Special to WorldTribune.com
It is supposed to be a new era of female empowerment, fueled by the #Me Too movement.
Yet, those aspirations do not apply to elite conservative women like First Lady Melania Trump or President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, Gina Haspel. For these women, the nation’s liberal elite applies archaic standards, betraying their own feminist principles.
This week, in an elegant ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, Melania unveiled her official policy platform, “Be Best.” She will focus on the welfare of children and teens, including promoting the effective use of social media and helping to curtail opioid abuse.
In her speech, Melania stated her desire to teach the young how to use their voices to transmit “positive feelings of mutual respect, compassion and self-esteem.”
She wants them to learn to “choose words wisely.” She will travel across the nation, championing effective programs and inspiring children “to dream big, think big.”
Who could possibly object to a first lady who wants to focus on the social, emotional and physical health of the nation’s youth? One would think this policy platform would draw universal praise.
However, The Guardian, The BBC, People Magazine, Vogue, Slate, Time and The Huffington Post all explored whether or not the first lady had plagiarized an Obama-era pamphlet produced by the Federal Trade Commission.
Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, forcefully rebutted the charge, pointing out that Melania had clearly said in her speech that her mission is to popularize concepts and ideas that are working; the press had been given the background materials.
Even worse than these petty attacks is the snide commentary, expressed in print and on cable news, that the first lady cannot possibly be a persuasive advocate against cyber bullying because her husband issues mean tweets.
“In a yet more bewildering juxtaposition, we are asked to regard Melania Trump, the wife of @realDonaldTrump, as an enemy of cyber bullying,” writes The New Yorker’s Katy Waldman in an offensive piece titled “The childlike strangeness of Melania Trump’s ‘Be Best’ campaign.”
“Melania Trump — the wife of the man who just asked Congress to siphon seven billion dollars away from children’s health care, who champions policies that tear immigrant children away from their families — intends to fight for kids,” states Waldman, in an article dripping with derision.
It is indeed astonishing to read that the first lady of the United States of America — or any woman in the 21st century — is expected to choose her pursuits based on her husband’s behavior.
Melania is an independent woman with her own mind. She has stated publicly that she does not think the president should tweet and he disregards her advice. She is not responsible for his conduct. She has every right to determine and define her role, regardless of her husband’s identity.
By contrast, the liberal media did not hold Hillary Clinton accountable for her husband’s grotesque sexual misconduct, even though she enabled him, covered up for him and never publicly disavowed his behavior.
Melania has shown far more independence: she has openly dissented with her husband in a manner that Hillary never had the courage to do. Yet, Hillary was lionized as a feminist icon and Melania is being lampooned as “childlike.”
Furthermore, despite Bill Clinton’s mistreatment of women, Hillary was allowed to present herself throughout her career as a “champion of women and children.” But Melania is not allowed to distinguish herself from her husband’s use of social media. The hypocrisy here is putrid.
CNN contributor April Ryan expressed her dismay that Melania stood “before one of the biggest bullies” while launching her campaign. “I wonder if he [President Trump] will change?” she asked Erin Burnett, host of OutFront.
Is it not impressive for Melania to stand right next to this so-called giant bully and demand national change? Who else can disagree so publicly with Trump and last in his orbit? Is this not a feminist triumph?
“This is a first lady who is not culturally American, but she is learning the ways and this is not just an American issue,” continued Ryan, adding the foreigner card. Conservative commentators are rightly excoriating her for an obvious double standard: President Barack Obama’s diverse background was portrayed as part of his cosmopolitan charm and wisdom; but Melania’s Slovenian background is presented as a weakness, a sign of her ignorance of the country she now represents.
In a similarly disturbing manner, Democratic Senators like Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris are not the least bit enthused that Haspel, acting director of the CIA, is Trump’s nominee to be the first female head of the agency, if she is confirmed.
This would shatter a very sturdy glass ceiling. Instead, they have stated they will not support her candidacy due to her participation in waterboarding terrorists during the presidency of George W. Bush. They are entitled to a policy disagreement with Haspel, but the program is dead and will not be revived. In other words, it is a mute point.
Why not, then, buoy this highly impressive, uber-qualified woman’s candidacy and help her to make history? Where is the “sisterhood” for conservative females in pursuit of their dreams?
Girls across the nation witnessing these spectacles should conclude that feminism, as practiced by progressives, is just another form of servitude: You can only be as free as your liberal tyrants will allow you to be.
Grace Vuoto is the Communications Director of the Boston Broadside and a WorldTribune columnist.