It’s time America stopped attacking Sasha Obama and Malia Obama and senselessly comparing them to Donald Trump’s kids — this according to a Marie Claire writer.
Jessica Valenti published an opinion piece on August 11 with the headline, “We Hold Sasha and Malia Obama to a Higher Standard Than the Trump Children, and That’s Ridiculous.” The op-ed focused on her angst with how America — particularly the conservative right — treats the Obama siblings for “being girls” and simply going through the “rites of passage for teenage girls.” She thinks the Obama family is owed an apology for double standards.
“I can’t help it. Every time a new Trump family controversy pops up—whenever I hear about Don Jr. and Russia or Ivanka and her faux-feminist brand built on sketchy labor practices—I think about all the apologies that are owed to the Obamas. Especially Sasha and Malia. I mean, really. Shame on us.”
Ostensibly, Sasha and Malia Obama are still being attacked for doing completely mundane things that are expected rites of passage for teenage girls. Valenti points out that Sasha and Malia were 7-years-old and 10-years-old, respectively, at the time they entered the White House as part of America’s newest First Family.
Almost from the start, as the writer opines, the Obama children had to endure a steady stream of attacks on their parents. At the same time, Malia and Sasha had to insulate themselves from “criticism” not often experienced by children of their ages. Valenti says Barack and Michelle’s kids were robbed of their childhood, so to speak.
“These are girls who never got to be girls.”
Last March, the Obama teenagers attended their first state dinner, where the White House hosted visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as USA Today reported. The girls turned heads as they sparkled in their formal gowns. Sasha, then 14, wore a beaded lace and applique ball gown peppered in varying shades of black, cranberry, and turquoise. Malia, then 17, opted for a more mature look: a scarlet gown that featured a sweetheart neckline above all-encompassing crystal beads.
Prime Minister Trudeau gushed over the girls’ evolution since their father took office. He also compared their styles to their famous mom’s taste in fashion.
“It’s touching to meet Malia and Sasha, who are here at their first State Dinner. I admire you very much, both of you, for your extraordinary strength and your grace, through what is a remarkable childhood and young adulthood that will give you extraordinary strength and wisdom beyond your years for the rest of your life.”
“Hello Beautiful” admonished “trolls” on social media for criticizing Sasha and Malia for the pricey dresses, saying Americans footed the bills for their lofty tastes. However, apparently, the Obamas paid designers out of their own pockets.
“It’s always shocking how naive and idiotic some people can be when it comes to teenagers, Sasha and Malia Obama.”
In 2014, as the Christian Science Monitor wrote, Elizabeth Lauten, a then-rather obscure Republican staffer, resigned after she came under fire for “slut-shaming” Sasha and Malia Obama on social media. Lauten penned an open letter on Facebook criticizing the girls for wearing “short” skirts and looking bored at the White House Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony.
After advising the sisters to “have respect” for the roles they play in Washington politics and lambasting Barack and Michelle Obama for not having “respect” for their positions and the nation, she continued her diatribe of the minors.
“Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot in a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised, White House events.”
Others joined Lauten’s stunning critique. One person called Malia and Sasha “classless,” saying the “Bush daughters” would have never worn skirts so short.
As the MC writer explained, Sasha and Malia Obama, despite being private citizens for six months, are still in the crosshairs of trolls who scrutinize their every move. For instance, the Obama sisters recently attended the 2017 Lollapalooza Music Festival. There, Sasha was allegedly seen “making out” with a stranger. Meanwhile, Malia was caught on tape headbanging and gyrating on the ground.
Valenti points to the double standard that exists: On the one hand, Michelle and Barack Obama’s teenage girls are criticized for “being girls,” while Trump’s grown children — Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., particularly — are being eyed by federal investigators for possible criminal activity.
“Meanwhile, as the Right works itself into a tizzy over young women being young women, we’re treated to Don Jr., a grown man with children of his own, being called a ‘kid’ and ‘a good boy’ to deflect from a possible criminal link,” Valenti said. “Or Ivanka—also an adult and an adviser to the President of the United States at that—being defended as even the mildest of criticism is called out of bounds, and banking on the exaltation of white femininity to sidestep reasonable concerns over her role in the administration.”
The writer raises the fact that Donald Trump’s presidency has been clouded by controversy since he was sworn in as the 45th POTUS. The Trump campaign is under investigation by a special prosecutor for possible collusion with the Russian government in the 2016 elections.
As reported, the president has frequently come under fire for misogynist, racist, and xenophobic comments and has been largely bolstered by his base and conservative operatives. For that, Valenti says the Obama family is owed an apology.
“Here was a family free from controversy—a family with small children, at the time—who was attacked incessantly. A family who never struck back, a family who rose above and put the country first. They brought grace and seriousness to the White House (remember that?), and were repaid with years of hatred and racism.”
Do you agree with the writer that America holds Sasha and Malia Obama to a higher standard than Trump’s grown children? If so, do you think the Obamas are owed an apology?
[Featured Images by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images, Spencer Platt/Getty Images]