Thursday of last week we were pulling into the central Alberta city of Red Deer to participate in a convention that I’d been preparing for since early April when I received a message from one of our daughters-in-law alerting me to Melania Trump’s latest fashion faux pas. My post for the following morning was already ready to publish and there was no time to write a new one. Though the furor has died down and I’m a week late, I still can’t help commenting.
When we lived in Japan, it wasn’t unusual to see someone wearing a t-shirt, sweatshirt, or jacket bearing a message written in garbled English. Sometimes those messages made absolutely no sense and sometimes they were extremely vulgar. The one that stands out most strongly in my memory was a young teenage girl wearing a t-shirt with PEDOPHILE BAIT boldly blazoned across her chest. Surely neither she nor her parents knew what that message meant. In fact, most of the Japanese who wear these garments have no idea what they mean. It’s simply popular to wear English.
I wish I could believe that Melania Trump didn’t know exactly what I DON’T REALLY CARE. DO U? meant! I don’t believe in putting other women down for what they choose to wear, but Melania is a public figure whose conduct and choices have an impact far beyond herself. The message on her jacket would be completely inappropriate for the first lady of any country anytime, but it was made even worse by the fact that she was on her way to visit a few of the more than 2000 immigrant children wrested from their parents’ arms at the Mexico/US border and being held in various shelters around the country.
What was she thinking? What could possibly have possessed her when she got dressed that morning? And where were her advisors? She knew that her surprise visit to the border would attract plenty of media attention. If the intent of her trip was to demonstrate her care for the children who have been separated from their imprisoned parents, the message on her jacket seemed completely contradictory. Or was this a carefully thought out plan by Melania herself or someone behind the scenes to deflect attention away from the humanitarian crisis itself?
The president weighed in later in the day defending his wife’s choice of jacket by tweeting, “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!” Sadly, his message made no more sense than the one on the back of her jacket and it contradicted Melania’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, who said, “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.”
So why did she pick that particular jacket to wear? Melaina Trump has been carefully crafting her public image for decades. I can’t believe that she simply grabbed any old jacket without thinking about how it might be interpreted. She has lots of jackets and I believe that she chose this one very deliberately. I can only assume that she wanted it to send a message, but to who? And why? We can only speculate.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had something to say about one of Melania’s jackets. First there was the $51 000 Dolce & Gabbana that she wore when she arrived in Sicily last year, but my indignation over that one pales in comparison to this $39 one from Zara!