Sometimes when I am having a particularly unflattering naked-face day I listen to this embarrassing playlist on Spotify called “Confidence Boost” and one of the songs today was Sit Still, Look Pretty by Daya. I’ll admit, the song is massively overplayed… But it’s really catchy. For some reason listening to this song made me realize just how much I’m going to miss Michelle Obama. (My thought processes are even more disjointed than normal when I start my morning preworkout, just ask Mary.)
We all lost out in some way when Donald Trump won the presidency. Since I am a white woman I can only speak with authority for how it affects me, that’s not to downplay the impact it has on other groups of people. It’s also not to suggest that the impact on me is any more important than any other demographic. I’m aware that I am lucky in many respects, but the only point of view I can express with real insight is my own. So I’m going to.
Michelle Obama is easily one of the most influential First Ladies we’ve ever had. She worked hard to be a positive role model for young women as well as make lasting changes in our country to build a brighter future for them. Her entire platform emphasizes the fact that girls are just as badass as boys and that we have power. She’s even got her iconic “Michelle Obama Arms” which are toned and obviously strong as fuck. She was a partner both in marriage and in policy to Barack Obama, nothing less.
Now I see Melania Trump… Donald Trump’s third wife. She’s beautiful, objectively. She was hardly involved in his campaign from the start. She has made no statement to indicate she has ANY strong point of view toward anything. A Slovenian immigrant herself, I’ve watched her grimace through his campaign and justify the things he has said. She dismisses his comments as if they do not impact her, even though they (should) personally offend her in more ways than one. She’s a puppet on his strings. She’s inextricably tied to him in what appears to be an abusive and unhealthy marriage.
While young women used to be able to look up to Michelle Obama and relate to her, now they will see Melania Trump. A former model, rumored to have had multiple cosmetic surgeries, who is willing to keep her mouth shut… She will quite literally sit still and look pretty. And we will all watch like it’s normal. When asked what her role would be if Donald became president she said:
“I chose not to go into politics and policy,” she said. “Those policies are my husband’s job.”
Melania Trump, whether intentionally or not, will reinforce the roles women have worked so hard to break out of for the last hundred something years. She has one of the lowest approval ratings of any first lady EVER. She reeks of indifference. She turns a blind eye to facts, much like her husband does. Donald Trump’s relationship with Melania speaks to the way he views a woman’s role in the American society and that terrifies me.
I’m never going to sit still and look pretty. I hope that men’s attitudes toward us don’t change in this new Trump era, but I have to assume they will. I’m already sick of feeling insecure every time a guy makes a comment about what I wear to work, I’m sick of gritting my teeth and staying silent when I hear someone blatantly speak disrespectfully about other women, I’m sick of the negative connotation associated with the term “feminist.” Does Melania Trump even call herself a feminist? Or is she okay with the way things are?
I know none of us are. So whether or not we agree with the results of the election, we can never shut up. We have to keep fighting for what we believe in, even if we aren’t really sure what that entails right now. As Hillary Clinton said:
“We have work to do, and for the sake of our children and our families and our country, I ask you to stay engaged, stay engaged on every level,” Clinton said. “We need you. America needs you, your energy, your ambition, your talent. That is how we get through this.”