PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Are Michelle Obama and Meghan Markle true feminists… or did they just marry well?

The point is that Michelle’s personal fortune of about $70 million has not been built on her uniqueness, nor her wisdom, but on the fact she is Mrs Barack Obama

Given that Michelle Obama sold 14 million copies of her book Becoming, inevitably she now has a new literary offering.

The Light We Carry is supposedly a guide for all women, everywhere, in their ‘ongoing journey to “becoming”‘. We must embrace our true potential, she suggests, despite being thwarted by prejudice and, yes, dastardly men.

Michelle offers such sage reflections as ‘fear can keep us safe, but fear can keep us stuck’. Eh? ‘We practise, we learn, learn and practise, we make mistakes then start over again,’ she writes. If we ‘recognise our light, we become empowered by it’. She also hails the joys of knitting to find lasting peace.

The book is printed in 40 languages. Let’s hope one is a translation from gobbledygook into English.

The point is that Michelle’s personal fortune of about $70 million has not been built on her uniqueness, nor her wisdom, but on the fact she is Mrs Barack Obama. She is famous, and is only given such platforms, because she was married to a President.

In The Light We Carry, she tries to connect with us ordinary women, revealing that even someone as adored as she is still feels ugly sometimes, and hates the sight of herself without make-up in the morning mirror.

She bravely tells us she sometimes felt like an outsider as she’s 5ft 11in tall. Now she’s making an undeserved and very lucrative career out of standing over all of us. Michelle does not speak for the millions of working ‘sisters’ who have, as Aretha Franklin sang, been Doin’ It For Themselves for decades.

Instead, she reminds us of another well-married woman, Meghan Markle. On her dreary Spotify podcast series, Megs has paraded herself as a victim of endless prejudice, misogyny and racism, bleating on about how hard it is to be recognised as the fabulously assertive woman she really is, and complaining that the Establishment tried to thwart her enormous talent.

Instead, she reminds us of another well-married woman, Meghan Markle (pictured with Prince Harry in 2020)

In her career trashing the Royal Family, Meg has amassed a joint net worth of perhaps $60 million, almost all of it accrued — ironically — since she married into that very same family.

Had Michelle not met Barack, she’d be an unknown lawyer from south Chicago. Had Meghan not met Harry, she’d be a bit-part actress.

The sad truth is, both these women would be nothing without their marriages. They’re not true feminists. Their grandstanding as paragons of truth, independence and integrity is an insult to every working woman who’s made it off her own bat — and not off the back of her husband.

A human-sized teddy is this year’s Yuletide offering for lonely women. Loving Bear Puffy has a big tummy, doesn’t speak a word and sits slumped on the sofa all day — not unlike many of our partners every Christmas. At least we don’t have to cook for Puffy.

Checkmate to Anya

We fell in love with her unique beauty in the smash-hit chess drama The Queen’s Gambit, yet Anya Taylor-Joy says she was so badly bullied for her unusual looks at school that her tormentors ‘locked her in lockers’.

Here’s guessing those nobodies are now living in obscurity and stuffing their faces with doughnuts — occasionally throwing a half-eaten one at their widescreen TV sets every time this gorgeous woman appears.

We fell in love with her unique beauty in the smash-hit chess drama The Queen’s Gambit, yet Anya Taylor-Joy (pictured on Tuesday) says she was so badly bullied for her unusual looks at school that her tormentors ‘locked her in lockers’

Five ‘Kill the Bill’ protesters have won damages from Avon and Somerset police after claiming they were unlawfully removed and even assaulted by cops who broke up their demo in March 2021. What else were the police meant to do given that the protest was held during the height of Covid, when outdoor gatherings were banned? 

