President Barack Obama praised first lady Michelle Obama’s “curves” in an interview released Monday.
“When you’re the dad of two daughters, you notice more what, when I was a kid, I didn’t realize as much or maybe was even a part of — which is the enormous pressure that young women are placed under in terms of looking a certain way,” Obama said in a joint interview for Time and Essence magazines with world-famous ballet dancer Misty Copeland.
“That pressure, I think, has historically always been harder on African-American women than just about any other women, but it’s part and parcel of a broader way in which we socialize and press women to constantly doubt themselves or define themselves in terms of a certain appearance,” the president said.
Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, are 17 and 14, respectively.
“Michelle and I are always guarding against that,” Obama said, adding, “And you know, the fact that (my daughters) have a tall, gorgeous mom who has some curves that their father appreciates, I think is helpful.”
The president, 54, proceeded to name a few Hollywood stars who have aided in the effort to modify and improve the modern body-image culture.
“You see Beyonce, or you see some of these pop stars, and what both white, Latino, black children are seeing as representative of beauty is much broader than it was when I was a kid,” he explained. “You just didn’t see that much representation. And that’s healthy and that’s encouraging.”
Copeland, an Africa-American ballerina, challenged the body-image ideal in the world of competitive ballet, where women are encouraged to be light and delicate, as opposed to lean and muscular. She wrote about her rise to the top of her field in her memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.”
Watch Obama and Copeland share their perspectives on #BlackGirlMagic and related social movements: