One of the things that I have always disliked about President Barack Obama is his evenness. He always seems to know the right thing to say at the right time and it always struck me as disingenuous. Despite the fact that I voted for him twice and generally really like him, this always just stuck under my skin. I guess I don't need to worry about this any more.
In introducing the California Attorney General Kamala Harris at a fundraiser he praised her intelligence and intellectual merit and then he added: "[She] also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country." Everyone laughed and he followed it with: "It’s true! C'mon."
Oh HILARIOUS, Mr. President. Locker room talk in public at a dinner where one of the few women was apparently on the menu? This just seems way out of line to me. And not just because it was "sexist."
It was sexist, to be sure. Commenting on a woman's appearance is never a great call. I mean, what if she were fat? Or ugly? Would it be OK to say it then? "She happens to be the fattest woman in the country!" Would they have found that so amusing? Because that IS the flip side of this. If commenting on her beauty is OK, then so is commenting on her lack of it.
It's more than that, too.
Harris' looks have stymied her for much of her career. They have created a barrier and led to accusations of her sleeping her way to her position, among other insults hurled her way. Yes, she is lovely. No doubt about it. But there are so many other facets of who she is and yet her looks always make the front page. If this were reversed -- were she unattractive or overweight -- we would all cry foul. But in this case, it's a compliment. Lighten up you bitter feminists. Right?
It is inappropriate to comment on a person's looks in an official way. I would not call Chris Christie "fat" (even though it is a fact) at a state dinner any more than I would call Scott Brown a hottie (even though that is also a fact). It is laughable. Absurd, even. So why is it OK if a man does it to a woman?
Let's say for instance, that I HAD complimented Brown's looks to his face. First I might be called a desperate slut (I am married, after all). People would have said I was inappropriately flirting. But Brown would have shrugged it off and been amused, maybe dismissing it with "I'm taken" and flashing his wedding ring. Meanwhile, Harris (as a single woman) does not have the luxury. When a man "compliments" a woman in that way, it changes the way the men in the room look at her (and the women, too).
Suddenly, everyone is saying: How pretty IS she? It's a set up. That's just sexual politics. Like them or hate them, that's the way it goes.
This was vastly inappropriate and a man in Obama's position ought to know better. Shame on him. This was a very disappointing move.
Did you think Obama was wrong for focusing on Harris' looks?
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