There’s been a bit of talk recently about the blasting of the Obama daughters, Malia and Sasha, for their attitudes and attire at the nationally sacred turkey pardoning ceremony this Thanksgiving. (Personally, I had been waiting with bated breath since last year’s ceremony to see how 2014’s turkey would respond to the grand gesture of a presidential pardoning. Like Sasha and Malia, I was nonplused by the animal’s reaction.)
We don’t need to rehash the details of this attack on the Obama girls– we’ve all read about it a few times over. The thinly-veiled political posturing is so lame and predictable that I’m not going to give Ms. Lauten’s comments any credence here. She used young girls as pawns in an attempt to attack their father, using the cheap, well-worn tactic of attempting to scandalize their [completely normal, non-scandalous] behavior. Because that is what we do when we attack women: call them out for not smiling wide when they’re supposed to, and not following the fingertip-to-hemline rule set forth by our grandmothers.
The media and the public seized upon these comments and rushed to the girls’ defense– not just because they are Malia and Sasha Obama, but because they are young girls undeserving of a grown woman’s vicious scrutiny (or anyone’s vicious scrutiny, for that matter). Which raises a question: do any women deserve it, regardless of age or station in life?
Let’s shift focus and look forward to 2015. I want to talk about what’s going to be “in” next year, but perhaps we should start first with what’s definitely “out.” What’s totally played out are these irresponsible character assassinations steeped in stale (yet pervasive) misogyny. Lauten’s words and their consequences show us that while these attitudes often seem to prevail, we are tired of seeing, hearing and reading them. The outrage that proceeded this attack, while complicated and multi-faceted in its own right, does illuminate something for me very clearly. We need to stop taking aim at other women and girls for their willingness and aptitude at “playing their parts,” as Lauten so unfortunately puts it.
So what’s in for 2015? I guess that’s yet to be seen. I’m hoping it might have something to do with empowering women to define their own roles and make their own decisions about how to live with class and integrity. For those who aren’t quite convinced, it might be time to bite your tongues and jump on that bandwagon. We’re now seeing what might happen if you don’t.