The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

LIPO: Privacy of public figures must be upheld

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Recently, Daily Mail published pictures of Malia Obama drinking rose with some friends at a Miami pool party. Malia, who turns 21 in a few months, was also in the spotlight for making derogatory comments about President Donald Trump on Facebook. 

Malia, a private citizen, should be treated with respect in regards to her personal life. Obviously, since she is the daughter of a former president, her life is watched by the public more than an average citizen. She is also a 20-year-old individual who is allowed to have opinions, as well as a personal life that does not need to be broadcasted on tabloid sites and used for clickbait. She has a right to privacy, just like everyone else.

The publication of the story was slammed for its lack of editorial value, according to a Washington Post article about the incident. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro responded to the article on Twitter by saying, “OMG Malia Obama is a human with political opinions and also enjoys wine.”

Shapiro articulated the simplicity of the situation. A “normal” individual would never be judged for sipping rose by the pool with friends, let alone be disrespected by being secretly recorded while enjoying time with friends. Although she is underage, Malia, as well as other individuals who are constantly seen by the public should still be treated with a level of respect and not have their personal lives plastered in tabloids. The tabloid was also a perfect example of clickbait, as it was easy to see the article and immediately be intrigued, even if it was written in a disrespectful way.

Malia and her sister Sasha grew up in the age of social media. They have often been rebuked for situations like standing by a beer pong table or even wearing a bikini on vacation, according to the article.

Being constantly in the media, as well as enduring strict Secret Service protection, often takes a toll on White House children. After they leave the White House, there is still a lasting effect of being in the public consciousness. They often feel they cannot speak or voice their opinions, and instead have to stay silent while many of their actions are scrutinized.

Their appearance is also criticized. Ranker is one website that ranked the first daughters of American history based upon their beauty. The website said, “Who is the sexiest First Daughter? Vote for who you think are the hottest first daughters in American history of the 1900s to now.” Polls like this add to the pressure of unrealistic beauty standards women have to face, which are only exacerbated by the in the public eye. 

There is a level of respect that everyone deserves, no matter who they are. Malia and her sister did not choose to be judged by society, but being a president’s daughter does come with a level of exposure to the press. While pop celebrities deserve respect in their personal lives as well, they do choose a public life with their careers. Yet, individuals like Malia should be allowed to make their own decisions and live their lives without the fear of judgement or others watching them at all times. In the age of social media, the feat of maintaining privacy is even more difficult to grasp and hold onto.

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