Now that Donald Trump has won the presidential election, Melania Trump will soon become First Lady of the United States. She has already visited the White House and met with Michelle Obama. Many people have been wondering exactly what kind of First Lady Melania would make. They wonder exactly how much work Melania would actually be doing as First Lady.
Throughout the election, Melania was very infrequently on the campaign trail.
Unlike the role traditional candidate spouses have served, Melania stayed out of the limelight for most of the election. She was not out giving speeches and hosting rallies like Bill Clinton was, for instance.
Serving in that more traditional spousal role was Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
She gave a rousing speech at the Republican National Convention, and was out campaigning consistently for her father. Many have argued it was Ivanka’s womanly influence that helped white women choose to vote for a misogynist accused of assault by a dozen women.
So, it’s possible Ivanka will continue working in that traditional spousal role by taking over the duties of First Lady when her father moves into the White House. This is not entirely unprecedented. Several presidents have had daughters, daughter-in-laws and sisters serve in the First Lady role.
The role of First Lady is a mostly public, outward facing role.
A First Lady is supposed to be a “hostess” in the White House.
I say “hostess” because it has only ever been women serving the role. Because apparently, the only role a woman living in the White House can serve is hostess. And of course, tradition sticks it on women to host. Women are expected to be patient, kind and welcoming, and have manners. God forbid a man take over greeting dignitaries.
I guess we’ll never know what the fuck a First Gentleman is supposed to do, given that we once again rejected the possibility of him ever existing.
For her part, Clinton said if she were elected, she would pick out the flowers and china: a duty left to the First Lady. Because apparently, that’s too girly of a task for Bill to take on, despite the fact that he left it to his lawyer wife for eight years as he had affairs in the Oval Office.
And of course, Clinton said she’d do that too. Because women are always left doing everything. Studies show even though there are more women in the workplace, women still do a majority of the housework.
Aside from basic housework and greeting duties, the First Lady traditionally champions a social cause.
You know, because women can’t tackle intricate policy issues. Women are supposed to be motherly and tell us what’s wrong and right. This is why you saw Michelle Obama, who served as Barack’s mentor as a lawyer, telling kids they need to eat healthy.
First Ladies have also been style icons.
That’s probably because only men have ever served as president. Men are boring as shit and don’t try to do anything with their clothes, so they don’t present anything for the public to emulate.
Also, this is probably because women are always judged on their looks and always stared at. That’s just about the only role a women living in the White House has consistently served so far.
So, a demagogue is becoming president and bringing his third wife with him to the White House.
For the record, Melania Trump is making history as the first First Lady to be the third wife of a president. She will become the second First Lady born outside the US, after Louisa Adams.
Trump’s public speaking appearances have not been particularly successful. For example, she plagiarized her Republican National Convention speech from Michelle Obama. She has given some indications about what she would do in the role of First Lady. Trump said she would focus her work on curtailing cyberbullying, which is especially ironic given her husband is one of the biggest cyberbullies on the internet.
It is unclear if she will begin her efforts by taking her husband’s Twitter account away from him.
Ivanka, on the other hand, has been successful. She is personable and persuasive, and has served as her father’s advisor. She is also part of his newly-announced White House transition team. It’s safe to say she will have a role in the Trump White House. It’s not hard to make the leap she will be taking on some of the duties of First Lady, such as making public speeches and meeting people.
Although Ivanka might take over the more public speaking parts of being First Lady, Melania will probably still serve the traditional First Lady roles of being a style icon and redecorating the White House.