Disdain For A Newly-Elected President Should Not Include Slut-Shaming His Wife

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By Diane Meers

As we continue to express disdain over our new president-elect, it’s hard to ignore the “slut-shaming” of Melania Trump. We expect this from conservative right-wingers, who had doled out nude photos of the then-20-something year-old in order to convince religious groups to get behind Ted Cruz. Remember, this are the same types of people who taunted Michelle Obama for her sleeveless dresses. Leave the sexism to the party that bred it.

The dust just won’t settle as anti-Trump rhetoric is at it’s apex and understandably so. With so much to criticize, shaming Melania for her modeling career is not only a weak argument, it’s shakes our philosophy. Liberals alike must be reminded that they’re spawning the same hate most Republican Evangelicals bestowed upon Michelle then Melania.

This hypocrisy will not elevate our values and does nothing to separate us from the cultural attitude of prejudice against women. You can’t call a hypocrite a hypocrite, then be a hypocrite. But what if hypocrisy is the only way to prove your opponent a hypocrite? Welcome to the Jungle, baby.

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Criticism about Michelle’s wardrobe carries more weight than just sexism, however. In fact, those “sexist” remarks didn’t disguise the blatant racism that surged as soon as the Obamas took stage at the 2008 primaries. The Right found comfort in attacking Michelle’s appearance as a way with coping with not only her skin color but her ivy league education and note-worthy accomplishments (she is widely considered one of the most academically accomplished First Ladies ever to live in the White House).

Let’s find solace in knowing we’ve disrupted the extremist conservative agenda. A true historical victory for the Left has always been a great source of backlash. The more severe the upset, the more significant the win. We now pose this sentiment as it relates to new first lady elect: Had Michelle posed nude, there would be no Obama presidency. We all know this.

Let’s continue that narrative so we can continue to push boundaries. But let’s do away with the narrative that Melania is shaming our country for having posed nude altogether. The question “would you rather have her or her as your first lady?” is backpedaling our feminist ideals. The physical side-by-side comparison only pits women against each other. We should be discussing their core values and working to diffuse the notion that a woman is “this or that.” Let’s not be a reflection of the same shameless, misogynist behavior.

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Think about your own character before you share another lousy meme and don’t be under the false impression that you’re championing family values. We should not have to see the passionate spirit of anti-Trump protests tainted with disgusting signs saying “rape Melania” – that is NOT who we are! There is enough to unpack in Donald’s multiple sexual assault and rape lawsuits, his candid admissions of non-consensual behavior caught on a hot mic, and his gross fawning over his daughter’s sexuality to last at a couple of presidential terms…

The great Maya Angelou said it best, “hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

We are simply adding fuel to the raging-Right fire by working so hard to acknowledge Melania. An unjust argument only works in their favor because we become accomplices in their distorted vision of America. We are supposed to be the great moral compass of this country so let’s work towards examining a strict ethical response. Let’s instead discuss her ideas, voice and character. Let’s discuss the fact that she lied about finishing college or the platform she’ll adopt as first lady. She wants to end cyber-bullying, yet her husband has been a perpetual perpetrator of this on his own social media accounts. This is an issue worth discussing, not her appearance.

Let’s stop the cheap attacks about her decision to pose nude. In some ways, these photos are a win for women’s sexual liberation. Her photo with another woman is a slam in the face of homophobic conservatives who are forced to bend their beliefs in support of Trump. Vice President elect Mike Pence is an outspoken anti-gay marriage proponent; her homo-erotic photos can be used to lull and contradict his hate rhetoric. Think about that for a moment.

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Her biggest fan, her husband, is quoted as saying,” In Europe, pictures like this are very fashionable and common.” This is perhaps the only thing Trump has said that’s worth noting. The American media is running away with this story because it’s tantalizing. We aren’t a naked culture.

In the Netherlands for instance, people are allowed to be naked unless they’re on a public road. Naturism is very popular in Europe without it being arousing. Of course, the shock sets in for most American’s to see it displayed in the oval office but maybe that’s what we need to shake us out of equating nudity with misconduct.

Put the dual party system aside and forget the division long enough to acknowledge Michelle Obama and Melania Trump as women who have broken boundaries. They’ve undoubtedly reshaped the 21st century as respectively being the first African-American, and only the second immigrant woman to hold such a public role (Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, who was president from 1825-1829 was the first immigrant FLOTUS. She was born in England).

If defeated Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had the guts to champion women in her concession speech, and chose not to “go low” to attack Melania or the rest of the Trump clan in anyway (other than Donald’s father Fred Trump who was part of an investigation and lawsuit in the early 1970’s accusing the father and son team of racially discriminating against black potential tenants who applied to live in one of their properties), the rest of us, especially progressives who are angry at a Trump presidency, should follow suit.

Now, Donald Trump and Pence on unraveling woman’s rights and gay marriage? That’s another can of worms for another day…

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