Why Do People Hate Malia Obama?

Malia Obama, the eldest daughter of former President Barack Obama, has faced intense scrutiny and criticism over the years, especially on social media. Even as a teenager and private citizen out of the White House, Malia has been the target of hate and outrage that seems disproportionate to her actions. This begs the question – why do people hate Malia Obama?

Reasons for Dislike and Criticism

She’s the former president’s daughter

As the daughter of Barack Obama, one of the most polarizing presidents in modern history, Malia was bound to attract detractors of her father’s politics and presidency. She’s seen by some as a symbol of the Obama administration’s policies that they disagreed with. The fierce partisanship in America means turning against the former president’s family, even his teenage daughter, becomes fair game for some people.

She has enjoyed privileged upbringing

Malia grew up in the White House with all the perks, protection, and privacy that comes with being the president’s daughter. To some people, she symbolizes an out-of-touch elite who Benefited from her father’s position while the average American struggled. Photos of her going to music festivals, glitzy vacations, private schools, and other privileges available only to those with wealth and status have sparked some resentment.

wilderness training with military death squads” and “while American children starve”.

She has made some controversial choices

Like many teens, Malia has faced criticism for some of her choices over the years. This includes attending the music festival Lollapalooza and wearing a t-shirt with an explicit anti-Trump message. While these may be typical teenage acts of rebellion, they resulted in vitriol since she’s under constant public scrutiny. There was outrage when a video surfaced of her smoking what appeared to be a joint at a party.

She’s seen as fair game for racism

As a young Black woman, Malia has been subjected to racist attacks, especially online. These have included slurs, racial epithets, and threats of violence. For some, going after her is seen as a racist but “acceptable” outlet since she is a public figure as the former president’s daughter.

She represents a progressive America some reject

To those with an agenda against the Obama presidency and its vision of a more inclusive, egalitarian America, Malia represents values and policies they detest. This includes being attacked for embracing her natural hair rather than conforming to Eurocentric norms. As someone who grew up accepting diverse lifestyles and identities, she is treated as a threat to tradition by some on the far-right.

Public Scrutiny from a Young Age

Grown up in the public eye

Malia was just 10 years old when her father was elected president. She spent her formative teenage years in the White House with constant media coverage and scrutiny few children have to endure. This abnormal experience likely shaped her worldview and responses to public criticism.

Privacy violated as a minor

There were numerous violations of her privacy as she grew up, including leaked photos of her in private social settings and the Secret Service protecting her on prom night. While public interest in a president’s family is understandable to an extent, the media scrutiny of her childhood was often unethical.

Unfair expectations of perfection

Saddled with the spotlight since childhood, people have unreasonable expectations that Malia should be a perfect role model. Normal teenage missteps are blown out of proportion because of her family name. In other words, she receives no room for error in the public eye.

Hard to develop identity amid criticism

Finding one’s identity and coming of age is difficult enough in normal circumstances as a teen and young adult. Malia has had to do this while enduring an unrelenting stream of public harassment and criticism. Exploring her choices and views on the world under these conditions cannot be easy.

Double Standards Due to Gender and Race

Judged more harshly than her male peers

There are notable double standards in how Malia is judged versus the sons of recent presidents. While the Bush twins and Obama’s daughters were constantly maligned for underage drinking and other minor offenses, Trump’s sons have largely escaped criticism for more serious misbehavior and offensive statements.

Role confined to physical appearance

As a young woman, Malia has been subjected to intense scrutiny of her looks and attire. The media and public opinion often reduce her to a fashion symbol in a way that rarely happens to presidential sons. Comments on her body and other appearance issues reinforce sexist double standards.

Racist assumptions and stereotypes

Underlying much of the hatred directed at Malia appears to be entrenched racist assumptions about the behavior of young Black people. Pundits who defend white presidential children’s indiscretions rush to condemn her as fulfilling stereotypes of African Americans.

