President Obama managed to muse publicly about guarding the innocence of his preteen daughters twice in one week. Politico reports that he stopped by Sister Act on Broadway to joke
that the “Sister Act” movie series helped him decide to which convent to send his daughters Sasha and Malia, who are “getting a little too old and a little too cute.”
That comes one week after he went on Good Morning America to discuss Malia turning 13 and said
I should also point out that I have men with guns that surround them, often. And a great incentive for running for reelection is that means they never get in a car with a boy who had a beer. And that’s a pretty good thing.
He never wants his girls to grow up, and he’ll throw them in a convent or deploy the Secret Service to defend his daughters’ youth and (I don’t think the subtext is too hard to parse here) their chastity. Obama used the same kind of humor at the last White House Correspondents’ Dinner when he threatened to send predator drones to kill the Jonas Brothers (I don’t imagine that played well with the families of civilians killed by very real drone strikes in the Middle East either).
I’m sure if the Obamas had a son, they would muse about how he was growing up too fast and maybe joke about how he better behave. But does anyone think that Obama would be on TV talking about how he needed soldiers or drone strikes to keep away teenage girls?
The President is tapping into a rich vein in American pop culture of dads trying desperately to keep their girls chaste. But it’s a sexist one. Sasha and Malia deserve better than to be talked about on national TV as though their gender makes them fragile. Barack Obama has exhorted Americans that “It’s up to us to ensure that our daughters and granddaughters have no limits on their dreams.” Would be nice for him to take that to heart next time he’s tempted to joke about treating them like Rapunzel.