It is disheartening to report that – despite public awareness – Sasha Obama is actually a teenager, and a teenage girl at that. Teenage girls hang out at music festivals and kiss other teenagers. What makes Sasha Obama any different?
In the first weekend of August, Sasha found herself at the annual Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Enjoying some good music seems like something any teenager would like to do.
Sasha was also photographed kissing a teenage boy at the festival. Again, she is not doing anything out of the ordinary for a typical teenage lifestyle. Still, what followed the release of the photograph was a series of criticisms aimed at Sasha and her parents, former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama.
According to Bustle, “among the criticism aimed at the Obama family was that Sasha and Malia lacked self-respect, had ‘poor judgment,’ and that their parents did a poor job raising them.” Most of the criticism stems from “conservatives on social media who felt that her behavior was ‘inappropriate.’”
Naturally, being the children of the former leaders of the free world draws a lot of attention from the media. However, other children of current and past presidents have not received nearly as much backlash as Sasha and Malia Obama.
Bustle states, “while every first child has been scrutinized and criticized by the press and public alike, some see the backlash against Sasha and Malia Obama, her older sister, as fueled by their gender and race.”
There is a double standard about women’s sexuality that made the kiss between Sasha and the teenage boy so fascinating to the public. “If a president’s 16-year-old son were pictured kissing a girl, charges of ‘bad parenting’ would most certainly be harder to come by,” the article points out.
According to a study led by a team of researchers at Brown University, “sexually active girls have 2.27 times the odds of being bullied compared to boys who are also sexually active.” The odds are that, if a young man, who also happened to be the president’s son, was caught kissing a girl at a music festival, he would criticized less than Sasha was.
However, because Sasha is a girl, she apparently cannot afford to make some of the choices that she is making. Alternatively, President Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., is able to afford making an error every day, according to Bustle. “His actions, which potentially carry the weight of legal and national security risks, are forgiven far easier by those criticizing the Obama teenagers for living teenage lives, brushed off as a ‘rookie mistake,” reads the article.
Clearly, kissing a boy has much more impact on the nation than Trump Jr.’s entanglements in foreign affairs.
But it is not just about Sasha being a woman. She has also been facing intense criticism for being black. According to the Daily Beast, “it’s important to think about how black women’s bodies have been historically treated when you see Malia and Sasha constantly being photographed and judged harsher than their white peers.”
While their mother, Michelle Obama, has faced similar criticism throughout her time as the First Lady, she remains a champion of standing tall in the face of backlash. She even admitted “that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color.”
Despite the difficulty of intersectionality, Michelle acknowledges that she still stands strong every day. Despite the attacks from her time at Lollapalooza, hopefully Sasha will stand strong, too.
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