Response to Robin Givhan’s Washington Post Article

Hello everyone. 

Sorry to have my first post back address an article (here) that irked me, but here it is. 

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8/30/2017

Earlier this year, one of the reasons I took a break from “some” social media was to get away from the Trump bashing.

I did not realize how many folks in my various online circles were anti-Trump.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understood their stance.

I understood that they were in shock, pain, fearful, disappointed, angry, denied, etc.

I did get the break I needed, but the biased Trump bashing continues. It is actually sad when comedians and talk show hosts continue to overdo the Trump jokes. It robs us from enjoying variety. I was watching some reruns of Johnny Carson a while back and noted that his opening jokes had a lot of variety.  He had a few presidential jokes, which allowed us to get a feel for the times, but his variety was what stood out. And so I double dog dare comedians to come out and not mention Trump once. Could they do it? Could they meet the challenge? I think Jim Gaffigan’s wife challenged him (years ago) to tell jokes without using profanity. This might not seem like a big deal, but most stand-ups overuse the “f” word and they water it down to where it has no weight. Jim met the challenge and gives his audience variety and fresh jokes. But the lack of fresh material is exhausting with certain comic acts – and news stories – that overuse Trump material; it is stale and annoying and the audience is missing out on variety. 

 

 Anyhow, the reason for this post has to do with an article I read this morning, it was an article written by Robin Givhan (8/30/2017) for the Washington Post, which was an opinion article used to slam Melania Trump for wearing “heels” to flooded Texas. 

I was surprised to discover that the author covered fashion as a business – because someone with a fashion background should know more about the psychology of clothing. Not everyone who wears certain pieces wears them for the same reasons. Just like not everyone who drives an upscale car is acting showy (some folks just like a smooth ride and prefer a certain brand). Many people choose clothing from an inner essence and preference. Their clothing choices are a part of who they are. 

I have had numerous experiences with this over the years. For example, one of my friends from Denver came down with Prada flats and a skirt to wear as we all walked around Red Rocks.

“Don’t you want to wear something more casual?” someone asked.

“This is my casual,” she replied.

Another example comes from a funeral my son and I went to back in 2010. One of the grandchildren of the deceased showed up looking like she was there to do a photo shoot. Her fiancé had to rent a small plane because his jet was too large to fly into the local airport (which goes beyond a “first-world problem” – that was a “1% problem”) and as this young woman walked up with silky hair, Hollywood glasses, and stiletto heels (which were a bit higher than Melania’s) – well I knew that it was “who she was.” As she smoothly meandered the crowd she was just being herself.  She was wearing what she wanted to wear to her grandmother’s funeral.

And the outfits that Melania chose yesterday (to wear to flooded Texas) were rooted more in preference rather than pretentiousness.

As I read Robin’s article, I thought, “Really – you want to slam shoes and clothing in the midst of this devastating tragedy?”

My heart is hurting for those digging through the clothing piles. I ache for the loss. I feel grief for the lady who drowned on the highway; rescuers had to pull the daughter out of the water while she was still holding her mother’s hand. I dunno, the wrong shoes just seem so irrelevant to cots being amassed by the hundreds and people scanning for the hard to find XL and XXL clothing.

So at a time like this – you chose to spend your precious gifted online news space slamming the first lady’s attire?

Well maybe at this time a more uplifting article could have been delivered to a nation who is grieving with and for the people of Texas.

Maybe you could have highlighted the generous support flooding into Texas. Like how Leslie Alexander pledged four million dollars, how Google and Facebook are giving millions, how Colt McCoy gave up his boat and sent funds to help flood victims, and how one of the first big donors was the stiletto-wearing Kim Kardashian.  However, if uplifting writing is not your genre, well maybe some snarky comments and put-down jokes could have been used to address the Osteens and how they initially resisted opening their church to help shelter flood victims. Because here are two people who are in “the ministry” – and work in this very community –who should be doing more.  And one of these pastors – who again, is from this very community – is a high-heel wearing woman living in a 10 million dollar mansion. Now that might make a good story – or at least provide a legitimate contradiction for ya – -Preachers who teach about heaven and sending treasures ahead, but then possibly hold on tightly to stuff and massively accumulate… hmmm – I  am not judging their walk, but that would have had more weight than slamming shoes. 

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During the midst of a nation in crisis, you wrote an article to put down the first lady for what she wore on a last-minute trip to Texas. The author wrote, “Trump is the kind of woman who knows that when she walks from the White House to Marine One there will be photographers, and so she will dress accordingly.”

Of course she will. Duh. So would I. And um, so would you…. 

