Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Slut Shaming of Melania Trump


It’s been quite a while since I blogged. Election night I nearly fired one off which was more full of expletives than content. But, better judgment prevailed, and I went to bed instead.

Over the last four days I’d decided to forgo comments on the election as there are certainly plenty to go around. But, something has come up in the last few days that has caused me to break my silence. Sadly, it doesn’t even have to do with the election itself..

Rather, it’s about the usage of images Donald Trump’s wife posed for years ago. Years before they’d ever met, and when she was living in London.

For the few that have no idea what I’m talking about, prior to meeting her husband, Melania Trump was a model. She posed for a couple nude photo spreads, one even included another woman. This was 21 years prior to the election, and before she had ever met her husband, came to the United States or became a United States citizen.

During the election a spat flared up between Trump supporters and those of then presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Someone posted unflattering, non-nude, photos of Heidi Cruz, which was countered by nude photos of Melania Trump. Arguments went back and forth about who started it. Things seemed to die down as other more important controversies reared their ugly heads.

But, things changed once Trump’s stunning upset happened.

I have seem multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter by people asking if she was the type of First Lady we wanted? The posts usually included Trump’s nude photos. These posts were typically done by people who would label themselves Liberal, and some who even made the point they were Christian.

When challenged on why they felt the need to post the photos, answers varied. Some said it was to illustrate Trump’s double standard of conservative Christian values only to marry a porn star. Some it was to compare her with the current First Lady, Michelle Obama, showing a lack of class in Trump.

But, I’m not buying it. The zealousness of which they’ve been posted suggest it’s being done as some kind of weird retribution against her husband winning the election.

The term slut-shaming was first coined in Finally, a Feminism Blog 101 way back on April 4th, 2010. It can be defined as “…the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual…” Certainly, nude photos could fall under that broad definition.

One person clarified she didn’t have anything wrong with her posing nude. But, if that’s the case one has to wonder about the logic of using Trump’s photos in such a bad light, especially when being used to emphasize a point against her husband.

Probably the most common form of slut-shaming occurs when ex-boyfriends or husbands post photos of their former lovers. Photos, which the women never intended to see the light of day outside of the bedroom. They shared their most intimate images for whatever reason, likely with the idea it would be only between them and their closest friend, only to have that trust broken after the relationship went sour.

People have sued, and those lawsuits have decided in their favor. Posting such images, without a person’s consent, is a violation of privacy and could be considered defamation.

Granted, Melania Trump was paid for her photo spreads and the images are readily available on the Internet. But, I will argue that what people are doing with her photos is just as bad and tantamount to slut-shaming.

Further, let me ask this.

To you mothers. If your daughter gave an ex-boyfriend photos, and he posted those, would you think that was OK? After all she gave them to him for his pleasure. Of course not.

To you husbands. If your wife’s ex-boyfriend posted photos of her on the web without her permission, how would you feel? I’m betting pretty angry.

What is the difference between those two scenarios and what you’re doing when you post Melania Trump’s 21-yr-old nudes considering they weren’t given directly to you?

There isn’t any.

You might respond with “Well, she was paid for those. She knew they’d be freely available; especially the ones in GQ Magazine.”

Interesting argument. But, the thing is that YOU didn’t pay for those photos. Someone else did.

It’s time for you to look at your actions if you are one of those that chose to use these photos, or are considering doing such.  Look deep down inside your soul at what your true motivation was. Ask yourself had your candidate of choice been in the same circumstance would you have been so eager to post the photos? If the answer is no then you’ve illustrated my point.

Let me close by addressing the suggestion that I’m just some typical white male Trump supporter. I will say that Donald Trump was not my first choice for president, and leave it at that.