Yes, that is the actual controversy.
During a speech at a fundraiser in San Francisco, California, Obama called his good friend and California Attorney General Kamala Harris “good-looking.”
“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake,” he said. “She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country — Kamala Harris is here. It’s true. Come on. And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years.”
Liberals took to their blogs and Twitter to berate the president over his “sexist” comment.
What now re: Kamala Harris? On what planet in his mind did he think that sounded like the right thing to say?— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) April 4, 2013
Obama's comment about Kamala Harris is disgraceful and really terrible for workplace equality nymag.com/daily/intellig…— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) April 4, 2013
But for once, I’m on Team Obama. It would have been one thing if he’d only commented on her beauty and didn’t acknowledge her intelligence or success at all. But he actually pointed out several of her positive qualities before bringing up her good looks. She’s a beautiful woman and there’s nothing wrong with calling attention to it. What woman doesn’t want to be called beautiful and brilliant in one breath?
A truly “sexist” comment would have been if he had objectified her and commented on a specific body part — not just simply calling her “good-looking.”
If that’s sexist, than I’m sexist all the time — and I’m a woman.
Just this week, First Lady Michelle Obama called out actor Chadwick Boseman for being cute, yet no one said a word. Why? Because he’s not an elected official? Because he’s a man?
The situations were the same. Both the First Lady and the president were pointing someone out for their appearance.
The media is arguing that Obama took away from Harris’ achievements by pointing out her attractiveness. It’s already a struggle for women to be taken seriously by men, and to them, the president just made it even more difficult with his comment.
I understand the struggle of wanting people to take you seriously. I look like I’m about 15. It’s hard enough convincing bouncers to let me into bars (yes, I am over the age of 21) let alone convincing the professional world I’m one of them.
But as a woman, do you really have to sacrifice your beauty to achieve true success? Why can’t Kamala Harris have it all? People called former President Bill Clinton sexy all the time. (I’m not really sure why but that’s besides the point.)
Why is it that women have to choose if they want to be perceived as the beautiful one or the brilliant one? Clearly, it’s more important to be successful than it is to be beautiful, but women like Harris should never be ashamed they have both.
The only person who has a right to be upset is the First Lady — but then again, she’s not so innocent of this crime either!