Everyone knows the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” and Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trideau, happen to have three. Whereas most would agree that a working parent should ask for help when they feel overwhelmed or are in over their head, some Canadians are getting a little nasty with the internet memes of Sophie Gregoire-Trideau’s request for more administrative help to perform her duties as the Prime Minister’s wife.
Very few things make me more annoyed than when someone goes after a politician’s unelected spouse.
Although the spouse of the Prime Minister of Canada has no official role, she is unofficially expected to be a stay-at-home mom (read: travelling politician’s wife and mother), to work on projects with her husband’s office, and to serve as spokeswoman for numerous charities.
Ms. Gregoire-Trideau’s request for administrative staff is reasonable.
But I am a silver-lining sort of girl so let’s take this opportunity to talk about a very important issue: women’s unpaid work and the extent it is valued by society.
Women still perform a majority of the unpaid work in the home and that isn’t valued.
How does this apply to the role of the Prime Minister’s spouse? In Canada, the Prime Minister’s spouse does not have an official role, or an official title.
But for the sake of women’s unpaid work, something here has to change.
Officially or not, or like it or not, Ms. Trudeau DOES represent Canada on the national stage.
Melania Trump, Much More Than Just A Pretty Face
Love him or hate him, it is pretty much assured that it would take a certain kind of woman to be the wife of Donald Trump. The couple’s ten year marriage has seen the birth of one son, the entry into fashion design, and –most recently—a great deal of stigma and ridicule attached to this former model from Slovenia.
Gawker’s latest side-swipe is only the latest in a long line of undercover hit pieces aimed at Melania to present her as the stereotypical “dumb model”. I wonder if she had been the wife of a less controversial candidate if these outlets would have resorted to such stereotypes. But it begs the question: is it true, is she nothing more than a pretty face? Let’s discover exactly who Melania Trump is and what type of First Lady she might make.
Melania Trump was born “Melanija Knavs” on April 26, 1970 in Slovenia’s lower valley to parents, Viktor and Amalija. Her father managed a string of motorcycle and car dealerships, and her mother worked in fashion providing her and her sister Ines with what would be considered a “middle class” lifestyle under the communist system. She attended the University of Ljublijana pursuing degrees in design and architecture, while modeling part time in Italy. As her modeling career took off, Melania left her studies behind to pursue it more aggressively.
Modeling and America
Melania worked for several years on the runways of Milan and Paris before making a leap to New York. It was there under the tutelage of Helmut Newton that her career in print ads expanded, and she eventually began to find work with Conde Nast periodicals and other well-known photographers like Patrick Demarchelier, and Mario Testino. In addition to being one of the featured models of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, Melania made the covers of Vogue, In Style, Vanity Fair, Allure, Harper’s Bazaare, Elle and other high end magazines.
Despite the naysayers who have made her nothing more than a trophy wife in the eyes of the public, this former girl from a Soviet block nation had managed to parlay her own assets into an established modeling career before even meeting Donald Trump. To go from Slovenia to New York, requires more than a pretty face. It takes work ethic, determination, and good networking. Most models never make it past catalog ads. Melania made it to New York and the cover of Vogue.
However, it was her modeling work and her transition to working at Trump Model Management which put Melania on the path of her future husband, and it can be said that meeting him certainly changed the trajectory of where she was heading.