On February 18 the alleged private Facebook page of former first daughter Malia Obama has been made visible. What sparked interest in the 20-year-old’s account was a comment left by Finnegan Biden, granddaughter of former vice-president Joe Biden, underneath a photo of four neon pink post-it notes in an unidentified kitchen reading: ‘Donald Trump is president’, ‘This is not normal’, ‘Donald Trump is evil’, ‘Don’t be complacent’. Whether you share the same sentiments as Malia or the complete opposite, the real question is what is most shocking? Her publically displaying her thoughts on the current president or how ‘normal’ the account reveals Malia to be?
A Private-Public Figure
From 2008 to 2016 and arguably her whole life, Malia Obama has been in the public eye at some capacity due to her parents’ professions- notably from her father is the 44th U.S. president. She and her family managed to shield her and Sasha from the public delving too deep into their personal lives. Despite outwardly living an incredibly above average life; going to top tier schools, traveling and coming in contact with highly influential people- Malia’s Facebook reveals a side to the 20-year-old that people often forget to acknowledge, that she is very much your average girl.
According to The DailyMail, the page appears to have been most active between 2016 and 2017. This timeframe would have correlated with her father’s final months in office, her senior of high school, and a good portion of the gap she opted to take before starting her freshman year at Harvard University in the fall of 2017. Many of the posts consist of selfies, group photos with friends as well as topics that are important to her.
One can infer that during this time Malia was going through many changes. She was preparing for multiple monumental shifts in her life. After being the eldest first daughter for eight years and spending her formative years under such hypervisibility, she was about to transition back into being a private citizen. What better tool and outlet during this transition than Facebook? She can configure her privacy settings, thoroughly vet her friend requests from people she knows and trusts. She can be connected while remaining insular.
20 Is As 20 Does
Between 2016 and 2017, people saw Malia let her guard down more and more. Some may remember headlines of Malia spotted at Lollapalooza in August of 2017. Or even appearances in Snapchats taken by friends towards her final months in the White House. In retrospect, these headlines were highly sensationalized. When put into perspective, Malia Obama having fun at a music festival, going to parties and appearing the Snaps of her friends is no different than the average teenager and or young adult.
Therefore, the sentiments shared in the post-it notes are not uncommon but unfortunately risk the potential of being sensationalized merely because she is Malia Obama. In all actuality, her feelings about Donald Trump are shared amongst many people. Everyday ordinary citizens log onto their various social media accounts to express similar unfavorable opinions or approval- even praise of the president. Granted talk of Trump, both good and bad, is easily a hot button topic. Also to have allegedly come from the daughter of a former president makes the button even hotter.
Where To Go From Here
As previously stated, Malia Obama is now considered a private citizen. Which begs the question, is this an invasion of privacy?
With news of Malia Obama’s Facebook account allegedly revealed the public will be hungry for more. Many will agree that Malia is entitled to her opinions and privacy. However, many people will feel entitled to her openness. They will be hungry for more insight into who Malia Obama truly is, which is breeding grounds for both good intentions and ill intentions.
Going forward, one can only hope that Malia can navigate the duality of being a private citizen and a public figure without invasions of privacy beyond what she chooses to make public.