the national interest

Obama in Need of Gender-Sensitivity Training

US President Barack Obama smiles before boarding Marine One helicopter from a field overlooking the iconic golden gate bridge in San Francisco, California, on April 4, 2013. Obama is in California to attend two DCCC fund rising events.
Not funny. Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

In remarks today, President Obama described California Attorney General Kamala Harris “as by far, the best looking attorney general.” Now, he had also described her as “brilliant,” “dedicated,” and “tough,” but … no.

For those who don’t see the problem here, the degree to which women are judged by their appearance remains an important hurdle to gender equality in the workforce. Women have a hard time being judged purely on their merits. Discussing their appearance in the context of evaluating their job performance makes it worse.

It’s not a compliment. And for a president who has become a cultural model for many of his supporters in so many other ways, the example he’s setting here is disgraceful.

Obama in Need of Gender-Sensitivity Training