Melania Trump: may be the very First Lady a target of anti-eastern prejudice that is european?

Attitudes towards Melania Trump have now been shaped by deep-seated social stereotypes surrounding the “eastern European woman”, argues Jelena Prtoric, and we also should keep this at heart as she starts her stint as First Lady

I have been anxiously keeping tabs on media headlines about her since Donald Trump embarked on his journey to conquer the White House though I have lived most of my life completely oblivious to Melania Trump’s existence. Melania arises from a particular back ground, the one that overshadows her personality: compared to a Slavic, eastern European girl. Regardless of the age space and very different life trajectories, Melania and I also had been created when you look at the exact exact exact same nation — Yugoslavia. If We had been to go out of my desk in Croatia’s money Zagreb, at this time, after an hour’s drive be in her i’d hometown of Sevnica in Slovenia.

A common linguistic or geographic heritage don’t make two individuals kin, and I also is the very first to disapprove of (a number of) Melania’s life alternatives. Nothing is inherently empowering in being somebody’s spouse. Much more so whenever that somebody is Donald Trump, so when you protect their stance on immigration and women’s liberties.

Donald and Melania Trump during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Image: Disney / ABC tv Group under a CC licence

Donald and Melania Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Image: Disney / ABC tv Group under a CC licence

Donald and Melania Trump during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Image: Disney / ABC tv Group under a CC licence

Melania Trump’s hometown of Sevnica. Image: Eleassar under a CC licence

Melania Trump’s hometown of Sevnica. Image: Marijan Latin under a CC licence

Keep in mind just how, despite her preventing the spotlight from the campaign path, Melania’s first public speech in the Republican National Convention ended up being a fiasco that is complete? That occurred, needless to say, because huge chunks of her message had been plagiarised, lifted from Michelle Obama’s meeting message. Scorn plus the mockery accompanied, together with Washington Post went an article that linked Melania’s plagiarism to “the tradition of cheating in eastern schools” that is european.

In accordance with the article, Melania’s penchant for plagiarism could effortlessly be explained by the shortcomings of a problematic communist-era system that is educational. During communist times, kids had been motivated to memorise instead of to believe on their own. This misconception is debunked since, in a letter that is open a quantity of scholars towards the Balkanist, and also by Polish writer Agata Pyzik in Jacobin.

Truth be told, all the news understand better right now than to blatantly insult Melania’s origins. Whenever model Gigi Hadid did her Melania impression — ducking her lips and mocking Melania’s eastern European accent — much of this media condemned her performance, calling it racist: actually a nice surprise.

Yet many articles describe Melania just as dull and uncharismatic: some nevertheless talk about her just as if she were a doll (in one single brand new Yorker article she’s “the perfect body on which to hang a brand”); numerous concern her cleverness, and flirt aided by the term “trophy wife”. And though her being a female as well as an immigrant should produce some sympathies from liberals, their silence was deafening whenever she got slut shamed (by Ted Cruz supporters mostly) for posing nude.

The absolute most sympathy she gets when you look at the media is whenever she’s represented as being a target of her spouse. Yes, the newest president regarding the usa is sexist and condescending to women, but two wrongs don’t make the right, and depicting Melania as a submissive device in their hands is simple wrong.

To wit: we have all evidently written from the chance of Melania doing any such thing crucial as First Lady. Ivanka Trump — a high-achiever, opinionated and outspoken — has currently guaranteed the name of First Daughter. If Melania had the background that is same Ivanka, would media objectives of her be any different? I’d say so.

Melania will not be Ivanka. Having endured close to her spouse for the campaign, it really is extremely improbable that she’ll “turn against him” and be the woman that is iconic all want to see as very very First Lady associated with States. And unfortuitously, absolutely absolutely nothing implies that she might make use of her brand new impact to deal with the issue of stereotypes about eastern European females. But nevertheless she behaves, i am hoping she’s judged by her actions alone, maybe not her husband’s, rather than on such basis as profoundly embedded cultural stereotypes.

But Melania is not merely a spouse. As an immigrant, previous model and parvenu within the American jet set, she actually is caught in an internet of stereotypes and cultural misconceptions that you can get into the western about eastern Europeans.

From the presumed setting that is“desolate of post-communism, usually the item of a unprivileged back ground and dealing with grim financial leads within their house nations, eastern European women can be frequently viewed as specially docile and submissive within the eyes of Western guys. Apart from that, eastern European girls nevertheless have the standing of going poor at their knees for western males.

Needless to say, it’s not just eastern women that are european face such stereotypes. Anti-eastern prejudice that is european a tricky concept to show and delimit. Can it be once you mock your neighbour’s hefty accent that is russian English? Will it be whenever you claim these damn Poles stole your jobs whilst simultaneously maintaining that they’re lazy? Could it be once you don’t bother to master the true names of every nation east of Germany, presuming that it is “former Soviet”? One typical denominator nevertheless could be the propensity to characterise eastern Europeans as less educated, lacking design or elegance, labelling the males as brutish and aggressive plus the females as meaningless dolls.

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