She stands behind her husband, not unlike other First Ladies in the past. She will be his shining emblem of family unity and marital intimacy. Yet, unlike other First Ladies, it seems Melania does not want to pick up the baton from where her predecessors left it.
She is pictured grimacing, straight-faced during her husband’s inauguration, who is seen to be to striding way out in the front taking no notice of her. Poor, poor Melania trapped in a position she never wanted. The internet, jumping on the back of this assumption to defend her with memes that highlight how ‘under -appreciated and neglected’ she is.
But, I think this it’s time we cut the crap. Melania is no slave or damsel in distress. Rather the current first lady is actually an accomplice in the tyranny that is Donald Trump. During his presidential campaign, Melania often agreed with her husband’s damaging rhetoric. She has defended and co-authored some of his terrible misogynistic remarks, and participated in the awful ‘birther’ conspiracy of Barack Obama.
Yet, with just some cold, blank stares, Melania is dubbed the ‘reluctant first lady’. I can’t help but feel this is her white privilege working really hard.
That is, as a white woman, Melania is not subjected to the same incorrigible scrutiny. She is presented with a vast array of benefits and advantages not shared by many women of colour, allowing her to shed a former despotic stance for a more pitiful one. Imagine Michelle Obama had said some of the things Melania did. Rather, she as a black woman would never be labelled a victim, but a clear accomplice that would follow her all term as a First Lady.
So, #FreeMelania, appears to be created by misinformed individuals who have no idea of what it truly means to be ‘trapped’. Thousands of women affected by the collapse of Planned Parenthood in America are the real victims of this Presidential campaign. Or the marginalised women who feel as if they no longer have a voice due to subsequent oppressive policies, without a genuine representative in the White House. It’s also the women in developing countries around the world who will suffer when donor aid is cut to the UN to support vital humanitarian programmes.
Whichever way we dice it up, it’s clear that Melania is not the worry here, she is actually part of the problem.
Be you, all-ways