Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

So…Did President Obama Have To Sleep On The Couch?

obama-and-kamala

Using the strictest definition of the word, we do not “know” the President or the First Lady as much as we’d like to think we do. Actually, besides from a few biographical facts, we really don’t know shit about them.

Fortunately, we tend not to use the strictest definition of “know” when using information we can’t verify to help craft opinions on people we’ve never met. (It would just be too time-consuming.) So, with this looser, more palatable version of “know,” you can say that there are (at least) three things we all know about the relationship between Barack and Michelle Obama.

1. They appear to be very much in love. The best way to describe it would be that they seem to interact in a way that every newly married couple hopes they’ll still be interacting in 20 years.

2. During interviews, she frequently busts his balls, and he frequently goes out of his way to remind everyone she’s the backbone of the family. Basically, “Barack may run the country, but he has skidmarks in his drawls just like any other man.” 

Whether this is authentic or not, it’s a popular method certain couples use to help humanize a high status and/or powerful man. Some may think it’s empowering, others emasculating. (I know this practice is popular on many sitcoms and movies, which makes me wonder if this behavior is sitcom-influenced or if the sitcoms just reflected what already was happening in real life.)

3. Barack Obama is a very powerful man. All things considered, perhaps the most powerful Black man to walk the planet in the last, I don’t know, five or six centuries. He is also considered by many women to be a very physically attractive man. His romantic options are, for lack of a better term, limitless.

Since Michelle Obama is a very smart woman, she’s undoubtedly very aware of this.

So, with all these dynamics at play, when seeing the reaction to President Obama remarking last week that California Attorney General Kamala Harris was “the best looking attorney general in the country”, I couldn’t help but wonder how exactly this would go over in the Obama household.

Taking the Pres and the First Lady and any other politics-related concerns about women and sexual harassment and shit out of it, and just looking at it as “high status married man publicly compliments the looks of a very attractive subordinate…a subordinate who also happens to be single” you’re left with five likely reactions from the wife.

1. Amused, But Slightly Annoyed

(Perhaps this doesn’t put Barack on the couch for a night, but it may earn him a “Hmm, I’m sure Kamala’s can’t-keep-a-man-ass has a full carton of orange juice in her fridge. Why don’t you ask her for some?” next week if he complains that Michelle drank the last of the orange juice.)

2. Angry

(I doubt it. Barack doesn’t seem like much of a cad. And, when you’re not the type of guy to say things like this on a regular basis, you’re not likely to get a volcanic reaction when you do.)

3. Just Amused

(Considering what we’ve seen of them, this seems very possible. I can see Michelle teasing him for a minute about it, Barack trying not to laugh, and Malia and Sasha riding in on twin unicorns, jumping off, and giving everyone a big hug while they—and the unicorns—all hum the chorus to Love on Top.)

4. Apathetic

(Perhaps the most unromantic approach, as this is how we assume couples who view their relationships as business deals tend to react. Basically, “As long as my IRA is straight, I could give a damn. Go f*ck her for all I care. Shit, f*ck her with a Valerie Jarrett mask on. I gotta finish cashing all these Let’s Move checks.“)

5. Aroused

(Who knows, maybe they have the type of relationship where she gets turned on by stuff like this. I mean, she is from Chicago.)

You know, even more interesting than the assumed reactions is the automatic default assumption that when a man in a relationship acts in a way a man in a relationship isn’t “supposed to” act, couch banishment is an option. This holds true even if the man happens to be the most powerful man in the world.

Yet, it’s very rare to find examples of a woman being “punished” in a similar manner. You’re also not going to find the husband of a powerful woman saying shit like “Yeah, she’s great and all, but she leaves her period panties in the sink just like any other chick.” to the entire country on 60 Minutes. That men are the ones who have to be domesticated in some way in order for a relationship to work is a widely-accepted and socially palatable concept—as well as being one that kinda paints some people as hypocrites—so knowing what we know about the Obamas and how they interact, it’s possible that the leader of the free world was “urged” to sleep on the couch for one night, but unlikely.

But, again, we really don’t know shit about them, so who really knows?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    Considering Michelle’s career, and the fact that she’s probably had to shatter a few glass ceilings or two, I think she’d react similarly to why everyone else is pissed off: the domino effect his words have for women in powerful positions. It was just inappropriate. Nobody thinks Barack is thinking about stepping out on Michelle, so all your points of cliched reactions are moot. It was just inappropriate given the circumstances.

