Donald Trump has been the subject of many headlines recently, most if not all relating to his outrageously ignorant views, especially relating to using the recent terrorist attacks in Belgium to further a political agenda and religious extremism in general. But this week his wife has been the subject of headlines for an ad attacking her that was published last week on the Make America Awesome Facebook campaign. MAA is a group that targets politically conservative voters, trying to turn them away from Trump. This ad attacked Melania Trump, third wife of Donald, for a GQ shoot she did in January 2000, 16 years ago, the goal being to insult her and her husband’s capability of being the First Family.
Here is the ad, featuring a photo from Melania’s nude GQ shoot:
This ad uses one of the oldest techniques used to shame women into their places; shaming of a woman who chooses to present a sexual image, more commonly known as sl*t shaming. The ad uses a nude shoot done by Melania to insult her character and suggest that she would be a bad first lady. To be clear, Trump is not a good candidate for president and many of his policies are almost scarily ignorant, but that doesn’t justify attacking his wife for being a sexual being in the way that she, not a man, wants to be. Melania evidently felt good during that shoot, and her confidence can be seen in the photos. She chose to take control of her body and go naked, and that is not a choice that she deserves to be shamed for.
And as for attacking her character and capability of being first lady, Melania Trump is fluent in Slovenian, German, English, French, and Serbian and is a designer and former model. She built her careers by herself, becoming a very wanted model and building her own fortune before marrying her billionaire husband. She has donated large amounts to charities such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and is a Goodwill Ambassador to the UN. Television personality Barbara Walters, impressed with Melania’s intelligence when she met her, has said of her: “Maybe because she’s so pretty, we don’t expect her to be as smart as she is.”
Of course, The Donald hit back at Ted Cruz after seeing the ad, tweeting, “Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!” This tweet is no different from Trump’s previous political track record: being angry and saying something rash, offensive, and often sexist or racist. By hitting back at Cruz, who did not make the ad, and threatening to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz, Trump is perpetrating the culture that got that ad posted in the first place. A better move for both would have been Cruz denouncing the ad for its sl*t shaming message and Trump tweeting disappointment and maybe some anger that such a sexist tactic was used to criticize himself and his wife.
Even if Melania were a high school dropout who didn’t donate to charities and was all-around a bad person (which she isn’t), it still isn’t okay to shame her because she chose to do a shoot naked, and it’s not okay to suggest that her husband would be a bad president because of Melania’s choices. You can think that the shoot was distasteful, or that you wouldn’t do it yourself, but it is unfair and unacceptable to shame another person for making the choice to do a nude shoot. Mrs. Trump deserves to be respected, not shamed and frowned upon. Attacking a politician’s spouse or family is a low blow, and even lower if the method used is attempting to sl*t shame a woman and her husband into silence. There is an extreme double standard when it comes to women vs men doing nude shoots, and using one to suggest that the woman and, by extension, her family, have bad character is unacceptable and should be immediately and loudly called out.