Why Melania’s Shoes Matter

Before the conservative pundits dust off the old “Feminists are mad at Melania for wearing expensive shoes. I thought the whole point of feminism is for women to be free to be themselves! Hypocrites much?” talking points, I thought I’d lay out a few reasons why Melania’s shoes have elicited such a visceral reaction.

For days we have been seeing footage of flooding the likes of which this country has rarely experienced. Among the devastation we have seen images of neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers, the elderly and infirm being rescued in the nick of time. These images are not new to us; part of America’s strength is its ability to come together in times of crisis. People jump into action without being asked. It’s innate.

So when the First Lady of the United States shows up to survey one of the most devastating floods in the history of our country, wearing a brand new cap and expensive stiletto pumps, it’s instantly apparent she’s not there to get her hands dirty. While Texans are literally risking their lives to save others, she couldn’t even be bothered to buy a pair of sensible shoes she could wear in the rain.

It’s such a startling image because it signals that she has no idea of the devastation that surrounds her, no idea of the suffering, of the terror. There is no part of her that is moved to comfort victims, or stock food pantries, or collect diapers, or rescue animals. The sheer coldness is something most Americans cannot fathom.

When the Trumps surveyed the damage of Harvey, they did so with the affected air of the upper class who used to parade through the slums of London to gaze at the poor for sport.

We look to the President and First Lady for comfort, for guidance, for reassurance, especially in times of uncertainty.

When they show up to a disaster dressed for a dinner party, it’s a sure sign that we now have no one to look to but ourselves.