Is Melania Really a Victim of a Global Patriarchal System?

On Friday, Donald Trump officially became the 45th President of the United States. For many, however, the focal point of the inauguration was not Trump but his wife, Melania. People on social media have begun to collect photos of Melania looking glum at the inauguration.

Melania sits next to Donald Trump at a table, glaring ashen faced towards the ground. Melania stares after her husband who has impatiently gone up to greet the Obamas without her. Melania and Donald stand grimly next to each other whilst the Obamas share a tender moment. Melania stares into the dark chasm of her future whilst Trump laughs manically.


Ok. The last one might be made up but you get my drift. Melania has achieved cult status via tragic memes. But, why?

Well, it seems that Melania’s sadness is not funny in a bizarre way but in a relatable way. In an ‘oh that hits way too close to home’ way. One twitter user even captioned a photo of Melania with this: “Apparently Melania slept through lesson two of Dating 101: Stay away from a guy who walks 15 steps ahead of you.”

Sad Melania is apparently a dating lesson for all of us, and not just of the ‘don’t marry an old, tyrannical despot’ kind. In this meme the Obamas become the idealised couple, best friends taking on the world in a romantic, egalitarian manner. The Trumps are the sad couple you have at a dinner party. The ones who spend the evening avoiding each other’s gaze whilst one of them obnoxiously regales the congregation with inappropriate stories. They are somehow more awful as a pair than the couple that spend all of their time arguing. At least in that couple everyone gets a turn to shout.

The Melania of the meme could have done with the Women’s March in D.C. She is any girl around the world who could do with the validation of her fellow women. Melania Meme is the friend who will not even ask if she should leave her husband, so convinced is she that her misery is ok. In real life, Sad Melania becomes isolated. She won’t go anywhere without her husband but he’s too awful to invite anywhere.  Now she only hangs out with her husband’s friends who are apparently immune to his boorish nature. To them she is nice background decoration, her bilingual genius and business acumen are lost on them; instead they see a nice dress, and a nice smile.

Sad Melania has learnt at some point that as a woman she is there to support her husband, not be supported. That it is ok to always be 15 steps behind him. Sad Melania has become an accessory.

Real Melania of course, as in horrendously wealthy Melania Knauss Trump, does not need our sympathy. She could roll our sympathy in hundred dollar bills and smoke it, or give it to her son and heir to wipe his face with. But spare a thought for the Melania Memes in your life. Rally around them, build them up. And if you are a Melania Meme, get out. Now.

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