Melania Trump and the Sexist Double Standard
Regardless of Politics, Misogyny Is Still Misogyny.
In the days since Donald Trump won the presidential election, numerous people have focused on the future First Lady, Melania. They’ve compared her to previous First Ladies, and some have gone so far as to post photos of her posing nude or in revealing outfits, suggesting that she lacks class or will be a poor role model.
A lot of people are not going to like what I have to say, but regardless of politics, misogyny is still misogyny. Slut-shaming Melania Trump is as wrong as it was when conservatives went after Michelle Obama with their feigned Victorian-era ethics regarding the FLOTUS baring her toned arms in stylish sleeveless dresses or doing push-ups in the Oval Office.
Stop slut-shaming Melania Trump. You’re contradicting yourselves.
Related: Why I’m Voting for Michelle Obama
While I’m all for allowing space for nuance, we can simply cannot have it both ways. We cannot fight for reproductive rights and bodily autonomy while lording paternalistic ideas about what she should and should not do with her body.
The New York Post took advantage of this when it chose to plaster a nude photograph of the future First Lady across the front page.
— New York Post (@nypost) July 31, 2016
While none of this should be taken as a defense of Melania Trump as a person, it is a defense of womanhood and body autonomy. One could imagine the terrible politics that a person must have in order to be married to Donald Trump, a man who is the human embodiment of a comic book supervillain.
But folks have taken hatred too far, photoshopping a protest sign with the phrase “Rape Melania” — and circulating a #RapeMelania hashtag on Twitter, which only some people used to speak out against the idea. Calling for the rape of anyone is deplorable, especially someone who has not directly committed the acts that we are collectively so angry about.
When conservative men on Twitter start making an ounce of sense, something has gone horribly wrong.
“Rape Melania” is trendin’ on Twitter. Can y’all imagine if “Melania” was replaced with “Michelle” or “Chelsea?” But #LoveTrumpsHate, right?
— Cloyd Rivers (@CloydRivers) November 13, 2016
Looking for feminists denouncing the "Rape Melania" protest sign pic.twitter.com/Nea8Ba4GgG
— JCorrado (@ForzaCorrado) November 13, 2016
While some folks say that the outrage was not there when Michelle Obama was shamed for her bare arms, I recall a very angry nation. An outspoken nation of women, femmes and allies speaking out.
Don’t make the partners of politicians your targets.
The vehement hatred for Donald Trump is understandable, but the moment we start treating women as extensions of the men they have married or are otherwise romantically linked to, we remove their bodily autonomy — and diminish ours in the process.
Be angry. Stay angry. Just don’t let that anger extend to violence against women and other marginalized identities, regardless of which side of the political aisle they are on.
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