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This News Headline Perfectly Sums Up Gender Inequality

Photograph by Getty Images

There's a Tumblr out there that's about to become your favorite thing on the Internet: Man Who Has It All.

If the Tumblr were written by a woman, you wouldn't blink or think twice. In fact, you probably wouldn't even read it, as there are countless other sites out there just like it. Some of its recent blog post subjects include "6 Reasons to Have a Bath," "Surviving Halloween" and "Celebrate Your Imperfections!" ("It is OKAY not to moisturize your elbows every day; It is OKAY to stop ironing duvet covers; It is OKAY to put on a small amount of weight").

But they're written by a man, and the tone so perfectly parodies women's blogs, thoughts and feelings that you'll pee your pants laughing at how much a man would never seriously say those things about himself. No one would lower themselves to write that kind of stuff about a man.

And that's why stories like this—Michelle Obama Wears Florals in Doha for World Education Summit—will seriously make you cringe.

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"Being the first lady comes with a lot of responsibility," the article, written by a Yahoo news editor, said, "And while being a trendsetter certainly pales in comparison to the weight of attempting to curb the childhood obesity problem in the United States or getting kids moving, dressing fashionably is part of the job."

There's not much more meat in the piece. It goes on to talk about how the First Lady brings a "modern edge," "even J.Crew" to the White House. It talk about how she's a "political dresser." There's zero mention of the purpose of her trip, though, beyond the headline.

Even credible news outlets have become accustomed to thinking the only thing readers might be interested in is what she's wearing, not what she's actually doing while she's wearing them.

Nope, nowhere in the piece will readers learn that this is her first solo trip to the Middle East, the purpose of which is to promote her global education initiative for girls. She'll also be touring a school in Jordan that was built with support from the United States. While she's in Jordan, she'll make a stop in Petra, too, which is considered one of the world's premier archaeological sites. In Qatar and Jordan, First Lady Michelle Obama will be taking "official meetings."

While Michelle Obama is off doing her job as the fashionista-in-chief, her husband has been carrying on in his official capacity, too. Earlier this week he was at Rutgers University to talk about criminal justice reform. Curiously, though, no article on his appearance mentioned anything about what he wore.

In fact, a quick Google search of "President Obama wardrobe" shows the most recent "news" story on his clothes dates back to the spring when Business Insider wrote about why he and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same clothes every day (Hint: there's a scientific reason behind it, of course). Only three other articles show up in the top search about the president's clothes, and they date back to 2014, 2012 and 2008.

It's not as if anyone expects the First Lady to have responsibilities that equal those of her husband. But apparently even credible news outlets have become accustomed to thinking the only thing readers might be interested in is what she's wearing, not what she's actually doing while she's wearing them.

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Writing about gender inequality is certain en vogue (Yahoo News recently aggregated articles about it here and here, for example, plus Jennifer Lawrence made a splash talking about it last month), although apparently there's still some confusion with writing about it and actually doing something about it. So much of the disparity between men and women is about perception, which can, in turn, lead to the belief that women need less (money, rights, access to education) to get by. Articles on floral wardrobe choices aren't helping advance any discussions or anyone's bottom line.

Fortunately the Man Who Has It All provides a perspective that we can laugh about until things get better and women are seen as having some substance, not just style. Because otherwise, we're certainly being given enough reason to cry.

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