A loving husband and a good role model! President Barack Obama sat down with ballet dancer Misty Copeland for an interview with Time magazine last month, during which they discussed gender issues and social pressures, among other things. On the topic of body image, the commander in chief said he hopes that his appreciation for wife Michelle Obama’s “curves” helps his teenage daughters.
“The fact that they’ve got a tall, gorgeous mom who has some curves, and that their father appreciates, I think is helpful,” Obama said of kids Malia, 17, and Sasha, 14.
“When you’re a dad of two daughters you notice more,” he explained. “When I was a kid, I didn’t realize … the enormous pressure that young women are placed under in terms of looking a certain way.”
The president added that aside from his wife (and her killer arms!), celebrities including Beyoncé are also important positive role models for young girls.
“I do think that culture’s changing for the younger generation a little bit more,” Obama shared. “You see Beyoncé or you see some of these pop stars and what both white, Latino [and] black children are seeing as representative of beauty is much broader than it was when I was a kid. You just didn’t see that much representation. And that’s healthy and that’s encouraging.”
That said, Obama says “it’s still a challenge” when it comes to his household and many others.
“I mean Malia [will] talk about black girl’s hair and will have much opinions of that. And she’s pretty opinionated about the fact that it costs a lot, it takes a long time, that sometimes girls can be just as tough on each other about how they’re supposed to look,” he said. “And so it’s, as a parent, that’s a constant learning process that you’re trying to hold the fort. And that’s why somebody like Misty ends up being so important.”
In her documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale, Copeland admitted she suffered from body issues growing up. “I think body-image issues are not just a dancer thing,” she told Elle in October 2015 while discussing the project. “I think we’re much more in tune and aware because the body is our instrument and art and we stare at ourselves in a mirror all day, but I feel like it’s something that every woman experiences and every girl experiences. I wanted people to see the difficult side of my story. I wanted people to know I haven’t always been this perfect or strong ballerina that people see me as.”
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