    I’d like to direct everyones eyes to this amazingly awesome article explaining why he was wrong, in layman’s terms: http://gawker.com/5993807/mansplainer-for-men-why-dont-women-like-it-when-you-tell-them-theyre-hot-in-public

    • Erika

      This is political correctness gone awry. Calling someone good looking is neither demeaning nor disrespectful. If she was a man, no one would think twice about the statement, and he has called men in high positions attractive. He was trying for some light humor and people have no sense of humor anymore. I think this is what is wrong with the modern feminist movement. People aren’t focused on the big issues and pick fights over benign statements.

      • Diamond JIm

        Erika I love you! Thanks for this.

      • H.H.H.

        ” If she was a man, no one would think twice about the statement, and he has called men in high positions attractive. ”

        At a speech last March, Obama pointed out his secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, by calling him “a good-looking guy.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/21/remarks-president-energy)

        A couple of months ago, Obama gave a shout-out to the “outstanding Secretary of the Navy,” Ray Mabus. “There he is right there — the good-looking guy over at the end.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/26/remarks-president-impact-sequester-newport-news-va)

        taken from – http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/04/kamala-harris-good-looking-obama-sexist.html

        • Yonnie

          Yeah. This. I get why people are fake mad. I get why it is inappropriate in a professional setting. But 1) people are blowing it way out of proportion and 2) he does it to men all the time. There was nothing “sexualizing” (yeah, I see that red squiggly line) about it.

      • Rewind

        Pretty much. Can’t say what you want without everyone putting extreme emphasis on every word and creating vortexes of unnecessary shyte.

      • http://runningwithhumans.blogspot.com/ dimaati

        +10 Erika!!!

      • http://TheNewEve.com Bunni

        EXCELLENT point. No one batted an eye about him calling male colleagues attractive…but of course, sexual harassment can only happen to women. *rolling my eyes so hard i fall asleep*

        • Ms. Bridget

          Power dynamics and history is what makes the difference.

          • Celeste

            Ms. Bridget, I disagree. The only difference that matters is if “she” felt harassed. Sexual harassment has always and should always be case by case.

      • http://blogs.24.com/mosnative/ Mos_Native

        Beautiful Erika! oops …

      • nillalatte

        “People aren’t focused on the big issues and pick fights over benign statements.”

        This right here! People do this constantly, get distracted from the real issues. Redirect & focus is needed in this ADHD society.

      • AnGe

        Agreed. When I first heard about the statement I didn’t think anything of it myself but new the media would have a field day.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      I like the mansplainer, but let me flip it up how it is for men. It’s hard for us to get a cheeseburger. Of course, we can get all the free ramen we want, thanks to the ramen delivery service on the internet that’s cheap and fast, but we want cheesevburgers. However, we can’t just order one like everyone else. Forget getting one at the DMV. We can’t even get one at Burger King. We have to dress just so, deliver our oder in a certain way, and even if we manage that right, some other dude who delivers their order better can get the ceeseburger. Oh, and the prices on the menu are not only higher than the cost of making it, some outlets demand you pay them for the right to even walk in their stores.

      Some men just give up and pay women for their cheeseburgers. Some men stick to the ramen noodles. Some fools use this scenario as an excuse to walk in Burger King’s and force the owners to make them cheeseburgers, though the police need to spend more money arresting those guys and less money telling Burger King to up their security. Still, I work hard on my cheeseburger ordering skills. I’ve even gotten to the point where the chick at the counter will actually listen to my damn order. Still, for most dudes, being offered a cheeseburger is so rare that we can’t really relate. Heck, most of the time, we’re just noticed as action objects, not people who might want something to eat. Maybe next time your plumbing needs fixed, you could offer the man a cheeseburger as well as cash, even if he looks like he needs to lse some weight. ;)

      • kid video

        All that burger talk is making me hungry/horny…and it reminds me of the episode of the Cosby show where Theo and Cockroach were referring to girls that they liked in high school as “burgers”.

        Are any of you VSS offended by the term “burger”?

        I wasnt turned off when a GF referred to me as having a tube steak.

