Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 30, 2013

Obama's daughters stand tall as role models

WASHINGTON — Sasha Obama has done it again. Weeks ago the youngest first daughter wore a sweater in public that ended up selling out shortly thereafter. Now her recent ensemble at her father’s official Thanksgiving turkey-pardoning news conference has also generated headlines, and style watchers are anticipating that it may spark frenzy, too. This would simply mean that the 12-year-old is following in the footsteps of her mother, who is well-known for putting brands and designers on the map.

But aside from their fashion choices, there is another way in which Sasha and her older sister, Malia, may end up becoming role models and trendsetters for a generation of girls. They exude confidence not only in what they wear but also in how they wear it. Both Obama daughters are tall for their age and tall, period, and yet you never catch them slouching as if being tall were a shame. This is no small feat.

Speaking as someone who reached Malia’s height (just under 6 feet) when I was her little sister’s age (12), I know the pressure that can come with being “tall for your age” and towering over your classmates. Though I was fortunate in that I always had a mother who instilled confidence in me, plenty of tall girls struggle with body-image issues.

Stacia Brown wrote with humor about “Tall Girl Problems (and Solutions)” for Clutch magazine, with slouching being cited as one of the main tall-girl ailments. It often lingers into adulthood after starting when one feels like a giant in a classroom of seemingly normal-sized peers. (Pediatricians have also written about slouching among tall children, especially girls.) But most tall women didn’t need to read Brown’s column because we’ve lived through the scenarios and challenges that she lays out.

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