The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Growing up in the White House

US President Barack Obama with his daughters, Sasha and Malia.
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Last week the US presidential elections captured most of the global interest. Besides having been elected to a second term as President, Barack Obama is also the father of two brilliant girls; Malia, 14 and Sasha, 11. With so  public attention centered on the first daughters, one questions whether they enjoyed a normal childhood so far and whether they will experience a balanced adulthood in the years to come. How demanding is it to be the President’s kid? On the outside looking in, it doesn't strike me as an easy task for sure.

Malia and Sasha Obama were literally raised in the White House, after Barack Obama’s win in the 2008 US elections and the family’s subsequent establishment in the presidential premises. Sasha, who was 7 years old at that time, became the youngest child to reside in the White House after John F. Kennedy, Jr. who arrived as an infant in 1961. Until 2009, their activities in Chicago included soccer, dance, and drama for Malia, gymnastics and tap for Sasha, with piano and tennis for both. Soon after moving in the White House, the family obtained a puppy named Bo for the Obama girls. Another instant change in their lives was the shift from the private University of Chicago Laboratory School to the private Sidwell Friends School, known as "the Harvard of Washington's private schools," which is a common choice for Presidential offspring.

The proud father recently stated that the girls will still be able to do normal things like go to the movies and even date. He made a new promise to his daughter Malia that she will be given the opportunity to learn how to drive. Perhaps the Obamas have figured out a way to accomplish a form of regularity in their everyday routine and managed to convert the White House into a cozy home. A few days before his inauguration on January 20, 2009, President Obama published an open letter to his daughters in Parade magazine, describing at large his aspirations for every child in America. In the final lines he mentions: "These are the things I want for you—to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have.” 

There's a long of way to go until we get there, so we shall all seek to do our part in making this a universal reality for every girl.

-Magda Repouskou
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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