        • IcePrincess3

          Burger? Idk…. I thought it was “taco.” :-)

          • kid video

            “taco”

            Hey,whateva turns u on…lol

            • SweetSass

              Dorito loco.

              • Rewind

                Then she’s a cheap cheesy taco.

                Hazard lights ON!

      • 2HourLunchBreak

        I hate that I both understood, agreed with and liked this lol. While it is a bit tangent to the conversation at hand, he has a point. To the novice or otherwise uninitiated, “placing an order” (as it’s phrased) can be a daunting experience. The timing alone can void the entire process and leave even the most prepared diner alone. Cast out. and still hungry….

        Anyway, that’s enough from me. Back to work

        • 2HourLunchBreak

          oh, and +1 to Todd for extending the mansplainer metaphor.

          – 2HLB

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        I want a Whopper now

        • SweetSass

          Ew.

          Five guys > BK.

          • h.h.h.

            you know what? 5 guys is a good look for lunch today!

            thanks sweetSass, you cheeseburger you!

            wait, i’m sorry for complimenting you.

          • Rewind

            Damn right.

            Five Guys is crack in a bun.

            • SweetSass

              For DC residents: Z-burger…

              I like a side of diabeetus with my heart disease….

              Zburger not only has delicious burgers, they have hand spun milkshakes in millions of flavors.

              • Rewind

                Never had a Z-Burger. First time I tried 5 Guys in DC, I lost my damn mind. Now they are everywhere in NYC.

              • Malik

                Fuddruckers > 5 Guys

                • SweetSass

                  Meh, I am on the fence of re: Fudd.

                  They have consistency issues.

                  Depends on the location/chef.

                • Rewind

                  I miss the Fuddruckers in College Park by University of MD

                • WayUPThere

                  BurgerFi > Fuddruckers

    • Rewind

      Honestly it wasn’t inappropriate. It was a joke. He didn’t call her hot. He didn’t call her sexy. He just called her good looking. But because he is Barack Obama (let’s be real, if this was Clinton, it wouldn’t have mattered, and George Bush literally gave a high ranking German official and shoulder massage AND NO ONE made a stink about that), people want to cry and scream how horrible he is.

      The more Barack does proves how sincerely stupid people generally are because they keep putting imaginative rules up that they want him to follow and keep forgetting that regardless of how far he’s come, he’s still a person.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Nobody thinks Barack is thinking about stepping out on Michelle, so all your points of cliched reactions are moot.”

      you don’t have to suspect infidelity to feel a certain way about your mate complimenting another woman’s looks. that’s just a human reaction

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    Meh, I don’t think Michelle cared. The President has been known to compliment looks before. He has even called some of his male Administration members good looking and handsome. I think that’s just his thing to compliment people’s looks.

    But, as Liz said above, it was inappropriate to complement Kamala in that way.

    Instead of complementing Kamala, the President ought to have nominated her for the SCOTUS or Solicitor General.

    I’ve been a Kamala fan for sometime now. She’s an amazing woman. Also, she’s a HBCU/ Howard grad and my soror. And, she’s is going to be the next Governor of California.

    • http://www.twitter.com/epsilonicus Eps

      Does anyone REALLY want to run California? That state is so dysfunctional.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        The State is difficult to manage. But, with such a huge economy and population with the right person at the helm, things can run more smoothly. I think Kamala is the right person to lead the State.

        • AmericanDream

          California still has an economy??

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            Lol. Yep, the 4th or 5th largest in the world.

      • Todd

        +1

  • The Other Jerome

    Clearly of all the choices, “3″ is the most likely.

    I must say, the whole thing seems overblown. It was a throw away joke at a fundraiser.

    Michelle and Barack are politicians. NEVER forget that. I guarantee you, she did not care. Barack would have to come way harder than that to raise her ire.

    • LMNOP

      I’m voting for number 3 too.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      is michelle a politician?

      • LMNOP

        Of course first ladies are politicians. If you watched Scandal, you would know this.

        • h.h.h.

          what’s Scandal?

          • SweetSass

            You must be trollin, bro.

            How is your rock this time of year? Crawl from out under there!

          • LMNOP

            Don’t talk to many women, huh?

            • h.h.h.

              well, i don’t want to be sued….so, no :(

      • Brian

        She kind of is. Think Sherry Palmer on 24.

