Melania Trump: could be the First Lady a target of anti-eastern European prejudice?

Attitudes towards Melania Trump have already been shaped by deep-seated social stereotypes surrounding the “eastern European woman”, argues Jelena Prtoric, therefore we should keep this in your mind as she starts her stint as First Lady

Though I have resided nearly all of my entire life entirely oblivious to Melania Trump’s presence, i’ve been anxiously maintaining track of news headlines about her since Donald Trump embarked on their journey to overcome the White home. Melania arises from a specific history, the one that overshadows her personality: that of a Slavic, eastern woman that is european. Inspite of the age space and very different life trajectories, Melania and I also were created when you look at the 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 linguistic that is common 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. There’s nothing inherently empowering in being somebody’s wife. Even more so whenever that somebody is Donald Trump, so when you protect their stance on immigration and women’s legal rights.

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

Donald and Melania Trump in 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 just how, despite her preventing the spotlight in the campaign path, Melania’s first public speech in the Republican National Convention turned into a fiasco that is complete? That took place, needless to say, because huge chunks of her message had been plagiarised, lifted from Michelle Obama’s convention message. Scorn and also the mockery implemented, therefore the Washington Post went an article that linked Melania’s plagiarism to “the tradition of cheating in eastern European schools”.

In line with the article, Melania’s penchant for plagiarism can potentially be explained by the shortcomings of the problematic communist-era system that is educational. During communist times, kiddies had been motivated to memorise in place of to consider on their own. This misconception was debunked since, in a available page by a wide range of scholars into 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: really a surprise that is pleasant.

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

Probably the most she is represented as a victim of her husband sympathy she gets in the media is when. Yes, the brand new president associated with usa is sexist and condescending to upforit app women, but two wrongs don’t make the right, and depicting Melania as a tool that is submissive their arms is simple incorrect.

To wit: we have all evidently written from the chance for Melania anything that is doing as very 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 therefore.

Melania will never be Ivanka. Having endured close to her spouse for the campaign, it really is very improbable that she’ll “turn against him” and be the woman that is iconic all want to see as very First Lady associated with States. And unfortuitously, absolutely nothing implies that she might utilize her influence that is new to the situation of stereotypes about eastern European females. But nevertheless she behaves, i am hoping she’s judged by her actions alone, not her husband’s, and never based on profoundly embedded social stereotypes.

But Melania is not merely a spouse. Being an immigrant, former model and parvenu when you look at the American jet set, this woman is caught in a web 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 history and facing grim financial leads within their house nations, eastern European ladies are often viewed as especially docile and submissive when you look at the eyes of Western guys. Besides that, eastern girls that are european have actually the standing of going weak at their knees for western males.

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