In her article “Strong, Smart, Beautiful?” writer Alice Robb criticized President Obama for calling his daughters beautiful during his re-election victory speech. Robb argues that by calling Sasha and Malia beautiful, he is subconsciously telling them that beauty is an aspiration, like a career.
From Oxionian Globalist:
Obama’s comments beg the question of why a girl’s beauty should be source of pride for her father— and why beauty should be a value lauded alongside strength and intelligence.
The President may have been directing his comments at only two people, but he had the ears of the world, and on a day that should have been a triumph for women, his remarks stung.
There has been a conversation amongst the
white feminist community about the implication of calling little girls beautiful and while I agree that the beauty standards in this country are atrocious, I think this conversation and Robbs’ article misses a very important point. In this society and much of the world, white women are seen as the standard of beauty and Black women are told they are the antithesis of that beauty. We’re told our skin isn’t the right tone, our hair isn’t the right texture and our bodies aren’t the right size and shape. Black women have been conditioned to hate their beauty for centuries. At one point, we weren’t even considered human and it’s arguable that this belief still exist. None of us are immune to it either. First Lady Michelle Obama, the mother of the girls Robbs is supposedly defending, has had her face photoshopped onto the most degrading and dehumanizing images. Black women and their beauty are constantly disrespected. There are plenty of little chocolate girls that don’t have a daddy to tell them they are beautiful. In fact, Black women are often told they aren’t good enough by family members and loved ones that have internalized white supremacist beauty standards. When I went natural, it was a joke to people. There are people that think “you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl” is a compliment.
So, for a white woman to criticize a black father for calling his daughters beautiful is insulting.
I know mainstream feminists supposedly mean well but sometimes it is best to stay in your lane.
What do you think about Robbs’ article? Leave a comment.