What does a feminist progressive do with Melania Trump?
I have a shameful confession. I have referred to Ms. Melania Trump as Donald’s trophy wife.
But as a feminist progressive, I feel some qualms about demeaning a woman just to ensure that her sugar daddy — there I go again! — doesn’t get elected to the presidency.
What is the way forward? As a feminist and a progressive, I am wary of what the media could do to crucify her. In the last few weeks, new revelations about Ms. Trump make it clear that she is about to be painted as the ditziest bimbo ever.
No feminist can support the word bimbo!
It’s not just the plagiarizing of Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech at this year’s Republic National Convention or the allegation that she lied about her college degree. Adding butter and margarine to the boiling stew are recent reports that are now questioning whether she worked illegally in the US when she first came in the mid-1990s.
There are some irregularities in her record that indicate that Ms. Trump may have come to New York on a tourist visa but worked as a model which is technically illegal. Considering the Donald’s aggressive attacks on “illegal” migrants (whom he often seems to equate with Mexicans tout court), this new revelation would be deliciously ironic.
However, the problem for my feminist self is that the employment she may have “illegally” undertaken was an erotic photo shoot. The tabloid-esque New York Post revealed some of these nude photos and now, we feminist progressives have a dilemma.
As you well know, the conservatives and evangelicals who are enthusiastically supporting her bigoted, woefully-narcissistic husband might very well defect from his camp because of the titillating nature of the photos.
As a progressive, I am terrified of what a Donald Trump presidency would actually mean, not just for the US, but the world at large. I feel that maybe, we, progressives, should use any possible ammunition against such a dangerous demagogue who is thoroughly unprepared and unqualified for the highest office in the land.
Do the ends justify the means if the noble end is stopping “America’s burst appendix,” as Samantha Bee refers to him, from killing the country? And is that fair to his wife?
As a feminist, I would never support the demonization of a woman’s nude photos. Or cast aspersion on a woman, whether a sex worker or an erotic dancer or a model trying to make a living with her body. I myself am an aerobics instructor. I use my body to make a living too.
You see, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, if this was a normal election season and her husband was a regular politician. Usually, political spouses are out of bounds but this election season is different because her husband has exploded all the limits of convention, courtesy and even common decency. His callous response to the Khan family who lost their son in the war in Iraq is just one more example of his egregious lack of empathy or even human feeling.
But can we hold Ms. Trump responsible for his failings? I wish I didn’t have to think so much about the Trump family. They give me a headache. But as a progressive feminist, I don’t want to see Ms. Trump eviscerated even if it will help make sure her husband isn’t elected.
What do you think?
Can we make sure that the narrative framework in which we portray Ms. Trump resists the too-easy-temptation of deriding her as a “bimbo”? Or a “ditz” or even worse words which I will not write here because they are reactionary and vile and form patriarchy’s very foundation…