President Barack Obama is being criticized for describing California Attorney General Kamala Harris as the “best-looking attorney general” in the country! Was it wrong for the President to compliment a female official’s looks?
President Obama made the comment this week at a Democratic fundraiser. However, before Obama said Harris was the “best-looking attorney general” in the country, he said, “She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated, she’s tough…she also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general.” (Of course, as this comment rockets around the internet, Facebook, Twitter and across network television, the ENTIRE quote is not given.)
Democratic strategist James Carville was critical of Obama’s remark, but did say that based on pictures, “it’s probably true!” Assistant editor of Salon, Katie McDonough, said the comment was “stupid” and “sexist.” New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait wrote, “The degree to which women are judged by their appearance remains an important hurdle to gender equality in the workplace.” He also described the President’s comment as “disgraceful.”
I am quick to criticize the ignorant and sexist statements men often make about women, but I find nothing wrong with what President Obama said about Kamala Harris. There is a significant difference between reducing women to sex objects and simply appreciating a woman’s beauty. And the President did acknowledge Harris’ character before her beauty.
I agree with condemning a man’s instinct to see every woman as a sex object, especially in the workplace, but we should not allow political correctness to rob us of our ability to express appreciation for beauty as long as it doesn’t replace judgment of character and accomplishments – and that goes for women and men.
There are many attractive females here at the radio station and often they are very well-dressed, but I find myself holding back and reluctant to express an instinctive compliment for fear that it might be perceived as sexist.
It’s okay when political correctness raises our awareness about being more sensitive to others, but political correctness is taking away our right to respond to each other as human beings – and that’s wrong!