Column: Melania Trump lacks independence and autonomy

Photo courtesy of whitehouse.gov

Technically, Melania Trump is a free woman. She is not literally imprisoned and it would be silly to interpret the #freeMelania hashtag on Twitter in the literal sense. However, I do believe that she is trapped in a loveless marriage, a bad business deal.

The reason that many people had so much love and respect for the Obama family was because the relationship between Michelle and Barack was genuine. It was based on mutual respect and appreciation for a life of hard work. Their marriage was a partnership and their body language was always affectionate and kind. They brought out the best in each other.

The relationship between President Trump and Melania, on the other hand, is ice cold. Their interactions are always formal and seem orchestrated and contrived. A recent video surfaced of President Trump touching Melania at a rally and she seemed to flinch.

Saying her life is none of our business is laughable. Being the First Lady is one of the most public jobs in the world and her relationship with her husband will be the cause of much speculation around the country and the world.

What example is Melania setting for young girls? Be submissive, be silent. Your thoughts and ideas don’t matter. Your bravery and compassion are not important. Don’t try to succeed based off your intellect, you will only succeed if you are beautiful.

The idea that marrying a man solely based on his wealth terrifies me. When you marry a man for his money you may gain a nice house and the lifestyle that you want but you give up so much autonomy. Melania gave up her right to control her own body and her own voice when she married President Trump. She gave up her rights to do and say what she wanted and she has to ask permission before can perform any action. She has to ask for permission to live.

Melania also became dispensable. When a relationship is not based on love and compassion and instead on superficial things like money and beauty, then the relationships crumbles if those things disappear. Melania must constantly make sure that her beauty stays intact and that she remains appealing because her appearance is her capital.

Obama acknowledged his wife and daughters for their kindness and intelligence, while Trump is always quick to point out the physical traits of his daughters and wife. Melania is constantly objectified, seen as something to be looked at, something plastic.

Melania is not empowered, and she may never be. She is the example of what happens when women give away their power. Trump discussed Melania, his daughters, and a plethora of famous women the same way he discusses his houses and building projects. Every time he does that, the women in life become more and more like objects. Their superficial qualities become more important than their personalities and that is a shame.

Jillian James is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Focus. Every week she will be posting her column on her insight to political affairs. You can email her at JillianRJames@knights.ucf.edu.