Can we stop mocking Melania Trump, please?

I never thought I’d be defending Melania Trump, but I guess it’s been a weird year.

The former-model turned FLOTUS has taken her position now, replacing the formidable Michelle Obama, and we’re all a bit dumbstruck.

Literally, I mean DUMB-struck. Because it seems “dumb” is the go-to insult for the wife of Donald Trump and we’re striking blows with it like we can’t stop.

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When she first appeared with Donald on the campaign trail, she captured enormous interest: an Eastern European beauty beyond compare, whose secretive history included nude photos. She played the silent type which only increased our interest. And then her One Big Speech, her only speech throughout the campaign, was found to have been plagiarised from the worst person possible: the Democratic first lady, Michelle Obama.

And yeah, the jokes were fun for a bit. I watched along and laughed too.

But now Melania Trump has been firmly cast as a gold-digging bimbo with an incomprehensible accent who is silent, meek, and dumb.

In a week when the hashtag #rapemelania was trending on twitter, and Gigi Hadid’s impersonation blew up the American Music Awards, the mocking has been relentless. Mean girl memes have dominated.

I know I sound like the fun police here, but can I just ask why we hate her so much?

Because she’s beautiful? Because she’s different? Because she posed nude in a magazine, decades ago? Because she married someone she met and fell in love with?


Regardless of her politics, Melania Trump is a woman who cannot possibly be dumb. She reportedly speaks seven different languages. She came from a poor background in a Soviet Bloc state to America to raise her son, build a successful career and be a self-made woman. And on her marriage to Trump, she has said that they are both very independent but that “to be with a man like Donald you have to be quick, smart and intelligent.”

She’s self-contained, almost private even, in an age when society has an appetite and demand for the personal business, backstory, dreams, habits, diet, exercise, and skincare regime of every A-Z Lister. We’ve become so accustomed to the overshare, that perhaps it’s her silence and self-preservation that makes us uncomfortable.

Over and over again I’ve heard people cast aspersions onto Melania.

We cannot assume to know what this woman’s marriage is like. We can’t assume, as so many have, that she isn’t happy in her marriage, that she’s a silent, ‘trapped’ wife, that she’s a victim and that she will be replaced in five years with a sleeker model.

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When we mock Melania Trump these are the message we’re endorsing:

  • That if you’re beautiful, you’re dumb.
  • That if you speak funny, you should be mocked.
  • That when you marry, you take on the ideologies of your husband.

All of these are dangerous, unfair assumptions.

As First Lady, there’s another assumption. That her position is a national figurehead, that her obligations in that role are to select a cause and pursue it. That’s not true, either.

“First Lady” is a title bestowed upon the wives of our Presidents and Prime Ministers and Governors, not an actual position that has qualifications or expectations or quotas. The role of the US First Lady is what the US First Lady deems it to be.

Yes, we were fortunate to have in Michelle Obama a woman who campaigned for countless good causes including the education of young women. But we can’t expect a Michelle Obama to come around every presidency.

We don’t have to support Melania Trump just because she’s a woman, by any means. I’m not asking us to cheer wildly for her, or invite her over for a wine time and a girly chat.

I’m just saying; can we ease up on the mean-girl jibes and think about the message they send?

My colleagues on the Mamamia Out Loud podcast, Mia Freedman and Jessie Stephens, rightly pointed out that every political figure gets countless ribbing, stereotyping, and shit-canning  in the media, so why would we treat Melania like a precious snowflake?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of all the judgement.

Maybe it’s the same reason that Mamamia had the ‘kind carpet’ at the Brownlows, the same reason that I endorse Red Carpet campaigns that #askhermore. The reason why I baulked when all my old radio bosses told me ‘women’s voices are too squeaky’ and the same way I was taught, when critiquing red carpet outfits, to play the dress and not the woman.

Because women are more than how they look, who they marry, and how they speak.

Listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud here: 

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