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August 30 2017

No, Melania’s Shoes are Not the Story, Texas is

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

First Lady Melania Trump antagonized the fashion police and media looking for a partisan angle in the eye of Hurricane Harvey by wearing stilettos as she boarded Air Force One with President Trump to Texas.

If you’re thinking, she wore heels so what’s the big deal? You are thinking like a rational human being. After all, there are countless people in Texas with nothing but the soggy shoes on their feet trying to escape their homes, reunite with loved ones, or find a comfortable place to wait out the hurricane.

Too bad people fashion commentators aren’t like the rest of us.

Robin Givhan at the Washington Post kicked off the roast of FLOTUS’s appearance opining on her sunglasses, bomber jacket, cropped pants, and stilettos:

It was also an image that suggested that Trump is the kind of woman who refuses to pretend that her feet will, at any point, ever be immersed in cold, muddy, bacteria-infested Texas water. She is the kind of woman who may listen empathetically to your pain, but she knows that you know that she is not going to experience it. So why pretend?

Well, sometimes pretense is everything. It’s the reason for the first lady to go to Texas at all: to symbolize care and concern and camaraderie. To remind people that the government isn’t merely doing its job, that the government is engaged with each and every individual. Washington hears its citizens.

Givhan’s is making a bold assertion: President Trump and First Lady Melania are just faking it and don’t really care about their fellow Americans in need of help. We can tell that by their outfits.

Vanessa Friedman at The New York Times also opined:

When it is a pair of very high, needle-thin heels worn by the first lady of the United States on her way to the site of a natural disaster. Then it becomes a symbol for what many see as the disconnect between the Trump administration and reality; another example of the way in which this president and his family continue to define “appropriate” their own way; and an excuse for partisan name-calling.

Never mind that FLOTUS disembarked Air Force one in white sneakers and her hair pulled back into a ponytail under a baseball cap – a look appropriate for where she was going.

That doesn’t matter because the message is loud and clear. No matter what FLOTUS was on her way to do (i.e., accompany her husband on a trip to see the hardship of millions Americans), they are going skewer her for every clothing choice she makes. According to them, her clothing is apparently a “stand-in for more nuanced, complicated emotions and issues.”

The obsession of the media and their fashion police detectives over a first lady who likes high-end clothing brands over Target and J. Crew is nauseating. If she “dresses down” they’ll call her inauthentic and when she dresses as we expect a fashion-model-turned-first-lady to, she is denigrated as out of touch.

Not once did either of these reporters show an ounce of empathy for the people of Texas. They were too busy speculating on the designer of Melania’s shoes and assessing the crispness of her white shirt.

Neither did these writers pen anything to actually help the people of Texas such as how to send donations of clothing, toiletry, and accessories that will be needed in the weeks and months to come.

Our hearts go out to the millions of Americans who need our prayers and support right now as they look for shelter and loved ones and then turn to the task of rebuilding their lives. That is the story today, not Melania’s shoes.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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