      • The Other Jerome

        Oh yes she is a politician, she would -have- to be to be married to the President. Laura Bush was one as well. These women have to stay on script and push the company line. They’ll speak at political rallies and events. Then go on the radio and TV circuit promoting the President in a simi abstract way: The Pres is a good man, he has our best interests at heart.

        They are well coached

        They are well rehearsed

        It’s a job, a political job. Of course, the first wives have more leeway to “do good for goodness sake” versus the horse trading that often has to occur for an elected politician.

        That doesn’t mean they’re bad people, far from it. It just means that of all the levels of masks they have to wear, an incident like this has zero chance of cracking through.

      • veryaveragebrotha

        She isn’t one in the sense of holding an official political office.
        But she’s definitely one in the sense of how she thinks, calculating how the public will react to her actions and adjusting accordingly etc…

  • That Ugly Kid

    I’m guessing, but I think the reason why people are upset, especially women, is that comments like the one the President made, to a professional woman no less, seemingly detracts from her accomplishments/credentials/etc. So instead of getting acknowleged for her work ethic, perfromance, intelligence, etc, important things, she’s getting attention because her azz looks amazing in that dress. It’s insulting.

    Just spitballin’ here, Champ.

    • minxbrie

      You hit the nail on the head.

      Here’s the thing, it’s not that women can’t take a compliment or that we’re demonizing men every time they try and be nice to us. Sometimes the compliment is welcome, but most of the times, it’s not because it’s done at times when a woman hasn’t asked for the attention.

      There has to be a realization that as a man, you are in a place of privilege because all you have to do is say “Smile beautiful” and a woman is no longer a human being. Even if Obama didn’t intend to diminish Kamala’s accomplishments, he put her in a place that as an attractive woman, she has to constantly fight against. She becomes an object and as an object, that comes with a lot of loaded assumptions -like she’s actually not that special, she just slept her way to the top. Or she only earned all of this power because she’s attractive. That’s not fair because no one assumes the same thing out of a man.

      She’s also a woman in a male-dominated sphere and since we live in a culture where whatsherface can be on the cover of Macleans telling women that they have to man up to get anywhere, by drawing attention to her looks now we’ve put her under a microscope.

      And the biggest problem is that men, including Obama don’t seem to understand how loaded physical appearance is to a woman. I’m sure he probably meant it the same way that he always calls other male politicians good-looking, but it doesn’t matter. You’re the President. You speak out in your support for women and then you turn around and call a woman “the best looking general attorney in the country”?!

      It’s too early in the morning for me to ramble further. But thank you TUK.

      • Rewind

        I’m not trying to be a dyck, but I sincerely don’t like it when attractive people get mad that they are getting attention for being attractive. They accept all the benefits that come along with being beautiful, to the point where they think all the accolations they get are merited simply on their skills and accomplishments. That’s hilarious. So then to act like pointing out that being pretty is helpful to success but getting mad at that fact, is seriously weird.

        Whether man or woman, this world loves beauty and holds a high standard because of it. So if you are beautiful, you can’t have it both ways. If you want to be known for your skills, well then sadly enough, you might have to ugly it down. Because only ugly people get praise for nothing but skill.

        Like I said…I know I am coming off as a jerk for putting it that way, but that’s the way this world works, and unless I see beautiful people turn down any benefits that come along with being beautiful, I sincerely don’t see what reason there is to complain. You have to accept the good with the bad.

        • Wild Cougar

          I’m gonna have to agree with Rewind here. There is a such thing as attractiveness privilege. There is white privilege, male privilege, tall privilege. There is big titty privilege and big ass privilege big d*ck privilege.

          If you are attractive, your life will be more pleasant because people will give you more opportunities, they will assume you have positive qualities. Its totally possible that attractive privilege is equal to white privilege or male privilege in quantity or quality of benefits.

          I certainly recognize that I get better treatment when I look my best. I’m sure other people notice that. Maybe they ignore it, put it in their pocket and only see the privilege others have.

          • Sweet GA Brown

            I like your approach because then this becomes an issue of “attractive-ism” rather than sexism.

            Would it be safe to say that the POTUS engages in attractive-ism and that we shouldn’t be focused on the fact that he made this comment about a woman? This would change the platform to involve men, as it should.

