Melania Trump embarked on her first solo trip to Africa; a five-day tour of Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt. It was an opportunity for Melania to promote her “Be Best” campaign, which focuses on children’s health and well-being. It was a way of encouraging friendly relations between the United States and the countries hosting her. It was a standard first lady diplomacy.
Melania faced a lot of criticism and backlash for her decision to wear a white helmet on safari in Kenya. “The pith helmet was first worn by Spanish forces during the colonial era of the Spanish East Indies, it was later adopted by the French due to its effectiveness in protecting from the damp and humid weather. Subsequently, it was commonly worn by non-indigenous officers commanding locally recruited troops in the colonial armies of France, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Imperial Germany, and the Netherlands, as well as civilian officials in their territories. As such it became something of a symbol of colonial rule.” – Wikipedia
People were not happy about her outfits on this tour, most especially this outfit. And they took to Twitter to express their disappointments. “Do you have any idea how offensive it is to wear a pith helmet in Kenya or anywhere else across the region?” – a Twitter user wrote.
do you have any idea how offensive it is to wear a pith helmet in Kenya or any where else across the region? You fool!!!
— Joost Fontein (@joost_fontein) October 8, 2018
Perhaps, had this been the first time Melania is stirring a controversy with her dressing, maybe this would have been overlooked. But it is not. During a visit to the US-Mexico border in the middle of the summer, at the peak of the family separation crisis, Melania donned a $39 Zara jacket that had “I really don’t care, do u?” written on it.
There was also this time she wore a Gucci pussy bow blouse to a presidential debate, days after the Washington Post wrote a report on her husband’s infamous comments about grabbing women “by the pussy”.
Melania on her trip to Kenya stated that she would rather people focused on the work she is trying to do, rather than on what she wears. And I can bet no one wants to waste their time focusing on her dressing, but boy! She makes it so difficult for us all.
It is impossible to believe that someone as high-profile as Melania would get dressed without thinking about the implication of her dressing especially while on a diplomatic trip.
So it is either she is making a statement with her dressing or she and her team are not in touch with reality.