Does Melania Trump Feel Uncomfortable Being Less Admired Than Michelle Obama?
April 4, 2018 16:57 By Fabiosa
The public's fascination with the first ladies of the United States long predates the current enchantment with Michelle Obama.
What does it mean to be the First Lady?
I mean, just ask historians about the importance of Eleanor Roosevelt or Jackie Kennedy. What's the first lady's job anyway?
Modern first ladies are required to perform public and ceremonial duties. While they've always entertained at state dinners and other official events, now they also serve as representatives to their husbands' administrations, taking on special projects.
Michelle Obama, for instance, spent a lot of time working on the issues of childhood obesity, girls' education, and military families. Laura Bush championed education efforts, and Hillary Clinton concentrated on health initiatives and women's equality.
In addition, first ladies have always traditionally paid for everything out of pocket.
Michelle Obama seems more admired than Melania Trump
As first ladies, both Michelle and Melania primarily focused on nonpartisan issues.
The difference is that Michelle found ways to use fashion to bolster her political credibility - this is a skill Melania is still developing.
Michelle became famous for her appreciation of Target and J.Crew fashion during her time as the first lady. She used fashion to appear as an accessible yet aspirational "mom-in-chief," as Barack Obama affectionately called her.
Meanwhile, Melania has been negatively criticized for her expensive outfits. She has cut down, but her wardrobe is still distinctly more expensive than Michelle's. Americans command substance, not just style.
Michelle managed to use her fashion choices as a way to make a political statement, and Melania is starting to do the same.
Thank you Debra, Valerie, and the entire BET family for hosting me tonight at Leading Women Defined. It was an absolute joy to be with such brilliant, bold, inspiring women. Debra, you’re a friend, a mentor, and a role model for so many, including me, and I’m excited to continue this conversation with you and all of the leading women from tonight’s event. #LWDBET
Both women share similar traits
It is easy to assume that Melania and Michelle have nothing in common because Donald Trump and Barack Obama are so different. Logical, right? But the two first ladies are much more alike than most might think.
1. They are both very tall.
Both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are quite tall: 5’11”, to be exact. The two tie with Eleanor Roosevelt as the tallest first ladies.
2. They've had higher approval ratings than their husbands.
In April 2009, Michelle Obama had three percentage points on Barack regarding favorable ratings. A CNN poll revealed that Melania Trump had become the most popular member of the first family.
3. They both come from relatively modest backgrounds.
Michelle was born to working-class parents, and her upbringing shaped her outlook. Melania Trump grew up in Sevnica, Slovenia, then known as Yugoslavia. There, her family lived in communist-style apartment housing.
4. Both Melania Trump and Michelle Obama are devoted mothers.
Michelle put motherhood front and center as her two young daughters adjusted to life in Washington, D.C. Melania Trump also seems to consider herself a mother first and first lady second. Relatively little has been reported about her son, Barron, at least by Trump standards.
5. Americans admire both first ladies for their sense of style.
The two first ladies have very different senses of style, as documented. But none of them seems to have a problem with the media examining their choices of clothing or accessories.
But there's still a lot the current First Lady could learn from her predecessor.