When It Comes to Girls, Obama Doesn’t Think Pink

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Barack Obama’s feminist radar is apparently on high alert. At a photo shoot with Parents magazine in Butte, Montana this past weekend, the presumptive Democratic nominee nixed one of the props his staff had supplied for a playful picture of his daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7.

The turn-off?  Cotton-candy colored baseball gloves.

"Pink mitts?" he asked incredulously as he tossed them back to one of his aides.  "We’re not going to have pink baseball mitts, I’m sorry."

He later talked to Parents about the sports his girls play, including tennis and soccer, but not, to his dismay, basketball. He didn’t mention anything about baseball, but it’s a good bet that if Malia and Sasha hit the field, they’ll be using brown-leather mitts—not girly pink ones.

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  1. by Marketing Mama

    On July 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Awesome – I’m happy to hear he nixed the pink. I hate that so many things are pink anyways…

  2. by Mama for Obama

    On July 7, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Awesome. That’s just one more reason why I’m voting for him! I have a baby girl, and I’m vehemently anti-pink.

  3. by My three daughters

    On July 7, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    What a great dad! This kind of awareness alone is enough to earn him my vote!

  4. by mannequin

    On July 7, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I don’t get it. If pink carries the connotation of femininity, I can understand why a man may say “no thanks”, but what exactly is wrong in rejoicing in ones femininity if you are female?
    I am not a feminist by any way, shape or form; I just do not understand. Is pink, to some, a symbol of weakness and frailty? Yes, it is a delicate color but delicate need not be weak. Witness the flower.

  5. by Joy

    On July 7, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Good for you Mannequin.
    What the heck is so wrong about PINK? Its just a color. It was just a photo shoot. Jeeze. Sometimes a little color in a picture adds personality! Ah well. Hope he lets them have pink soccer balls if they want to.

  6. by Tara

    On July 7, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I think the pink mitts are cute (saw some at Target) but what’s frustrating is I have a lefty and they don’t make right hand mitts in pink. Left hand discrimination!

  7. by Paul

    On July 7, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I think the last few comments are missing the point of Sen. Obama’s objection. The issue isn’t the pink itself; it’s that only the girls’ gloves are pink. It implies that boys—who are real athletes—use real, brown gloves. Frilly, cute little girls use pink gloves because they don’t really play baseball; they just pose. I imagine that Obama wanted his daughters to be portrayed as active, athletic girls who are just as capable and serious as their boy counterparts.

  8. by Dayna from DesMoines

    On July 7, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Paul totally gets it! Any enlightened mom realizes what a turn-off it is for girls who aspire to be serious athletes to be exposed to girly-looking equipment. In fact, when I go into the “girls” section of the toy store, I get nauseous from Pepto-Bimsol pink overload.

  9. by Jill

    On July 7, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    “Any enlightened mom”. Gag.

  10. by Dayna from DesMoines

    On July 7, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Yes, Jill, enlightened. You got a problem with that?

  11. by Val

    On July 7, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    This issue has everything to do with being politically correct at all times so you dont step on sensitive people’s toes. My daughter plays softball and soccer..she asked for the pink glove because in her words: “this pink glove rocks!”. She likes the idea of bringing the color pink into a ball game…it shows that “real athletes” are both male and female, regardless of the colors they prefer. If anything, teaching your kids to use a brown glove to be on equal footing with boy players also sends the message that there’s something “wrong” with liking a pink ball glove…those girls are being taught that a “girly pink gloves” are bad and brown ones are good. I wonder if Obama’s girls girls eyes lit up when they saw those gloves like my daughter’s did…forget about the fact that both colors performs just as well when slipped on ones hand. Obama says, “not my girls!” I say, why not let them decide?
    Its just one more mountain being made out of a molehill, imo.

