After looking at the pictures of the first daughters in Russia, I realized the outrage on Freepers was not about her shirt, it was about her hair. A few comments within the freeper diary touched on this issue but most used her shirt as an outlet to what really bothered them. The American public is still not comfortable with African american hairstyles.
In 2007, Glamour magazine wrote an article that advised AA women to avoid afros and dreadlocks as a hairstyle. It caused quite a furor but it highlighted the public's comfort level with traditional black hairstyles.
When I look at the picture of Malia, I see a cute hairstyle that is probably easy to maintain and travel with.
I realize that not all share this view. Some look at her and see what they consider "ghetto" culture. But what is missing is why AA women and men wear their hair in a particular style.
One thing I love about the Obama's is that their daughters do wear traditional AA hairstyles. I love that Malia has been photographed with both dreadlocks and cornrows. She and Sasha are also photographed with straight hair but I think the public underestimates how unpractical these hairstyles are for everyday wear.
I have black hair. I have naturally wavy, frizzy, and hard to manage hair. If you were to look at my hair today, you would see perfectly straight hair. I spend lots of money and time to get this look. Why? Because professionally, it makes people feel more comfortable with me.
I use to have a very short afro. In terms of maintenance, it was easier, cheaper and much healthier.
In order to get perfectly straight hair, I have to go to a salon and have my hair straightened. There are many different types of straightener and most are horrible for your hair. In addition, AA straighter or relaxers as they are called don't completely straighten your hair. You still usually have to either blow dry or flat iron your hair every time it gets wet.
My husband use to ask me why I don't straighten my hair everyday and my answer was "When you learn how to blow-dry my hair without waking me up."
In terms of maintenance, an afro or dreadlocks or cornrows are the most practical and easiest to maintain.
It's a shame that I don't feel comfortable enough to wear my hair in an afro professionally. It's a shame that beauty magazine would recommend against a natural hairstyle. It's a shame that freeper would hate on an 11 year old girl for a hairstyle.