Feminists Stay Home While Melania Is Mocked

Katie Frates Editor-in-chief of The Daily Walkthrough
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The New York Post ran a front page cover Saturday night titled “The Ogle Office” featuring a naked spread of potential first lady Melania Trump.

She’s censored, but the article features three nude pictures of her in various poses from a 1995 photo shoot when she was 25. It’s first sentence is, “Donald Trump thinks his wife will be a model first lady — and here’s the proof.”

To its credit, the Trump campaign rolled with the spread, with senior adviser Jason Miller telling “Reliable Sources” that “they’re a celebration of the human body as art,” and “there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” Additionally, the Post endorsed Donald Trump during the Republican primaries in April.

But none of the usual suspects are chiming in: Many feminists are staying quiet rather than defending Melania’s choice to pose nude — or attacking the Post’s choice to publish these photos just days after she and her family presented themselves to the country at the Republican National Convention.

Feminist hard-liners like Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Miley Cyrus and Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards have said nothing. Schumer frequently speaks out against body shaming and slut shaming; Dunham defends female sexuality and nudity through her show, “Girls;” Cyrus posts naked pictures in defense of female nudity; and Richards has said, “I’m just honestly so sick of men telling us what to do with our bodies.” Even models like Emily Ratajkowski pose nude to make the point that it’s perfectly OK.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who once said, “We need to understand there is no one formula for how women should lead our lives. That is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family,” has stayed silent about it, too.

The Trump family has defended Melania’s modelling aggressively. In response to the Post, Trump said, “Melania was one of the most successful models and she did many photo shoots, including for covers and major magazines. This was a picture taken for a European magazine prior to my knowing Melania. In Europe, pictures like this are very fashionable and common.”

Feminists are supposed to defend attacks on women wherever they see it, and certainly regardless of political party. When a media outlet posts naked pictures of a potential first lady, feminists should be outraged. They should demand apologies, firings, articles being taken down — yet they’re quiet.

It could be that ignoring an attack on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s wife is a necessary sacrifice if it helps get Hillary elected. It could be that feminism has been so twisted by politics that people like Dunham and Schumer don’t find her worth defending because of her husband’s political beliefs. Maybe they’re enjoying a beautiful summer weekend and will be outraged once it’s Monday.

For a movement that loves to be loud, it’s far too silent.

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