Now I do not know all of Melania Trump’s background, but I do know that her past work involved being photographed (a lot and with some very nice cameras).  She has been in the camera’s eye since she was young. She has dressed “accordingly” every time she left her house – this has been her lifestyle.

A side note here is that we are all starting to dress for the camera a bit more.  I’m just an average citizen who liked to stay dressed down and a bit more casual, but years ago I realized that leaving the house too bummy or raggedy was just not good for society. So when I brush or blow out my hair and add a little liner to my eyes, I am not trying to look Hollywood hot; instead, it is a social grace to my community. The time I take with a little pride in how I look is a part of manners. And hey, with all of the surveillance these days – like facial recognition at stores, smartphones on auto record, and even cameras taking my photo at the tollbooth – it might be wise to care a little more about appearance. 

Melania shows pride and self-care when she presents a polished self. Of course Melania knew there would be photographers – and so what did you mean to say she was the “kind of woman who knows” – because of course she knows that everywhere she goes she will be greeted by cameras. This was her life long before she married Trump and this was her life for years before she became first lady.

So you see, this is why I wanted to write a reply to this article.

The writer seems to belittle the first lady for unwarranted reasons.

For looking too good?

For not dressing down enough?

For not dressing like a seventy-year-old 4th grade teacher?

For not dressing in a way that she thought would have been more fitting?

Well this is what Melania “wanted to wear” and sorry if it did not meet your floodcrisis visit standards.

And to then say that Melania’s ensemble was “defined by its contradictions” is actually ironic because the article title and points made within are contradictory. The author suggests (in the title tgaline) that Melania could have at least “pretended to relate” – implying that feigning a certain look would have pleased the author – but that request for fake is funny when they missed all of the originality and genuineness here. Is your idea of feigning relatable to wear wader boots with torn jeans? As if this would have been perceived as more relatable (to all those bystanders who were supposedly offended). The call for Melania to “pretend” is wrong – and how do we even know which shoes would have been viewed as more relatable?

I think that Melania’s clothes aligned with her task (which was not to be on the search and rescue team – she was voluntarily joining her spouse to make a visit to offer support during an unprecedented crisis in this area). Seems to me that Melania was trying to relate – sorry if it did not meet your standards for what you “expected” – but she is who she is – and she has a background that is very different from yours. What might come across as pretentious is a part of who she is; her clothing choice, hairstyle, and jacket color relate to her preferences and personality. This is not the time to talk about the fashion of past first ladies – but I suspect that even the trend setting Mrs. Kennedy had outfits that were viewed as too fashion forward, or uncomfortable, or too much for certain occasions.

Also, it was not like Melania was wearing diamond encrusted leggings or a bunch of gold jewelry. The author was almost looking for anything to slam. Neutral black was described negatively as “basic black” heels and how do you even know that her hair was blown-out? That hairstyle might have been leftover style from the previous day. 

Here’s the thing.

Melania was being as genuine as they come.

Her choice of outfit was likely pondered quickly – with help – and so sorry that it did not meet your expectations. Sorry that Melania didn’t “dress down” enough for you – and you know, if she did dress down, I bet that would have been made fun of too – like the way the media mocks Kristen Stewart and Michael Moore because of their unkempt appearances.

From what I saw – her clothing was not over the top. The collar turned up did make a statement, but there was no up do – no bling on the glasses– it was just a beautiful, former model adapting to a very new role (a very scary new role too – and instead of harshness and biased cynicism, maybe we should offer support for a woman who is finding her way).

 

Melania is more “regular” than you indicate – just look around at the diverse women across the nation. And you know, you might not be the heel-wearing type, but it is likely that Melania finds stiletto’s comfortable. 

As she packed – last minute – to travel to this horrible natural disaster area – the black stilettos were likely casually selected – similar to the way a runner grabs a favorite pair of Nike. The opinion about whether or not the heels are practical or comfortable is biased because some women need to wear their heels to feel comfortable.  This is what they wear all the time.

You wrote, “they aren’t power heels; they’re sexy heels.”

Not so fast.

You see, these shoes for Melania were likely “familiar heals.”

What you call “sexy limousine” shoes are actually everyday shoes for some women. Seriously, some ladies wear heels like this every single day of their lives. And once they develop a style it becomes familiar. It becomes comfortable.

The body adapts as sensory thresholds change and as arches and legs become accustomed to wearing certain shoes.

