Sunday, Jul 22, 2018
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Op-Ed Columns

Walk a mile in Melania's shoes

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    President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump leave the White House for their trip to Texas. The First Lady was criticized on Twitter for her choice of footwear.


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    Wynne Everett


Wynne Everett


Hey, did you notice Donald Trump’s shoes when he took a trip to Houston to survey the damage from Hurricane Harvey?

No, of course you didn’t.

But when First Lady Melania Trump wore gravity-defying — certainly designer, certainly expensive — black snakeskin stilettos to board a flight to Texas with her husband Tuesday, the Twitterverse lost its mind.

How dare she! Those shoes are ridiculous! They’re a slap in the face to hurricane victims! They’re insensitive!

The woman was not going to wade into floodwaters and rescue stranded families. She was going to show support for the first responders and everyday citizens who had been doing that for days.

This was not some kind of Marie Antoinette moment.

Her outfit wasn’t practical. She’s not a practical woman. Mrs. Trump is a former model; she worked in fashion. She knows that everyone knows that.

By the time the first couple landed in Houston, she had switched to more practical white sneakers and a button-down shirt. But by then, of course, it was too late.

Melania Trump stepped into shoes that are impractical for anything and strolled out to that plane in them because she knows what too many of her would-be sartorial critics do not want to acknowledge: No matter what she wore, it would have been wrong.

The Catch 22 of women in politics — in business, in parenting, in just about anything — is that however you look, it will probably be wrong.

It will always be too much or too little or too dowdy or too sexy or …. just too something. So, knowing this, Melania opted to do Melania. She likes high fashion and she looks stunning in it. She wore what she pleased. To hell with the rest of us.

Also note that no one seemed to criticize the highly impractical clothing the President and other male elected leaders have been wearing to survey the site of a natural disaster.

Hate everything about Donald Trump and, by extension then, his wife? OK, but keep in mind that unleashing petty snark about the woman’s shoes does nothing but play into his rhetoric that his critics have no credibility because they just reflexively freak out about everything about his administration — even what shoes his wife wears to board a plane to Texas.

Enough of picking apart what the First Lady looks like and what she is wearing. This is just an extension of the horrible message that women’s bodies are not their own. That their bodies belong to everyone else. That everyone else is owed an explanation and entitled to an opinion about what their bodies look like in this outfit or those shoes.

It was not OK with Hillary Clinton’s 1990s headband and it was not OK with the mountains of misogynist and often racist screeds about Michelle Obama’s appearance that continue even now months after her husband has left office.

Considering all that, it’s possible that more planning and preparation went into Melania Trump’s wardrobe choices that day than any other part of the presidential visit to Texas.

As Trevor Noah said, why should we care what anyone wears when they’re on their way to help people?

Wynne Everett is an editorial writer for The Blade.

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