"Thots & Thoughts" is a column in which musings on dating, sex, race, religion, and politics all come together—from a bird's-eye view.
Understandably, it may be difficult for many at this moment in time to feel any empathy toward anyone with the last name Trump. The sole blame for that goes to the most famous one of the bunch, Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who was sadly bestowed with an irregular version of humanity at birth. A man who recently said that if his own daughter had been a victim of sexual harassment at work, the onus would be on her to find a new company or even a new career.
As vile a human being as Donald Trump is, and as after-school special as this may sound, the reality is: wrong is wrong. To be selective about when to exercise morality trivializes its very purpose. In the case of the New York Post publishing nude photos of Trump's wife Melania—which were taken more than 20 years ago—it is undoubtedly wrong. The unfortunate cover touting Melania’s nudes is wrong. The article “Melania Trump like you’ve never seen her before” is wrong. The article entitled “Melania Trump’s girl-on-girl photos from racy shoot revealed” is wrong. Even the other feature “Donald Trump is not upset Melania’s nude photos surfaced” is wrong.
They are wrong because they seek to shame Melania. They are wrong because they reduce her to an object. They are wrong because they play off archaic ideas of nudity and sexuality and perpetuate elitist ideas of what kind of woman should be First Lady. They are wrong because they have absolutely nothing to do with a presidential election between candidates Donald J. Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Yet, some have noticeably maintained that they refuse to feel sorry for Melania because of how badly conservatives treated First Lady Michelle Obama. Many of these complaints have essentially danced around the sentiment, "They wouldn't defend her so I won't feel bad for her either."
Well, the they in question is the New York Post, a trashy tabloid that's right-leaning, routinely racist, consistently sexist, and typically terrible. A tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same person who owns FOX News. Perhaps some conservatives are speaking in support of Melania Trump in ways they never did for Michelle Obama, but ultimately, both women have now been ridiculed by conservative media outlets. That is a testament to the reality that no matter one’s ideology, if you are a woman married to a politician, you may find yourself the victim of vile attacks. You would think all Murdoch-owned media outlets might tamper down on its sexist attacks of women in light of the Roger Ailes scandal, but old habits appear to die hard ‘round those parts.
Political spouses should not be used as weapons to help denigrate a politician. Both Michelle and Melania are victims of the same despicable conservative media industrial complex and the overall nastiness that exists in our political system. Michelle Obama has deserved better than many of the critiques leveled against her throughout the years. However, simple-minded—and in some cases bigoted—people's failures to denote right and wrong is not enough of an excuse to echo their mistakes.
Political spouses should not be used as weapons to help denigrate a politician.
Others have seen Melania's photos and argued that she more or less deserves what comes her way because she willingly appeared nude. Melania did as many models do. There’s nothing wrong with nudity or appearing nude, but there is something troubling about vilifying a woman for her sexuality at the expense of scoring cheap sales and clicks because she's tied to a presidential candidate. And the New York Post is not the only outlet guilty of this; GQ UK committed the same sin a month ago.
Melania herself has admitted that she doesn’t covet attention. It is clearly too late for that now, given the man she married. Still, these old pictures have not been reintroduced to the masses for the public to get to know her. Instead, they have resurfaced in a sleazy fashion for nefarious reasons.
Trump's Campaign spokesperson Jason Miller said the campaign itself is not angry. “They're a celebration of the human body as art, and (there's) nothing to be embarrassed about with the photos," Miller told CNN. "She's a beautiful woman."
He’s right in that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but that doesn't negate the fact that these pictures were published to embarrass Melania. It's unfair to her, and it will be unfair to any other politician's spouse it may happen to in the future. If you can't see that, you're looking through a bad lens.