women to compete with our young men in basketball, track, swimming, etc., for the obvious reason that they are physically unable to provide serious competition.

Washington now, however, would allow our young women to compete with the young men of other nations — in combat to the death. This is political correctness on steroids, and would be laughable if not for the needless loss of life such a policy would no doubt cause.

James M. Hayes, Chicago

Clinton's words

After watching Hillary Clinton testify before Congress on Benghazi, I can't help but wonder what a valuable secretary of state she would have made for George W. Bush. She would have testified before Congress on the missing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. When asked where they were, she would have proclaimed, "What difference does it make?"

John Belluomini, Bartlett

Bad neighbors

This is in response to "No jamming at reggae club; Without concert license, Wild Hare sees doubtful future in Lincoln Park" (News, Jan. 22). My beef is not only about the Wild Hare but other situations when the locals oppose things, in this case literally "in their back yards."

I live in the far southwest suburbs, so I have no dog in this race. But it just kills me when people move to a neighborhood, not to mention backing up to the commercial area, and then complain about what comes with this location. They are trying to deny the very thing for which they moved there.