Sunday, 14 February 2010

It's Not OK

I'm not really interested in writing much about American politics. Partly because if I'm going to do day-to-day political stuff there's so much to write about in New Zealand.* But mostly because I find it even more alienating than I ever did before. To comment on healthcare, or the escalating war on Afganistan, or even the budget freeze, with outrage implies that you expected anything different. And I didn't. Obama was always going to act like president's of the united states do and act in the interest of the rich and powerful, not of everyone else. I think the important political work that needs to be done in America at the moment, which is responding to Obama's inability to meet expectations not with despair, but with organised opposition, is not something that can be helped from a blog. So I write about dollhouse.

But then it becomes the small things that rouse me to fury and writing - in particular Michelle Obama's crusade against childhood obesity. My favourite response to this was from a feminist historian. But I'm not even capable of that sort of rational analysis, because there's only one part in all of this that can I respond to. Michelle Obama frames her entire programme by discussing her daughters' bodies, what they were eating, when she got concerned about their weight, and what she did about it (out of general principle I'm not being specific about what she said - it shouldn't have been said and I'm not going to repeat it).

It is not fucking acceptable to use your daughters' bodies to make political points. It is a betrayal of your role as their parent to use your child's body in this way. It will fuck them up. It'll fuck them up even more if it's going to be syndicated on every news feed in every part of the world, until someone in New Zealand is offering their opinion on it.

Another woman, whose mother took similar actions when she was a child wrote about it in this fantastic article, she lays the damage her mother did right out there (I got the article from a truly amazing post on fatshionista).

I wish that someone would say "You must stop using your children like this" to the Obama parents, before the kids have to say it themselves.

* National Standards ARGH! GST Rise ARGH!


homepaddock said...

I was angry when I read the news story about this too.

Politicians and campaigners should be very, very careful about involving their children at any time and should never use their appearance as Obama did.

Deborah said...

Thanks for saying this, Maia. I was angry about those comments too.

I've tried very hard in my blogging to say only positive things about my children. And I try always to remember that they are my daughters, not talking points. Possibly I've slipped up from time to time, 'though I hope not. My elder daughter reads my blog from time to time; I don't ever want her to find anything there that is negative about her. (She is, of course, a wonderful and delightful child, and the joy of my life, along with her sisters, so it's not at all difficult to be positive about her.)