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?