  12. by Sam

    On July 8, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Pink is a color that is linked to gender in a way that no other color (at least in American culture) is.
    Here are some words and concepts that are often linked to gender, directly or indirectly.
    hard – soft
    strong – weak
    intellectual – emotional
    thinking – feeling
    rational – irrational
    substance – ornament
    active – passive
    Pink by itself doesn’t mean anything – the reason it is awkward/distasteful in this context is because of all the cultural baggage that comes along with it.
    Also consider the fact that a pink baseball glove is kind of ridiculous in the first place. If these were two boys, they wouldn’t have been given anything other than regular, ordinary baseball gloves.
    So I think he’s just looking out for his kids. Good for him.

  13. by Reyna

    On July 8, 2008 at 2:05 am

    I agree with Val. Let the girls decide.
    I also think that a lot of people are reading more into Obama’s reaction than there really is. Maybe, deep down inside, he wishes he had boys when it comes to sports and the pink gloves bring him back to reality! Oops, did I write that out loud?
    And to be voting for him because he’s anti-pink…WOW!

  14. by Sarah

    On July 8, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Who cares what color the daughters equipment is. It’s not like it’s a life altering decision. All that article showed to me is that he’s controlling. Why not let them decide.

  15. by Courtney

    On July 8, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I’m sure he would let them decide — he just didn’t want some outsider to push them on the girls. In my mind, this is a great dad.

  16. by Neha

    On July 8, 2008 at 9:51 am

    I can’t wait to see the spread in Parents magazine! Both, him and michelle, seem like wonderful, hands on parents.

  17. by Renee

    On July 8, 2008 at 10:04 am

    “All that article showed to me is that he’s controlling.” Wow, Sarah, isn’t that what parents are supposed to do…ya’ know, control their children? The pink gloves are tacky and insulting to any female athlete. Period.

  18. by Elizabeth

    On July 8, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Wow. Look at all the controversy a pink glove stirs up! I think Sam makes a great point: If it were 2 boys, they wouldn’t have tracked down blue gloves for them. Controlling? Wishes he had boys instead?? Come on, people. We make decisions for our children every day based on our own (not our child’s) preferences. Lighten up!

  19. by Sarah

    On July 8, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Raising kids is not about controlling kids. It’s about guiding kids to make good choices in life. I let my children make many of their own decisions. It helps them develop their own identity and become their own person. Now, not if it’s a life threatening decision obviously, but equipment color, what to wear, what cup or dish to use, what sport to play, let them decide. I have found that children do better, try harder, and behave better when they have some say in the matter.

  20. by Jennifer C

    On July 8, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I think people are giving him too much credit here. I doubt he had such deep and rooted thoughts about the issue.

  21. by adrienne

    On July 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    These are photographic props chosen by people other than the Obamas. BUT the general public will assume they are actual items from the daily life of the Obamas.
    I find some kids products ridiculous and would be embarrassed to have members of my family associated with them (or even indirectly promoting them). I don’t think it’s a problem to express personal tastes and preferences when you’re in the public eye.

  22. by Dawn T.

    On July 10, 2008 at 12:12 am

    It is a freaking glove! Give me a break! Would I go our and buy one on purpose, no. But, if I were in the market for a glove for a girl and it was on clearance, I’d be all over it!

  23. by mannequin

    On July 10, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Wow. I agree with Sarah!! We guide our children , not control.
    The girls should have a choice. Had they chosen green, would that have been acceptable?
    Had Obama chosen pink, would that have made him an unacceptable candidate?
    I, for on respect people that sometimes go against the grain rather than try to placate everyone.
    Regardless, great discussion topic! Thanks for the post.

  24. by Kim @ Up North Mommy

    On July 16, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Yes, Jill, enlightened. You got a problem with that?
    It’s your self-righteous tone that gags me.

  25. by Kim Priestap

    On July 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    “The pink gloves are tacky and insulting to any female athlete. Period.”
    According to whom, Renee? Just because you think that does not make it so for everyone. Stop trying to control other people’s lives.