Saying Melanie Trump Isn't First Lady Material Is Just As Sexist As Many Of Her Husband's Comments
It's no secret that Donald Trump's presidential campaign has been fraught with misogyny. However, some recent coverage of Melania Trump — The Donald's wife — has been equally offensive. Melania has been relatively absent from her husband's campaign, caring for her 10-year-old son Barron. But when she does appear at events, it does not take long for the discussion to turn to whether or not Melania is "first lady material."
This is offensive in multiple ways, and it reeks of sexism. First, since when are there qualifications to be first lady? It is not a position that one runs for, but rather dutifully takes on. Secondly, although Melania Trump is not traditionally accomplished in the same fields that Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton are (both of them were successful lawyers before their husbands became president), she is an accomplished woman — a fact which is often ignored.
Before immigrating to the U.S. from her native Slovenia, Melania studied architecture and design. She became a relatively successful fashion model, eventually signing with Trump Model Management, which is how she met her husband.
Throughout Trump's current campaign, Melania's modeling career has been brought into question, as though it disqualifies her from being a successful first lady. Melania stood up for herself and her career choices in a November 2015 interview with Barbara Walters, saying, "I think people will always judge, and maybe they will say, 'Oh, the past that you have, the way you were modeling,' That’s part of the job that I was doing. I was a very successful model and I did some photo shoots.”
Melania is right. Modeling was her job, and she should not have to apologize for that. In fact, the discussion around Melania almost always mentions her appearance — which seems hypocritical, considering the flack she receives for being a model.
Melania may not be as present on the campaign trail as Bill Clinton, but this isn't because she's ashamed of her past; rather, it's because she has a young son to take care of. In a September 2015 interview with People, Melania explained her absence from Trump's campaign, saying, "My husband is traveling all the time. Barron needs somebody as a parent, so I am with him all the time." This seems like a laudable reason to skip a Trump rally. Why should Melania leave her child just because her husband is running for president?
The Trump campaign is sexist enough in its own right, and it's time to stop ridiculing Melania Trump for her choices. That's just as bad.