Stilettos, sexism and stupidity: Newsweek’s attack on Trump women

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Earlier this week, Newsweek published a story entitled “Melania, Ivanka and Ivana Trump wear high heels, a symbol of everything that is beautiful and horrifying about them.”

My first thought upon seeing the headline was that it had to be satire. We’re in 2017, clearly there’s not people out there who would waste their breath or dedicate online news space to what shoes the women of the first family are wearing, as if it’s a statement not only about their fashion choices but about their desire to make themselves sex symbols, but alas the writer did.

After reading the story in all of its vomit inducing glory I thought to myself, “maybe we  the readers are being put on as part of an internal gag?” Surely the author/journalist was being punked or hazed by being assigned this story or offering it up as a topic? Could it be  someone fresh out of college or whose only experience in journalism was an internship at their schools paper took this on as a joke? Alas, not a newbie according to her bio page on the site, “Nina Burleigh is Newsweek’s National Politics Correspondent. She is an award-winning journalist and the author of five books. Her last book, The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox, was a New York Times bestseller. In the last several years, she has covered a wide array of subjects, from American politics to the Arab Spring.”

Adding insult to insanity in this piece are the so called “experts” that Burleigh relies on to speak to the woes and implications of wearing heels. Experts like British psychologist Paul Morris who apparently has the ability to get into the head of each of the Trump ladies for this astute observation on their shoe preferences, “So to deconstruct why Trump women wear high heels: They are just buying into traditional binary views of male and female.” Seriously? What? I don’t believe that their shoes say anything about their views on gender as much as they speak to I don’t know, their fashion sense and their personal preferences to what they’re most comfortable in. Isn’t that why any of us choose to put on what we wear each day? I know for me if I look good I feel good.

Burleigh adds this commentary herself, “So sure are they of their footing that the Trump women, rare political mountain goats, never even look down for obstacles that might break up their gait or send them sprawling.” Did she just call the ladies of the first family “Rare political mountain goats”? Again, I ask, what?

Then there’s Former Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley who’s comments range from saying that the high heels aren’t currently “trending” (as if stilettos ever go out of style, even when shoes like this season’s block heel are in) to saying “It is a shoe that defies gravity. It is a risk-taking shoe. If you stumble, you will break your ankle. But these girls have mastered the art absolutely through rigorous discipline of daily exercise and weight loss, and when you set your foot into the toe box you have the mental knowledge that you can’t make those mistakes and fall.”

We are still talking about shoes right? I wear high heels at least five days a week and I don’t think it’s very rigorous nor do I think daily exercise or weight loss has anything to do with it.

My (least) favorite of all the quotes in the story comes from American anthropologist and author Helen Fisher. Fisher who has this gem to say about women who wear high heels, “When women wear high heels at work, they send sexual signals that should be avoided if they want to be taken seriously.” What is that you say? Wearing heels has the potential to negate a woman’s brains. I don’t know who this is more offensive to, the many women who wear heels to work or the men who can’t listen to said women’s ideas if she’s wearing a particular type of shoes.

I’d like to stand up for all sky high heel wearing women (the Trumps, myself and many of my friends) and say Newsweek’s entire article was an affront to women and feminism. The fact is, regardless of gender, political affiliation, and style preferences all should recognize this piece as the garbage it is. Promoting the idea that a woman can be defined or pigeon holed by the shoes she wears is absurd.

Newsweek should be ashamed and issue an apology and until then I’ll be looking for the usual liberal nay-sayers who would have you believe conservatives are wagging a “War on Women” to come to the Trump women’s defense.

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