Accused of skipping meals and wasting away, the leader of the free world protested: Am not, I have naturally fine bones, and I'm under a lot of pressure. Hey Barack, quit stealing Nicole Richie's lines.
Now that The Daily Mail is giving Obama the "Lindsay Lohan in 2005" treatment, Barack Obama has landed among the privileged few—along with Oprah and Kirstie Alley—whose weight fluctuations are cause for international headlines. How did the American president's girlish figure become a topic of international fascination, you ask? Five easy steps:
1. We See Obama with His Shirt Off Surprisingly defined pecs and debatable nipples lead everyone to recategorize the Illinois senator from "sexless political entity" to "objectified hunk of burning flesh" in their minds. Barry's body is now kitchen table conversation, and we see the glimmer of too-skinny judgment in The Wall Street Journal: "Too Fit to Be President?"
2. His Peers Express Concern Did you know that, after models and actresses and famous singers and high school cheerleaders and sorority sisters, politicians are basically the second most at-risk group in America for eating disorders? In the pressure-cooker world of ruling the nation, the line between intervention and bullying can become blurry:
He was even teased by Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger almost exactly one year ago for having such skinny legs.
I'm going to make him do some squats"' the former Terminator star told a campaign rally for Mr Obama's presidential rival John McCain.
He also teased the president about his "scrawny little arms."
3. Matt Drudge Starts Using Him for Thinspiration The right-wing rabble-rouser leads November 4 with photos of a slender-looking post-workout president, with the headline BARACK N BONES. Steps 1 and 2 have already primed us to see this story and evaluate it on it merit, instead of reacting with the appropriate "I don't care if he eats nothing but birch bark and mildew, as long as North Korea doesn't nuke Hawaii, let's roll with it." Besides, obsessing about weight is fun. Which leads us to...
4. Lindsay Is Healthy and Nicole Had a Baby. Who Else We Got? The noise over skinny models and starving starlets has died down a bit, leaving a hole in the tabloid press' A-list skinny-watch. Thus, the growing concern over Obama's waistline hits its peak at the most opportune moment possible, media-wise.
5. Michelle Is Obsessed with Health, Too. Could this be one of those cases of collective body dysmorphia, like how groups of teenage girls all go on obsessive diets together, like how all the female cast members of 90210 got super skinny all at the same time? We return to The Daily Mail:
Mr Obama is often pictured playing basketball or returning from the gym with aides, while Mrs Obama's infamous vegetable garden in the grounds of the White House promotes healthy eating on top of exercise.
The First Lady's gym-toned arms have also been the topic of much discussion.
And there you have it: From political powerhouse to pro-ana teen clique.