            We all practice attractive-ism everyday. Did Obama make me pause for a moment with his statement? No. Kamala is a good-looking(well put together) woman thats doing her thing. That doesnt mean that the quality of her work isnt as good or better than someone less attractive because she is easier on the eyes. She is just doing her thing.

            • Rewind

              That’s the route I would work with. It’s not even like he’s making her sound like she only got her job by being hot. CLEARLY, she’s where she is because good at what she does. Her beauty helps but beauty can’t change government, yet clearly her skills have.

          • Rewind

            Damn good point. Privilege always exists if one person has something another person doesn’t. And it always gets used. So there’s no reason to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

            • minxbrie

              I’m actually so happy about the discussion that came out of this, because it really is a matter of privilege and how it changes depending on where you are in life.

              Lee Ann Bell would be proud.

              But also, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There’s plenty of unattractive people out there who are being heralded as good looking- just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean others don’t.

              • Rewind

                You are certainly correct about that. Beauty is still about perception, but we know how society works: the general consencus = truth.

    • curlygirl

      Yeah, but he made that comment about her looks, AFTER he spoke about her professional accomplishments. This was much ado about nothing. I think the only people who are upset are ugly people who are never complimented on their appearance, or attractive people who are hardly ever complimented on anything besides their looks. Obama is an equal opportunity inappropriate comment maker as he’s complimented both men and women on their attractiveness. There are real sexism issues in the workplace, and this isn’t one of them.

      • LMNOP

        Yeah, I don’t quite get this. I mean if you’re talking about how great someone is, why is it so bad to include being the best looking attorney general in the country? It’s not like he said “and look at that a.ss.” Which, for the record, would have been hilarious.

        • curlygirl

          or as she joined him onstage told her to “turn around and show em what u working wit”. I think sometimes we are too politically correct for our own good.

          • LMNOP

            that is the funniest mental image. And it’s funny because we know he would NEVER say anything like that. Not only is Obama very respectful, he is very careful.

            • Sweet GA Brown

              I guess we should have took pause if he only mentioned good looking men that work for him and no women. I guess folks would have slept better at night.

        • Yonnie
      • Negro Libre

        What if we replace Kamala with Condi, do we still get the same result?

        • http://www.twitter.com/epsilonicus Eps

          Makes me go hmmm…

        • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

          LOL, is it only offensive if the woman actually is…”traditionally” good-looking?

          • camilleblu

            that was going to be my question…b/c no offense, but condi isn’t “good looking”.. and if that is that case, then i think no – we would not have gotten the same response – people would have just been like “awww – he’s trying to say something nice about her besides she’s so smart – how sensitive of him”

          • Wild Cougar

            Welp

      • http://twitter.com/SoulaPowa SoulaPowa

        Thank you, Curlygirl. It’s like people aren’t reading the entire quote. They just get the soundbite and it’s Shirley Sherrod all over again.

        The full quote again for the cheap seats… “She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated, she’s tough…She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general…It’s true! C’mon.”

      • Sandpaper

        @Curlygirl,

        ding ding ding ding!

        You are absolutely correct.

      • cilgen

        I just want to reiterate curlygirl’s point which seems to keep getting lost in all the discussions throughout cyberspace about this “incident.” He called her “good looking’ AFTER he enumerated several other attributes which spoke to her professional capabilities and acumen.

        I do understand that it’s important for women to be valued and appreciated in their totality, and not merely for their looks. But, if someone is kind enough to pay me a compliment about the way I may look on a given day (especially at this stage of my life!), I’m going to take it in the way I would hope it was offered, and keep stepping.

        Kamala Harris is a beautiful woman. Everyone can see that. But she is also extremely capable, and everyone can see that, too. Those two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

      • That Ugly Kid

        See, here’s the thing, I actually agree with you. This wasn’t a big deal to me at all. I’m just pointing out why I believe a lot of people are upset. So why I don’t agree with how this whole situation is turning out (I think the reaction is severely overblown) I can see HOW people came to overblow it.

    • http://Twitter.com/ktemjin Kaname

      +1 TUK. Right to the heart of the matter!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      forget about why others are upset, though. how do you think it went over at home?

      • cilgen

        I’m going to vote for #3, Champ. I think Michelle was amused.

