Politicizing Beauty: Should Obama tell his daughters they are beautiful?

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Alice Robb has an issue with Obama’s use of the word ‘beautiful’ to describe his daughters during his victory speech.  She is disappointed that Obama, who is seen as a champion for women rights continues to uphold an ideology that beauty is something that girls should aspire to.

I believe Ms. Robb has politicized a special moment. A father, in the midst of his triumph, praises his daughters for growing up to be like their mom. It’s an expression of his admiration and pride as a father and a husband.

Ms. Robb questions whether beauty should be ‘lauded’ alongside intelligence and strength. She believes that Obama’s words are not appropriate. Too often in society a girl’s worth is based on her appearance.

I agree. But that does not make Obama’s use of ‘beautiful’ inappropriate. Every woman and girl desires to be seen and recognized as beautiful. Not only in regards to her character but as it pertains to her physical appearance as well. Therefore, I am thrilled that Malia and Sasha’s beauty is affirmed by their father. Too often, girls who do not receive affirmation of their beauty at home, seek it out in the arms of strange men.

Further, in a culture that continues to uphold a white beauty ideal, black girls need to hear that they are beautiful.  Particularly, they need to hear it from their fathers. I hope Obama’s victory speech will serve as an inspiration to black fathers to tell their daughters and their wives that they are beautiful.

What do you think? Is Obama wrong to praise his daughters on their beauty?


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4 thoughts on “Politicizing Beauty: Should Obama tell his daughters they are beautiful?

  1. i dont believe thats what he means that his children should focus on beauty. in america, Most dads and husband do not tell their spouses and children enough that they are beautiful black queens, precious jewels, to hold their head up high and smile. society has taught little girls their age that black girls are “ugly” and do not make the cut. i dont believe a dad giving his beautiful daughters confidence and self esteem is wrong at all. i’d rather the dad tell them that they are beautiful 1st than some random guy who comes into their life and they fall for anything else that person says becuase they started out with low- self esteem and do not know their value and what they truley are. children ARE beautiful! and a blessing! the sky is beautiful! there is no maturity limitiation on the word!
    thanks esther that was an interesting blog, i had no clue people had a problem with a father complementing his daughters…

  2. Wow. I can’t believe Alice Robb actually wrote an article about whether or not it was appropriate for Obama to describe his daughters as beautiful. That’s rubbish. AND basing part of her argument on how difficult it would be to imagine a politician describing his sons as handsome? Honestly, it is articles like hers that make me feel bad for presidential families. Where they are scrutinized and picked apart for every thing… even a simple, proud comment from a father to a daughter.

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