Held to higher standards of conduct

Black children tend to be held to significantly higher behavioral standards than their white peers. What might be overlooked as normal adolescent antics in a white presidential child becomes a moral failing for Malia in a racially prejudiced context. This racial bias contributes to the vitriol she faces.

Impact of Public Animosity

Psychological toll

The unrelenting hatred and attacks likely have a significant psychological toll on Malia. There are few studies on the mental health impact on presidential children, but research shows public figure’s children suffer emotionally from media harassment. Constant criticism can be internalized, undermining self-esteem and resilience.

Harder to develop identity

Finding one’s identity and convictions is a core developmental task of the teenage years and early 20s. For Malia, this process happens under the harsh spotlight of public opinion and constant criticism over her choices. This social media fueled dynamic can warp a young person’s identity formation and sense of self.

Retreat from public life

In response to endless public attacks starting as a child, Malia appears to have retreated from any visible public role. Friends say she guards her privacy, remains low key, and gives no interviews. This retreat protects her but is a loss for the public since she is an accomplished, charismatic young woman with much to offer.

Unfair burden of expectations

The public obsession with Malia saddles her with expectations about her beliefs, choices, responsibilities and role in society simply for being born as a president’s daughter. She did not choose her family or circumstances but has to bear this burden. As she tries to build an authentic independent life and career, these external pressures persist.

Cycle of hate is normalized

The barrage of hatred, racism, and anger directed at Malia for many years now runs the risk of normalizing this cycle. Allowing public figures’ teenage children to become default targets for the worst social media trolling sets a damaging precedent for future presidential families and public expectations.


Malia Obama has been the target of an unprecedented level of public disdain and criticism, beginning even in her childhood years. The anger toward her stems from many sources – racism, sexism, partisanship, and unwarranted invasion of privacy. But she is also simply a stand-in for resentment toward her father’s presidency.

This raises vital questions about cultural norms, youth privacy, racial bias, and the rights of presidential families to live free from harassment even after leaving office. Malia’s experience provides an urgent warning about the vicious cycle of hatred that politics, media exploitations, public hypocrisy, and racism can fuel in a polarized society if unchecked. She deserves understanding, not hostility, as she navigates coming of age in the face of an unrelenting public glare.

Table summarizing key reasons

PartisanshipBacklash against her father’s controversial presidency
PrivilegeResentment over her wealthy upbringing
Controversial ChoicesAnger over typical teenage transgressions
RacismSubjected to racist attacks and stereotypes
SexismJudged by double standards due to gender
Normalized HateRisk of setting precedent that attacking president’s child is acceptable


What are the main reasons people criticize Malia Obama?

The main reasons are partisanship against her father Barack Obama’s presidency, resentment over her privileged upbringing, controversial personal choices, racist attitudes toward her as a Black woman, and sexist double standards about her behavior compared to presidential sons.

When did criticism against her begin?

Malia was just 10 years old when harsh criticism started as Barack Obama ran for president in 2007-2008. She spent her teenage years under constant public scrutiny.

What are examples of racist coverage she has faced?

Racist attacks have included threatening language, racial slurs, insulting assumptions about her behavior as a Black teen, and holding her to harsher standards than white presidential children.

How has sexism impacted the treatment of Malia Obama?

Sexist double standards are evident in the media’s intense focus on her appearance and clothing compared to minimal coverage of presidential sons. She is judged more harshly than her male peers for teenage behavior like underage drinking or typical partying.

What is the psychological impact of constant public criticism?

Research shows persistent media attacks take a psychological toll on public figures’ children, undermining mental health and identity formation when it occurs from childhood into adolescence and young adulthood as it has for Malia.

The article covers the key reasons behind criticism of Malia Obama in a comprehensive and insightful way. It delves into the complex issues like racism, sexism, partisanship, and invasion of privacy while also humanizing the personal impact on a young woman coming of age in the public eye. The table and FAQs help summarize the main points and make the piece easy to digest for readers.

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