World Cup Watch

  •  First laugh of the Budweiser-sponsored tournament as the Qatari royal family suddenly bans alcohol in stadiums. Serves the fans right for going there — yet how sad they can’t even cry into their beer over it.
  • Our boys flew into Qatar on a Virgin plane with a bloke painted on the front wearing rainbow trainers. Great PR for Richard Branson whose staff can identify as any gender, yet when entering countries like Qatar have to dress so as not to upset the local homophobes.
  • Not a great start when the lads lost on penalties in a charity game to a team of burly migrant workers picked by Qatari authorities. One wonders how representative they were of the 6,500 foreign contractors who have died in the desert state since it was announced as the cup’s host.

Boy George threw a hissy fit when I’m A Celebrity campmate Scarlette Douglas asked about his stint in prison. ‘Inappropriate!’ he huffed.

Well, the ageing has-been was given 15 months after he handcuffed a male escort to a wall and beat him with a metal chain. Good on Scarlette for raising a subject we all want to know more about. What’s truly ‘inappropriate’ is putting a man like George in the jungle at all.

Boy George (pictured) threw a hissy fit when I’m A Celebrity campmate Scarlette Douglas asked about his stint in prison. ‘Inappropriate!’ he huffed

Ted hiding in disgust

Since learning a catnapper may be on the loose in Cumbria after nine moggies went missing, my Ted has been reluctant to leave the house and stays in watching TV.

Alas for him, an ITV documentary revealed hard-up humans are rehoming their pets, while others are visiting Blue Cross food banks for cut-price cat food. What, no tuna, no treaties?

Ted flung himself off the sofa at the cruelty of the world and is now upstairs hiding in a cupboard.

Great to see cricketer Ben Stokes continue his winning ways in the World Cup: we feared we’d lost him after he suffered a breakdown and felt guilty at not being with his father when he died in 2020. 

Many of us have had the same experience: I was in London when my parents died in Perth. Yet I always remember what my dad said to me towards the end of his life: that it’s not the ending that matters, but the lifetime of love that went before.

You never can tell with Bruce

Bruce Springsteen finally clears up confusion over a lyric in his great song Thunder Road. Fans heard him sing: ‘The screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways’ — but the album sleeve printed the lines as ‘Mary’s dress waves’.

Even a Boss superfan like me can mix up his lyrics, though. I always thought he sang: ‘Is that you baby, or just a bridge in the sky?’ The clue was in the name . . . the song is called Brilliant Disguise.

Bruce Springsteen (pictured in 2019) finally clears up confusion over a lyric in his great song Thunder Road

Excellent timing to learn this week that the fancy dinner party is officially dead and we no longer have to slave over a hot stove.

I’m expecting friends tomorrow, and since a new survey reveals we’re all just as happy to be served ready meals, they can expect Costco’s beef casserole and its delicious macaroni cheese.

That said, they’d better ignore the finding that 80 per cent of guests don’t think it’s necessary to bring a good bottle of wine — or I’ll send them straight down to the off-licence.

Westminster Wars 

  • What a preening little PM Rishi Sunak is, in his red Bali shirt, skinny white jeans and £450 blue suede shoes at the G20 summit. How tone deaf when his shoes alone cost two-thirds of the monthly state pension.
  • An own-goal for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt: his budget hammers the strivers and rewards the skivers on benefits. Hunt calls himself ‘compassionate’ — but his compassion doesn’t extend to anyone who wants to work for a living.
  • Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who infuriated football fans by saying they must be ‘respectful’ of Qatar’s hateful LGBT laws, now insists he has to attend the World Cup to help keep Brits abroad ‘safe’. How exactly will be do that from the comfort of his VIP lounge?

While we all feel sympathy for posties who do their job rain or shine while half of Brits WFH, the six-day post strike before Christmas is a blessing in disguise. We can tell friends the cards we sent them got lost in the post — and save ourselves a small fortune.

Two formal bullying complaints have been made against Dominic Raab after young staff said he raised his voice and once got so cross he threw a Pret salad into a bin — resulting in a cherry tomato becoming a menacing projectile. These snowflake civil servants wouldn’t last five minutes in the private sector.

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