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The Slut-Shaming of Melania Trump

U.S. News & World Report, February 15, 2017

As wrong and sexist as New York Times writer Jacob Bernstein was to call Melania Trump a "hooker," there is some feminist poetic justice in his slur. After all, Donald Trump has repeatedly reduced women to sexual objects, devaluing them as less than fully human.

He falsely accused Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe whom Hillary Clinton elevated, of having appeared in a "sex tape." He told "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush that because he's famous, he can grab women by the genitals. He dismissed Clinton by saying he "wasn't impressed" by her backside. He discredited the women who have accused him of groping or kissing them against their will by calling them "horrible, horrible liars," adding that one of them can't be telling the truth because, as he said, "Look at her."

If ever there were someone deserving of a sexual put-down, it's Donald Trump.

But Bernstein – who made his remark privately to model Emily Ratajkowski at a Fashion Week party – leveled his insult not at the president but at his wife. And it is never acceptable to insult a woman based on her real or presumed sexual history. Doing so is straight-up slut-shaming.

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