Growing up as a young woman is challenging enough. Society has programmed us to act, think and behave according to the status quo. Whether we’re being judged for the length of our hair or the length of our skirts, the unsolicited opinions of others often plagues our minds and, more importantly, our hearts.
However, growing up as the daughter of an elected official adds an unfathomable amount of criticism, judgment and bullying that neither you nor your parents intended or imagined.
As the daughter of two elected officials, I grew up under a microscope, and my family even received death threats during my childhood; however, I cannot imagine the level of bullying and judgment received as a member of the First Family.
The wreckless and irresponsible comments directed towards Sasha and Malia Obama by congressional staffer Elizabeth Lauten were nothing short of bullying — the bullying of teenage girls masked as concern by an individual with a clear political agenda who is much their senior.
“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department” stated Elizabeth Lauten in a bold open letter to the First Daughters, she continued…
“Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at the bar.”
You may not agree with the President and the First Lady on every or anything, and you are entitled to that right, but when you drag innocent teenagers into your antagonistic public opinions, we as women will not allow it to continue under our watch.
When publicly airing your grievances, Ms. Lauten, children should be off limits. Do not underestimate the long-term effects your casual, yet hateful comments can have on minors. Bullying is unacceptable and that also applies to congressional staffers with apparently way too much time on their hands.
Valeisha Butterfield Jones is the Co-founder and CEO of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), the Author of The GIRLPRINT, the former National Youth Vote Director for Obama for America 2012 and the daughter of U.S. Congressman G. K. Butterfield.
Follow Valeisha on Twitter/Instagram @valeisha