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Obama Shares His Thoughts on How Beauty Standards Affect Black Women

His daughters have taught him a lot.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user The White House.

Being the leader of the free world is not an easy job. Every day you’re faced with tough challenges regarding foreign policy, the economy, and the never-ending political battles in Washington, D.C. But as the father of two teenage girls, Barack Obama may have an even tougher job when he goes home. It’s hard to believe, but now Malia is 17 years old, nearly an adult, and Sasha, 15, is in the heart of her teenage years.


Recently, the president opened up to Time about the tough beauty standards that minority women face, noting that the pressure to conform has “historically always been harder on African-American women than just about any other women.” Obama thinks his marriage has provided a good example for his children. “The fact that they’ve got a tall gorgeous mom who has some curves, and that their father appreciates, I think is helpful,” he said.

Obama also observed that beauty standards are becoming more inclusive as minorities are better represented in the media. “I do think the culture is changing for the younger generation a little bit more. ... You see Beyoncé or you see some of these pop stars and what both white, Latino, black children are seeing as representative of beauty is much broader than it was when I was a kid. You just didn’t see that much representation.”

Although Obama finds that beauty standards are becoming more inclusive, having daughters has shown him that challenges still persist. “I mean, Malia’ll talk about black girls’ hair,” he said. “She’s pretty opinionated about the fact that it costs a lot, it takes a long time, that sometimes girls can be just as tough on each other about how they’re supposed to look.”

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