This photo, from a modeling shoot that then-Melania Knauss did for a French magazine in 1996, made this rounds this summer as The Donald's campaign heated up.
There's nothing wrong with the photo: it's shows a moderately attractive -- I have extremely high standards -- if awkward looking woman, posing nude, protecting her femininity from manual assault by, say, some creepy short fingered vulgarian with her left hand.
She posed for it as a struggling young model in New York City, a city filled with some of the most beautiful women on the planet. She's done many many more, including one that sees her rolling around on a faux-Oval Office rug (you'll start seeing that more often, now).
As The Donald edged closer to the nomination, and ultimately the Presidency, this photo was circulated more and more.
Many people believe this is slut-shaming at a new level, and I can understand that point of view. No one posted nude photos of Hillary, or Sarah Palin (altho some were spoofed up, to be sure), and while much humor was made at the expense of the moral fiber of Bristol Palin (two children out of wedlock) and that could conceivably be slut-shaming, no woman had ever directly been exploited in quite this way in a Presidential campaign.
"Exploited". That's quite an explosive word. Paula Jones was exploited. She was dragged out into the limelight to confront Bill Clinton because she was promised fame and fortune. She got infamy and a small check. The other Clinton accusers, they were exploited.
Monica Lewinsky, exploited. She still is, every time someone cracks a joke about a blue dress or a Bill Clinton cigar.
I'm not sure.
It's certainly titillating, no pun intended. It's certainly attention-grabbing. Slut-shaming, though?
I'm going to disagree. I believe the reason this photo has such energy about it, is such a good summary of the entire Trump family, is not about Melania. Rather, it's about The Donald.
More specifically, it's about The Donald and his "say anything, do anything" campaign of desperation to get elected. He made a choice early on to campaign as a "come to Jesus" Christian. He stumbled badly, so badly that it nearly cost him his nomination ("Two Corinthians walk into a bar...").
This photo is about the fundamentalist Christians who abandoned Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, and flocked to The Donald's message of hate and spite, abandoning even their stern and conservative Lord God for this Antichrist.
If this photo is about Melania in anyway, in fact, it's about her personal shames. After all, take a good look at that photo (or any photo of her, if this one offends you). This is a woman who by all accounts has a nice temperament, is a devoted mother to their son, Barron, and who has a decent figure and a well-sculpted face.
|She even plagiarized her looks...|
This is about a woman who has all the attributes one might want in a partner...and still the Rapist-Elect felt the need to cheat on her.
We know that rape and assault are not crimes of sex, they are crimes of power, of control. A man feels the need to physically dominate a woman (in the case of man-on-woman rape) and use her for his own pleasure.
Yet, this photo of Melania speaks to me as photographer of her power, her autonomy, her control over her own body.
I don't know that she's like that in real life, but for the good of the women of this nation, I truly hope she can stand up to The Donald in the manner this photo presents.