I don’t wear stilettos, but I have some and I have also had seasons of wearing block-heeled shoes. After wearing the heels for a couple of months, I found that I was gravitating towards those heels while wearing casual events. In the past, I would have worn some flats or sneakers with my jeans, but because I had gotten so used to wearing those heels, they were in my hands and on my feet as we headed out the door to attend a sporting event. There was not that much thought put into wearing them because they had become a part my current style – my gait – and they were a part of me. I now prefer a medium-height kitten heel, but my point is that this is how I view Melania Trump’s choice of shoes – she picked what she found comfortable.

 I also know that photos of the Trumps are snapped in certain ways to further the bashing- and some of the photos make the situation look worse. For example, photos from the day of the August solar eclipse showed Trump as if he was foolishly staring at the sun – but we saw the video that the still shot was pulled from and the photo put out was nothing like the split-second glance he made in that direction.

Anyhow, before we slam Melania for not wearing shoes equipped to handle the “cold, muddy, bacteria-infested Texas water” keep in mind that she was not asked to help with search and rescue.

And what is wrong with the “blown out” hair – really? Some of us have disaster mops if we don’t do our hair. Would you have preferred a scraggly ponytail or should she have wrapped her bed hair in a dollar-store clip…. would that supposedly come across as more relatable?

Seriously – instead of slamming this woman, we should be thanking her for caring about her hair and we should thank her for going with her spouse on this visit. Because she did not have to go on this trip. There is no law that says the president’s wife must accompany him on last minute travel to show support for natural disaster events.

Here is the thing.

She is still a friggin’ person.

And as a person, she has to find her way – in her new role – to serve our country in a way that matches her style. She will find her sweet spot, and let’s pray for her – and for all of our leaders- rather than flaw-finding and slamming them with our snarky comments. For those with skills like you, Robin, maybe you could pay it forward and offer some tips and advice to a lady who is trying to find her way. Seriously, because you already made it clear that do not approve of the shoes or the clothes. Just think about how much we could actually help our leaders if our criticism offered suggestions and words of wisdom rather than slams and put downs. 

Like it or not, Melania might wear stilettos with her pajamas, sunglasses in the rain, and blown-out hair to sit by the pool. It’s her prerogative. 

As Melania finds what her role as first lady entails, we might not ever see her dancing on Jimmy Fallon – and she might not ever show us photos of home-grown veggies (like awesome Michelle), but she will find her way.

She is her own introverted person and she cannot — and will not — be able to please every reporter.

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Thanks for reading – and I will back tomorrow with a long overdue Thursday Doors post. 

🙂

author update: corrections made – 913-17 – a few typos fixed and the word “and” removed in a few sentences.


19 thoughts on “Response to Robin Givhan’s Washington Post Article

  1. In the first place, I can not believe that her outfit became the topic for media discussion!! People are dying in wars around the world and even in Texas where their problems are only just beginning and they pick on a pair of heels to talk about!! The news media has hit rock bottom and I don’t see any light at the end of their tunnel, [probably because they dug it themselves!!]

    Liked by 1 person

      1. this is so sad to have another populated state get hit….
        oh – and here is a pic of the T’s from the next day – with an outfit the media did not have anything to say about….

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well thanks for taking the time to read –
      It was not my intention to come back with a post (chatterbox- ha) but that article incited.
      And super glad to have just started using “apple news” on my phone – have had access to it for years but never cared for it – and now I like it and so thanks to scrolling their feed I find variety and options – has taken me out of my comfort zone news – if at makes sense –

      Like

  2. I’ll say right up front that I’m not a Trump supporter. I will also say that I found the fact that what shoes she chose to wear to be ridiculous. I just don’t see how it is important, I also suspect that she would have been critiqued if she had turned up in work boots as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree completely and with boots – u r correct – some land’s end ones would have been preferred maybe. But what would the journalist here have worn in this case ? I bet a medium heel ….
      Oh but u are right – non issue ??
      And I just continue to pray for our leaders and their spouses/families –
      “lord, please help them
      Tweet with wisdom
      Please help them lead with wisdom
      Please help them be presidential
      And please
      Help the media have some dignity, wisdom, and watch the slamming…
      Oh I dunno

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a powerful, balanced response, P. Hope Robin Givhan reads this.

    “You see, these shoes for Melania were likely ‘familiar heals’” — this sums up for me. I like how you effectively use “heels” and “heals.”

    What is critique? A detailed analysis and assessment of something. Unfortunately, Robin’s post fell much short of it – it was biased, prejudged, irrelevant and ill-timed.

    Welcome back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the welcome back and thx for taking time to read and reply! And you know mahesh – it is moments like this when I find another reason I like blogging – it gives us a chance to voice our opinion when rattled – there are many forums for this – and blogging fits me whereas others might just tweet all day long…. ha

      Liked by 1 person

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