The Cruel Social Media Shaming of Malia and Sasha Obama

the children out of political discourse” is a common refrain whenever
the children of politicians are attacked or otherwise maligned in the
media. Unsurprisingly, all bets are off when it comes to Malia and
Sasha Obama. This weekend, at Chicago’s annual Lollapalooza music
festival, Sasha was pictured kissing a young man named Matt Metzler.
The picture, of course, has gone wide—along with the misguided notion
that the Obamas are bad parents for letting their 16-year-old daughter
kiss a boy at a music festival. It’s similar to the right-wing’s
persecution of her older sister, Malia, where so-called reporters have
stalked her at parties to get photos of her drinking and having fun.
What it all boils down to is: When are we gonna leave these girls alone?
we now live in a time where right-wing vultures who refer to
themselves as “reporters” spend their time hunting for any behavior
from the left that they can judge and deem “inappropriate”—which is
ironic given their decided lack of reporting on the actual hateful
rhetoric of many right-wing media figures and our own president. But
there will always be those types of hypocrites eager to feast on others
for page views. One problem we aren’t fully addressing in the Sasha
and Malia leaks are that a lot of them seem to be coming from the
girls’ inner circles.

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Aug 6, 2017 at 8:24am PDT

It’s apparent that the person who leaked the image of Sasha
and Metzler was a friend. It was shared via Snapchat, with the caption:
“Matt gonna get Sasha Obama.” Either it was a friend of both of theirs
or at least a friend of Matt’s—one he felt comfortable enough having
around him and the former president’s daughter. It’s eerily similar to
last year, when Malia was caught smoking a joint at Lollapalooza, and
two years ago when Snapchats of her playing beer pong during a visit to
Brown University materialized online.
After the Brown incident, Malia received an apology via The Brown Daily Herald.
The paper’s editorial board wrote: “The motivation to take these
pictures was obvious: Being at a party with the president’s daughter was
an exciting, unexpected moment that many of us wanted to share with our
friends. We often do not think about our tweets and Snapchats reaching
anyone besides our friends and followers, and certainly not news outlets
with wide circulation like BuzzFeed. Many Brown students were surprised
and embarrassed to see themselves cited in the articles, as other Brown
students posted them on Facebook with disappointed captions that
criticized their peers for not simply leaving the 17-year-old alone on
her college visit.”

apology concluded with: “It is a shame that Malia was unable to visit
Brown and enjoy herself at a party without several news headlines coming
out about it the next day. While it is understandable that so many
students were excited about her visit, it is likely that few of us would
enjoy having strangers take pictures of us while we were unaware and
post them on the Internet. Malia did not choose to grow up in the White
House, and it is unfair that everything she does at just 17 years old is
subject to such harsh scrutiny.”
The party itself was
full of predominantly white students, which can’t be ignored when
discussing the social circles that the Obamas have found themselves in
as young women. While their parents might have grown up in diverse
cities like Chicago and New York, Malia and Sasha grew up in the White
House. As the daughters of the president, they were forced into a social
circle that is far less diverse with regard to race and social status
than their parents, so their general makeup of friends tends to lean
more white than black.


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