A friend recently remarked that she finds Melania Trump’s style old-fashioned. I disagreed. Yes, Melania references earlier first ladies with her fashion choices—most famously Jackie Kennedy, in her powder-blue Ralph Lauren at the inauguration—but citing earlier archetypes can be progressive, even radical, if done the right way. Still, her comment got me thinking, and I realized that there is one time-honored archetype Melania fulfills, through dress and behavior, above all others. She is the first among first ladies to embrace the centuries-old archetype of the courtesan.
Let me be clear about what I am saying. I am not calling Melania a whore. I don’t think “whore” is necessarily an insult, and when used to denote a sex worker, it’s a statement of fact. But the fact is, Melanie is not a sex worker. I would never even call her a gold digger. While it’s hard to imagine a woman marrying Donald Trump for anything but his money—she certainly doesn’t do it for the conversation or proximity to orthographic acumen—the truth is that we don’t know why she did it. Nor is it any of our business. Continue reading