Let me start by saying Obama is not my favorite President. It’s not a race thing and it’s not because I think he’s the Anti-Christ or any of the other radical BS circulating out there. I’ve just never been a fan. I liked Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan and, yes, even George W. Bush; and even though I wasn’t alive at the time, I love John F. Kennedy.
That being said, I have to throw a red flag on something and come to his defense. The media is all over Obama for a statement he made about Attorney General, Kamala Harris. He noted that she was attractive. Here is the White House transcript:
“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you'd want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake. She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country — Kamala Harris is here. (Applause.) It's true. Come on. (Laughter.) And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years.” [via The Los Angeles Times]
Twitter was blowing up with tweets about how “stupid” and “wrong” it was for our President to note that a woman is attractive. Which got me thinking… If Obama had commented that a man was attractive or the “best looking attorney general in the country” would it have had the same backlash for the same reasons?
The answer is simple: No.
Your right-wingers would have balked because they would have said that, by a man commenting on the looks of another man, he was underhandedly supporting homosexuality. But would anyone have been outraged, calling the comment “sexist?” Doubtful.
Some people are arguing that “the degree to which women are judged by their appearance remains an important hurdle to gender equality in the workforce.” Red Flag! This hurdle applies to both men and women, not just to women. Statistically, attractive people are hired more than unattractive people despite their gender. It’s a hurdle, yes, but it is no longer a huge sexist hurdle.
“Women have a hard time being judged purely on their merits.” Red Flag! Again, so do some men. This depends on who is doing the judging and it is case specific. Everyone should be judged purely on their merits, regardless of race, sex, religion or appearance… but the operative word in this sentence is “should.” Idealism and reality are two very different things.
“Discussing appearance in the context of evaluating job performance is not a compliment. And for a president who has become a cultural model for many of his supporters in so many other ways, the example he's setting here is disgraceful.” Major Red Flag! Obama wasn’t discussing her appearance as an evaluation of her job performance. She already has the job and he noted previously that she’s damn good at her job. Nothing he said could even remotely be labeled “disgraceful.”
C’mon, people! Now you’re just looking for something to complain about. Since when is it not okay to comment on someone who is attractive? His comment wasn’t made during a job interview. His comment was in no way demeaning to her as a woman or as a human being or to women in general. It was a compliment and should be taken simply as one. Obama didn’t say, “she’s smokin’ hot” or use a demeaning phrase. He simply said she was good-looking…and guess what? She IS!
It was also a great publicity tool for her. Two days ago no one knew who Kamala Harris was…now, the world knows and we all think she’s pretty damn good-looking. Kudos to her!
I never thought I’d be defending Obama on anything, but this is so ridiculous that I just had to speak up.
Ladies, if a man says you’re attractive, be grateful not offended. Being attractive doesn’t mean you’re not good at your job. Being attractive doesn’t mean you’re not smart. It simply means someone finds your appearance pleasing… and isn’t that a wonderful compliment.
Five years ago, I was walking across the grocery store parking lot and parked next to my car was a pick-up truck with a man sitting in the passenger seat. It was a warm afternoon and his window was rolled down. I unloaded my groceries into the back of my Suburban and then walked to the driver’s door, which was right next to the truck’s passenger door. He smiled and said, “Girl, you make my socks roll down.”
I turned around and looked at him, somewhat startled by the remark and unsure of what it meant. I asked, “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
He grinned, a toothless grin, and said, “Oh, that’s a good thing, honey.”
“Thank you,” I said and got in my car, smiling.
Now, I could have been appalled by his remark. I could have said that the fact that he called me “honey” was sexist and demeaning; but it wasn’t. In his quirky way, he was telling me he thought I was attractive. It was a compliment not a testament to me being a weaker sex. I’m not weaker, I’m equal.
And that is what we need to remember… we’re equal.
Women have fought for equality for a long time and the result of that fight has brought both positive and negative ramifications. Women were once on a pedestal, but we are no longer. We have leapt off that pedestal and have proven we are strong enough, smart enough and good enough to excel in the so-called “man’s world.” But, let me pose this… Can we not still be treated like a woman and still remain equal?
When did a compliment become a “sexist” remark? When did the phrase, “a good-looking woman” become demeaning and disgraceful? Why can’t we be both smart and beautiful? Why is it okay for a man to comment on our intelligence but not on our beauty?
If the shoe was on the other foot and Kamala Harris would have said that Obama was a “good-looking President” would that have been considered a sexist and disgraceful remark? Hmmmmm…. something to ponder.
How equal is our equality when the pendulum swings the other way? If the shoe were on the other foot, I don't think there would be a foot in the mouth. So, why is there one now? ~