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Stop Trashing Malia and Sasha Obama

Photograph by Getty Images

Last week I watched in disappointment as some of my more partisan friends, in equal measures disgust and glee, shared story after story in their newsfeeds about America’s First Daughters, 13-year-old Sasha and 16-year-old Malia Obama, and their behavior at the annual turkey pardon.

The original story was about their antics at the official ceremony — eye rolling, crossed arms, slouched posture. Their teen disdain for the ridiculous tradition was apparent, you really couldn’t miss it. The original stories were from mainstream media, and I had a chuckle and scrolled right along.

Soon enough, though, Elizabeth Lauten, a Republican House staffer, got into the mix and tweeted negative remarks, accusing the the girls of showing a lack of class, being dressed as if going out to a D.C. bar and having a lack of proper role models.

Are you freaking kidding me? Their father is the President of the United States of America, their mother the First Lady, and they are lacking proper role models? Sheesh. I shook my head, held in my frustration and continued to scroll.

But I won’t lie. As the story unfolded and the staffer first apologized, then resigned, for her negative remarks about the First Daughters, I felt some disappointment in my friends who continued to feed the beast. What is to be gained, I wondered, about sharing mean girl rants about our President’s daughters? It seemed to me that sharing the story, and barely restraining glee for how it was playing out in the media, was as destructive and misplaced as the original tweets.

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And the story just won’t die. The Republican Party is blaming the mainstream media for paying so much attention to the original mean tweets from the House staffer. But with every share, every talking head, every comment and, yes, every opinion piece like this, the Obama girls remain firmly in the crosshairs of social media yuck.

This morning, not thinking it could get any worse for them, it got worse for them. At least for Malia.

An NFL player, 33-year-old Darnell Dockett of the Arizona Cardinals, a popular social media presence, reposted a photo on his Instagram account of Malia’s backside with the caption, “When is her prom?” 16-year-old Malia. Teen Malia. Our President’s daughter Malia.

I don’t care what your politics are, it is not okay, people of America, to suggest that America’s First Daughters – America’s, that means yours and mine — are behaving in shameful ways involving alcohol and behavior not befitting a 13- or 16-year-old because of an eye roll at a turkey pardon.

Apparently, in the harsh world of today’s social media, it is A-OK to refer to the First Daughters in sexual terms, drooling over their teen asses and suggesting they are dressed to drink and engage in lascivious behavior themselves.

Enough! Enough. Enough.

These kinds of antics make my mama bear instincts come out. Those same mama bear instincts are on Threat-Level Red right now. And climbing.

I don’t care what your politics are, it is not okay, people of America, to suggest that America’s First Daughters – America’s, that means yours and mine — are behaving in shameful ways involving alcohol and behavior not befitting a 13- or 16-year-old because of an eye roll at a turkey pardon.

These are girls, children, being publicly trashed and drooled over by adults. Where is the shame? Where is the civility? Where is the decency?

Let’s stop this, shall we? Adults talk the talk about bullies and proper online behavior, but we are terrible models for our children these days. Horrible. How can we expect our teens and tweens to manage their social media presence better than the adults in their lives?

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Can we all decide, as mothers, as someone’s parent, that we will not either trash or talk smack or lick our lascivious chops or share that which demeans or sexualizes our children? We can start with America’s First Daughters and then move on to your daughters and my sons and go from there.

Let’s do this. Today. Right now. Stop this nonsense.

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