        Even though we don’t really know them – as you said – I do believe that what we see is the truth of their relationship. And what I see is a committed couple, deeply in love, and secure in that love – the operative word being “secure.”

        That’s a model we can all strive to emulate. It’s wonderful to witness.

      • Sweet GA Brown

        Michelle probably didn’t blink an eye. I imagine it takes a certain type of woman, thats not easily phased, to be married to and support a politian and President. There are more pressing things to worry about than in what part of his statement did he mention her looks. I suppose if he didnt then she would have a problem. Im a firm believer that in the grand scheme of things its the person you dont know about that you have to watch out for. Michelle ain’t checkin for Kamala. She probably thinks Kamala is an attractive woman to and wondered if she had that same suit in blue.

      • That Ugly Kid

        I think Michelle was amused to be honest. She knows her husband, and also knows that comment was pretty much an attempt at some light humor. I don’t think the President had to sleep on the couch at all.

      • WayUPThere

        It probably went over much better than Paula Patton’s reaction to the recent unrated video for Robin Thicke’s single w/ T.I. and Pharrell, Blurred Lines. I can’t be the only one wondering how Robin got away with that.

  • Reason

    When I first heard about the controversy I immediately wondered how it would play out by race. Remember POTUS was called out by white liberal feminists for calling Sasha and Malia beautiful in his speech after being re-elected. However, those white liberal feminists got blowback from a lot of their black female counterparts who pointed out that black girls don’t get the privilege of hearing how beautiful they are from mainstream society the way white girls do. And like clockwork when CNN had two pundits on to discuss Pres. Obama’s latest flattery controversy black male Dem. strategist Cornell Belcher made that same argument when facing the white female brought on to state why the president’s praise of Ms. Harris bordered on sexism. I think most black people (read: black women) are just glad Ms. Harris was black.

    I personally don’t care about the issue. I understand why his critics were upset but NY magazine pointed out that Pres. Obama actually flattered more men on their appearance than women (Ms. Harris is actually anomaly). Also, POTUS and A.G. Harris are friends. Furthermore, I can’t help but feel uneasy about Slick Willy (i.e. Pres. Clinton) not hearing boo from liberal feminists in regards to his actual womanizing. In case ya’ll aren’t aware, Ms. Lewinsky’s life isn’t as good and whole as Bubba’s post-affair. This is why white feminists have had a hard time completely locking down the confidence of women of color. The cynic in me is apt to believe that (white) feminists were firing warning to POTUS that a Lewinsky 2.0 in the White House ain’t going down.

    • Charlie

      Just curious, what is your definition of feminism?

      • Reason

        Whatever, the definition of racial equality is. Yeah that.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      And you nailed it. I can see why people are upset, but considering his context and his rap sheet, breaking it down to objectification is out there.

    • LMNOP

      + a million.

      and yeah, respectfully complimenting a woman’s appearance is A LOT better than the way Clinton treated women…

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “When I first heard about the controversy I immediately wondered how it would play out by race. Remember POTUS was called out by white liberal feminists for calling Sasha and Malia beautiful in his speech after being re-elected. However, those white liberal feminists got blowback from a lot of their black female counterparts who pointed out that black girls don’t get the privilege of hearing how beautiful they are from mainstream society the way white girls do. And like clockwork when CNN had two pundits on to discuss Pres. Obama’s latest flattery controversy black male Dem. strategist Cornell Belcher made that same argument when facing the white female brought on to state why the president’s praise of Ms. Harris bordered on sexism. I think most black people (read: black women) are just glad Ms. Harris was black.”

      interesting point

      • Wild Cougar

        A lot of white women get seriously angry when a black women gets noticed for being attractive. It sounds stupid and petty, but it happens A LOT.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          i’ve seen this happen with white men, too. on this basketball message board i frequent, someone posted some pics of chris bosh’s wife at the beach. the black guys thought she was hot, and the white guys couldn’t grasp how someone could find her attractive. this devolved into the white guys saying “only dudes who cant pull thin white or asian women like “whales” like this” and the black guys saying “yall just mad cause your d*cks are too small to handle all that”

          • Wild Cougar

            I really, really, really don’t understand the emotion behind the anger at black women being seen as beautiful. There is personal preference and there is this…….like actually taking personal offense and becoming visibly angry that a black woman could possibly be seen as attractive. I’ve seen it personally and it baffles me and makes me laugh. When I was walking around with the symbol of female attractiveness and worth ( a big rock on my finger) I cannot tell you how many white women looked at me and got visibly salty.

