13 Times People Were Unfair To Malia & Sasha Obama

by Lani Seelinger
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When the president has children, it goes without saying that those children will come under some very close scrutiny. First children often receive a lot of undue criticism for exhibiting normal teenage behavior — and the Obamas were no exception. It's difficult to count all of the ways that people were unfair towards Sasha and Malia Obama, whether it was by dissecting and attacking their behavior, criticizing their outfits, or hurling horrible racial slurs their way.

In one of the sweetest nonpartisan pieces of news to ever come out of Washington, the Bush twins left a letter to the Obama girls when they left the White House. The letter gave Sasha and Malia advice on how to take advantage of their new life in the White House, but also offered them some very prescient information about the scrutiny that they would soon face.

As the Obama girls were preparing to leave their home for the previous eight years, Jenna and Barbara wrote another letter to them — and again, they were right. Sasha and Malia may not be in the White House any longer, but they're still not out of the public eye. Unfortunately, that comes with a lot of unfair criticism still coming their way.


Sasha At Lollapalooza

The Obama girls attended Chicago's legendary music festival, Lollapalooza. While she was there, Sasha Obama was seen on Snapchat kissing a boy. That's right, a 16 year-old girl went to a music festival and kissed a guy. Not exactly groundbreaking or abnormal. And yet, the internet went crazy about Sasha's "bad-girl behavior." Sure, this paints a way more interesting picture than saying something like "Sasha's normal teenage behavior," but it's also unfair.


Malia Losing Her Phone

Ever lost your phone at a music festival? So has Malia Obama, also at Lollapalooza. The difference is that you're not a former president's daughter, and Malia is. This was one thing that some have pointed to as evidence of Malia's so-called reckless behavior, calling it a security risk.


Malia Playing Beer Pong


While making her college visits, Malia was caught on Snapchat playing beer pong, which is probably a part of 80 percent of all college visits (I made up that number, but does anyone disagree?). When Malia Obama does it, though, it's newsworthy and evidence of the Obamas being bad parents. I certainly don't like to think that all of my underage rounds of beer pong mean that my parents were bad parents, and it's not the case for Malia either.


Malia On Gateway Pundit

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The eldest Obama daughter was criticized by conservative publication Gateway Pundit after one of their reporters ran into her at a New York club and took a picture of her. Malia apparently didn't appreciate the paparazzi treatment, and she came over to the reporter to tell him off. While he did admittedly catch her, an 18 year old, in a 21 and older club, his claims that she "accosted" him are somewhat mitigated by the fact that he was attempting to photograph her without her permission first.


Sasha At The Beach

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Let's remember for a moment that Sasha Obama was born in 2001, which makes her 16. And yet, the number of people judging her "bikini body" on the internet is already through the roof. Is it ever appropriate to say that a 16 year-old girl is "showing off her curves" in Miami, whether she's the president's daughter or not? Say it with me now: NO.


Malia Dancing At Lollapalooza

Malia really let loose at Lollapalooza — yes, that same festival where she lost her phone — and somebody got some video of her dancing on the ground. Can you really blame her? She's spent the last eight years growing up in one of the most controlled environments possible. Who wouldn't need to blow off some steam after that? To certain conservative media outlets, however, this is evidently an embarrassment.


Racist Comments At Malia's Harvard Decision

As the daughter of two high achieving Ivy League graduates, it shouldn't be the biggest surprise in the world that Malia herself would end up going to Harvard. But even that decision wasn't something that the haters could let slide. Malia got racist abuse for her decision to go to Harvard, with people saying that it was an example of "black privilege" or "affirmative action" for her to even have gotten into the school. There were some even worse comments, but I won't list them here.


Sasha And Malia's "Short Skirts"

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Sasha and Malia attended their father's turkey pardoning at Thanksgiving in 2014, and both of them wore some fairly standard-length, above-the-knee skirts. This was possibly the most famous example of them getting criticized, however, because the criticism came from a Republican congressional staffer. The staffer said that they needed to "dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar," which drew fire from just about everywhere and ended in her resignation. I see nothing wrong with their outfits — and everything wrong with teenaged girls being slut-shamed for literally no reason.


Malia And Sasha's Pizza Party

On the scale of totally benign to totally insane, a pizza party with friends is pretty far towards the chill side. Not when it's Malia and Sasha Obama having a pizza party at the White House to celebrate their time there, however. When they do it, it's apparently okay for trolls on Twitter to make racist comments about their behavior.


The Sketchy Instagram Post About Malia

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When Malia was only 16, an NFL football player made a very strange Instagram post about her. Well, maybe strange is the wrong word, because we've seen this sort of thing all too often. An adult creepily posted a screenshot of Malia, seeming to comment on her body. He later denied that he had done anything wrong, but his intention was pretty clear.


The Girls' "Expensive Dresses"

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The Obama girls went to a state dinner wearing some pretty expensive dresses — but contrary to what their online critics apparently believed, they had not actually bought the gowns, which retailed for nearly $20,000 each. The dresses had been loaned to them, so taxpayers didn't have to fund anything. Still, Sasha and Malia's detractors couldn't miss the opportunity.


The Girls Going On Vacation

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Back in 2013, a Republican congressman criticized the Obama girls for going on vacation, saying that "When we’re tightening our belts, either all of us should do it or none of us should do it ... This is not acceptable." This congressman, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, is still in the House — but in case you're wondering, he hasn't commented about Trump's frequent trips to his own properties yet.


The Consistent Racial Slurs

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All four of the Obamas endured constant racial slurs, many at the hands of the new president, who insisted that his predecessor couldn't possibly be an American citizen. All of this was most damaging for Sasha and Malia, who had to hear this sort of thing throughout their formative years. Unfortunately, it hasn't stopped yet, so hopefully they've grown a thick skin — but president's daughters or not, constantly hearing that their father is somehow an imposter and their mother can be compared to a gorilla is not something that any children should be subjected to.

As Jenna and Barbara Bush said in their second letter, the whole country has had the chance to watch Sasha and Malia grow up "grow from girls to impressive young women with grace and ease." We still have yet to see where their lives will take them, but it seems highly likely that they'll live up to the compliment that the Bush girls paid them — despite everything that has come their way.