First daughters balance privilege and pressure
But the public's interest in first daughters is nothing new. Fanny Hayes, for example, who was about the same age as Malia when she moved into the White House in 1877, was followed by the media until the day she died. "She was an American celebrity," said presidential historian Doug Wead.
While the interest in first daughters has stayed steady, the pressure on the children has intensified, said Wead, author of "All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families."
When Chelsea Clinton was just 13 years old, for example, she was ridiculed in a 1993 "Saturday Night Live" sketch that declared her "not a babe." Actor Mike Myers later apologized, and the skit was cut from replays of the show.
Amy Carter, who was 9 when she moved into the White House, was also mocked for her appearance and for her poor manners, after she pulled out a book during a state dinner. Her parents enrolled her in public school, illuminating the already bright spotlight on her. An infamous photograph of her first day at school shows the young girl with her head hanging low, carrying a Snoopy book bag and surrounded by a swarm of paparazzi.
But other presidential children have taken on power roles in their fathers' administrations. Anna Roosevelt, for example, was a "super aide" to Franklin D. Roosevelt during his last year in office, Wead said, describing her as a combination of a personal secretary and chief of staff, not to mention popular in the public eye.
comments powered by Disqus
- David Rosand, an Art History Scholar Whose Heart Was in Venice, Dies at 75
- NYT interviews Rick Perlstein about his book
- OAH issues a statement in support of the AP standards
- Daniel Pipes says in interview that the absence of anti-Israel protests in Muslim countries is highly significant
- A historian who studies China has discovered an overlooked angle in the debate about the Middle East. Could he have figured out a key reason for Iraq’s failure to defeat ISIS?