            Not to mention the numerous bloggers who use up significant bandwith to repeat over and over that black women are never to be seen as valuable in the dating marketplace. *clears throat* What’s the deal with that? Like why do they care so much?

            Can anyone enlighten me?

            • Rewind

              It’s not just black people. I think it is a universal issue. Many people of one race can’t see the beauty in another.

              My girl, on my occassions, has said she can’t understand how someone like Taylor Swift or Gwentyh Paltrow can be called beautiful. But in the eyes of White America, they are beautiful, so even if we don’t personally see it, their perception still counts.

              People stick to what they know but refuse to acknowledge their limited understanding of the world is trumped by reality.

              • Wild Cougar

                Its one thing to not see the beauty in another race. I’m talking about anger. Maybe you haven’t seen it, but some people show real anger when a black woman (who isn’t thin, light skinned and with straight hair) is seen as attractive. Like they are personally offended by the idea of it.

                • minxbrie

                  That also comes with the territory of being a racialized person. You’re not SUPPOSED to be beautiful because we live in a world that is increasingly being influenced by European standards of beauty, if you’re not falling in line, there’s something wrong.

                  And maybe that’s why white feminists are pissed that Kamala Harris was called attractive (because she does look more Euro-centric) but clearly had no problem with letting the Onion call Quevenzhane a “C*nt”.

                • AnGe

                  I know what you’re talkin about WC. Ive seen it. It’s almost a “why you” kind of a vibe. How could someone find you attractive if you look nothing like me or for a man’s case how could you find attractive the type of girl that typically never shows me any attention?

          • Todd

            Oh I have seen that debate before. Always fun for the whole family. ;)

            Now if Adrienne Bosh would either grow and/or stop scamming rich Black dudes….

        • SweetSass

          TRUTH!

  • Charlie

    I can envision the response going both ways if it were a female president-male attorney general situation. So I think it was inappropriate, but not in to overblown way it’s come to. He meant it from a light hearted compliment way, while people are turning it into him not really respecting her. I don’t think Michelle is mad; shes probably letting the consequences speak for itself, with a bigger smirk every time it gets more coverage.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “…with a bigger smirk every time it gets more coverage.”

      i can totally see this happening. she’s just like “i told you so”

  • http://GenevaGirl.net Geneva Girl

    Well, it’s clear what Barack likes: tall, intelligent, athletic, black women. It was indeed a stupid remark, but much ado was made about nothing.

    I’d bet that Michelle was amused, but she will remind him not to make such a bone-headed remark again.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Well, it’s clear what Barack likes: tall, intelligent, athletic, black women.”

      who doesn’t?

      • SweetSass

        Obsidian. He clearly thinks we have 0.0000000001% market value.

        • Kickandasnare

          *shots fired*

  • http://www.thefashioncurves.blogspot.com caramel eclair

    I don’t think Michelle was bothered by it all. #aintnobodygottimeforthat Neither was I. I just thought it was an attempt to be comical and slick lol!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      like most gfs/wives, she was probably more bothered by him publicly displaying his corny humor than anything else.

