Childrearing

President Obama Wants His Daughters To Engage In Civil Discourse — That’s Why He Called Sandra Fluke

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Sasha and MaliaThere are some awesome fathers coming together over support for Sandra Fluke, who was called a “slut” and “prostitute” for being vocal about issues that concern her. David Friend, the CEO of Carbonite, is now just one of 26 sponsers who have been rapidly pulling advertising from Rush Limbaugh‘s show following his remarks. When explaining his reasoning for severing professional ties with the conservative radio show host, the CEO cited his own daughters. And in a press conference today, President Obama remarked too that he called Sandra Fluke because of his own daughters, Malia and Sasha.

The President wouldn’t comment much on the questions put forth by the reporter, one of which asked why liberal commentators have not been called out for similar sexist remarks (a portion of the debate that does need to be addressed). But he did say that when he heard about the insults slung at the Georgetown law student, he thought of how he wants his daughters to one day stand up for the issues they care about — even if he doesn’t agree with them:

“The reason I called Ms. Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on. I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they are being good citizens…we want to send a message to all of our young people that being part of democracy involves argument, and disagreement, and debate and we want you be engaged…”

Although President Obama has famously used his fatherhood to justify some not so girl-positive choices, his comments ring true for what has sparked this national conversation about misogyny in the public sphere.  Rampant slut-shaming, and even making insinuations that young girls are “slutty” for behaviors that aren’t even remotely sexual, prevents their ideas, their contributions, and their voices to be taken seriously in debate. Not acknowledging this type of lazy defamation of girls and women encourages our daughters to not only second-guess themselves and their opinions, but also permits us to second-guess them as valuable assets to our rapidly changing world.

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(photo: News Pictures/WENN.com)