In New York magazine Dan Amira says that the POTUS didn't mean anything by noting California Attorney General Kamala Harris' good looks — he says everyone is good-looking.
Obama even extended his favorite compliment to the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. "I have to say all of you look pretty good without your playoff beards," Obama said during a White House ceremony. "They're pretty good-looking guys without all that.”
In short, Obama is an equal-opportunity flatterer, not a shallow, sexist pig. Calling people "good-looking" — men, women, Penguins — is just something he does. It's almost a tic at this point. He doesn't mean anything by it.
However, these remarks do not occur in a vacuum. That the accomplishments of women are routinely undermined by men who have trouble focusing on anything beyond physical attractiveness is universally understood. As Irin Carmon writes in Salon today, "For every shirtless shot of Obama, there are probably 500,000 think pieces about the relative elasticity of Hillary Clinton’s skin."
Read Dan Amira's entire piece at New York Magazine.
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