  • Ani-Q

    Clearly I miss the memo on the objectivity concerns and possible sexual harassment surrounding what the POTUS said, cause I am all for the Beyonce mantra of “Who run this motha******”. Anyway, like Reason said, this is not the first time POTUS has come under fire for physical beauty comments. “Remember POTUS was called out by white liberal feminists for calling Sasha and Malia beautiful in his speech after being re-elected.” Which was weird to me because in the same breath of condemning POTUS for saying his daughters are beautiful, the FLOTUS appearance was (and usually is) the topic of the day. What she is wearing, her hairstyle, her fitness of body, etc.
    Nevertheless, I honestly thought POTUS was making a joke on how ‘unattractive’ previous attorney generals, predominately old white males, were. I am not sure why I thought so; maybe because I have never felt insulted being called good-looking or beautiful and I am a bit confused when just commenting on beauty of face is going to be a ticking time-bomb for sexual harassment suits instead of suggestive actions and innuendos. For me, the offence with regards to commenting on my physical appearance begins with you using it as a cover for another action. Like saying how beautiful I am as you do the ‘accidental touch/brush against me; ‘the lean in’; the “whipering playa” and so on.
    Furthermore, there is a slippery slope that feminism will have to be aware of. For example, I had a few chuckles from yesterday post by the ladies who attended the VSB party, commenting on how sexy Mr. TX10 and MR. Meech are and whether or not Tx can backup his 10 inch. Also,(Champ sort of touch on this), women have described the POTUS in terms of his attractiveness instead his Commander in Chief credentials. In other words, the reckless use of the objectivity/sexual harassment banner and the tug-a-war of equality might cause women to fall on their behinds (cant have your cake and eat it too). Once again, context of a joke about the opposite gender is important.
    Anyhoo, I thought nothing of what the POTUS said and I hope the eye rolling, sassy and ever beautiful FLOTUS had a Kat Williams’ moment and was like “say my hair ain’t luxurious, when you know it is”.

    • http://blogs.24.com/mosnative/ Mos_Native

      Yep, context is everything. He didn’t lick his lips or grab his nuts or anything when he said it …

      and, it is possible for Kamala to be as qualified/competent as she is AND look good – like POTUS, for instance.

      • LMNOP

        And I bet before becoming president several senior at the time people commented about Obama that way. Doesn’t seem to have hurt him.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “Yep, context is everything. He didn’t lick his lips or grab his nuts or anything when he said it”

        that would have been awesome. and the best gif ever

    • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

      “Nevertheless, I honestly thought POTUS was making a joke on how ‘unattractive’ previous attorney generals, predominately old white males, were. ”

      i assumed the same thing

      • LMNOP

        yeah, I think it is both a compliment to her and pointing out that she doesn’t look like the stereotypical/ typical unattractive, 60+ year old white men.

      • Sweet GA Brown

        +100

    • http://saysmeblog.wordpress.com/ Aly

      For the record, I don’t think what the President said was sexu@l harassment.

      But, I also think it’s unfair to compare what Obama said to general comments about someone’s appearance. None of the examples that you provided are in the context of a work relationship. The President is Harris’ superior, and generally speaking shouldn’t make comments about her appearance.

      • h.h.h.

        “The President is Harris’ superior, and generally speaking shouldn’t make comments about her appearance.”

        can you expound on this a little bit? because i brought this up with other folks, and i was told since she is the California AG, her superior would be the governor of California, and since she’s a state AG, she doesn’t report to the Federal Justice Department or the Federal Executive Branch.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          The President holds sway because he is the one who can appoint/ nominate her to certain positions, such as to the Supreme Court. So, although he is not her direct superior he can negatively or positively affect her career.

          Also, the President is the head of the Democratic Party, in that role he is her direct superior.

          • h.h.h.

            ok gotcha.

      • Ani-Q

        I know it is unfair. I wasnt trying to offend you and others, but I was trying to make a point. The ‘you do it too’ argument is on repeat and I know it is going to be a major road block in gender equality whether we agree with it or not.
        Also, I dont think talking about objectivity in terms of work and who said is going to be strong enough argument especially when POTUS was put on blast for calling his daughters’s beautiful. That too is not in context of a working relationship and it creates a nice neat hole in the superior argument.

        • http://opinionatedmale.com Medium Meech

          I do believe that context is important and that false equivalence is a simplistic and erroneous argument for a lot of gender issues, but this is really well reasoned and well stated response.

  • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

    But don’t you realize? If women have to be attractive and smart, then some smart women can’t get ahead. This just messes it up for the next bright girl who may not get that shot because of her looks. Also, a man has to be attracted to whoever meets his intellectual values. Who cares about signs of health, beauty and reproductive fitness? Who cares about his own psychosocial values? As long as the woman have value however she defines it, the man is required to be sexually aroused by the standard. Since men have projected their values onto women for years, women have the right to take away all agency from men for all time. ;)

    I presume that Barack and Michelle are probably laughing this off over breakfast before heading off to the next series of meeting. Still, embedded in the criticism is a dangerous, passive aggressive form of control, and it makes me feel icky.

    • Petitekayee

      Haha. You’re right. Life is unfair and aesthetic bias is something some people have to face on a regular basis. Cold world.