I love Michelle Obama. I don’t really remember having any strong feelings about any First Lady before her, but I miss her being my First Lady just as much as I miss Barack Obama being my President. I could relate to her.
Yeah, I’m a chubby, 30-something, white girl from the south, and she’s a fit black woman from Chicago who recently turned 54, but there was still something about her that was so…accessible. Maybe its because she appeared on a number of kid’s shows that my daughter watched before she started kindergarten. Or maybe it was because she was also a mother to daughters who she fiercely loved and fiercely protected. I felt like she was someone I could have a cup of coffee with, have a conversation with, and the whole experience would be fun and pleasant and positive.
But I remember the criticism many lashed upon her during her time as First Lady, as well. She was criticized for wearing sleeveless dresses, as though showing off her toned arms was a crime. She was criticized for her programs that were designed to try to get kids active and teach them how to eat healthy, in an effort to make America’s children healthier overall and combat childhood obesity. Hell, I even saw Facebook posts from questionable news sites which claimed Mrs. Obama was actually a man. And let’s not forget all the racists who compared her to monkeys or gorillas.
Our current First Lady, Melania Trump, has faced a bit of criticism as well. Most of it is about her prior life as a model and some of her more risque photo shoots. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. I’m a feminist, and the only time I’d have a problem with an adult woman posing nude is if she didn’t consent to doing it; I’m not going to slut-shame anyone, much less the First Lady. But I often wonder what those who criticized Michelle’s sleeveless dresses really think about Melania’s modeling days.
Mrs. Trump has also been criticized because some people think that her speeches are plagiarized. English isn’t Mrs. Trump’s first language, and I imagine someone writes her speeches for her, so if they are just rehashes of speeches given by previous First Ladies, that’s not really her fault.
The only somewhat valid criticism of Melania I can think of is that she’s tremendously private and not a very active presence as First Lady. While I agree with those statements, I’m not sure if that is necessarily a bad thing. I don’t love her like I loved Mrs. Obama; I honestly have no opinion of Mrs. Trump at all.
Truly, I’d love to hear more from her. And not words that she’s fed and then regurgitates. I’d like to know her thoughts on how her life has changed, how she feels about being a mom to a son, how she really feels about bullying – which is supposed to be her cause, the same way healthy children was Mrs. Obama’s. But maybe Mrs. Trump is staying out of the spotlight simply to avoid the criticism that Mrs. Obama faced, and for that, I can’t blame her.