When You Feel Like a Schlump Compared to Mrs. Trump

I spent most of Friday watching inaugural festivities. No matter the politics, the peaceful transfer of power and the richness of tradition make inaugurations required viewing for me (and my homeschooled children!). I’ve watched five (that I remember) and attended two. I soak it all in.

As I watched the ball coverage in the evening, I made an observation I’m not proud of.

Many of us “normal” women may look like schlumps next to the new First Lady.

Yikes! Comparison bites me again. (I’m a work in progress.)

(For those of you without Yiddish and German influences on your vocabulary, a “schlump” is kind of like a slob, one who appears slovenly.)

I said to my husband (Yes, I said this out loud!), “I feel sort of bad for Mrs. Pence. Having to go to these balls and stand next to her!”

My husband’s reply, “Why? Because she’s a normal woman and not some sort of super human?”

“Uh, yes. Exactly. Normal. Ugh. You’re right.”

{Sigh of self-disgust}

I flipped the TV off and decided I’d had my fill of this inauguration.

Copyright Disney ABC Television Group Accessed on Flickr under creative common license.

We’ve experienced beautiful first ladies before. Michelle Obama always looked enviably stylish and well put together. Laura Bush has a warm kind of beauty that radiates through her eyes and her smile.

But, both of these women have something Melania doesn’t.

Hips!

When You Feel Like a Schlump Compared to Mrs. Trump

So, how do we make it through the next four years without comparing ourselves to the First Lady who happens to be part of the one percent. (You know, the one percent of women built to be tall, slim and, yet, somehow, curvy in all the right places?) How do we leave the house in flat shoes while the new First Lady walks a parade route in three inch heels? Can we ever consider wearing white again knowing that none of us normal folk could possibly pull off looking as glamorous in the absence of color?

How do we endure the temptation to compare ourselves to the new, stunningly beautiful, First Lady?

We slap ourselves on the wrist (or the face, be gentle though) and . . .

We stop objectifying.

Wait. Shouldn’t that have said comparing?

Maybe. We should stop comparing. Yes. But, the heart of our comparison issue rests in objectification. We’re judging a book by it’s cover, a gift by it’s package, a . . . (I’m sure there are other cliches which also apply here.)

Copyright by Marc Nozell on Flickr. Accessed under creative commons license.

To size up another woman based solely on what we see of her physically is called objectification.

That’s my definition, at least. Let me give you Webster’s:

The action of degrading someone to the status of a mere object.

Ouch. Mine was gentler.

Stopping the “Compared to Her” Monster

So, here’s the truth. Melania Trump is not an object. She is a woman, just like you. Just like me. (If you are a man reading this, I’m sorry, please skip this sentence.)

She has feelings, emotions, thoughts, dreams, mothering responsibilities, and, oh yeah, a husband to worry about. (And, let’s just be real–we all know she has her hands full with that last one.)

She’s physically gorgeous. Yes. But, to see her only as a hot body degrades her value. It makes her an object.

And, she’s not. She’s a woman, made in the image of God. She has great value beyond how she looks.

Our God-given value is something that we constantly need reminded of as women. (Because of her gender and humanness, I bet even Melania Trump needs this message!)

Comparison should stop cold in its tracks when we stop seeing her, or any other women we want to compare ourselves too, one dimensionally.

Purpose “Trumps” Beauty

So, how do we handle the fact that our new First Lady is everything we tell our daughters they don’t have to strive to be? After we stop objectifying, are there other ways we can keep ourselves from the temptation to compare?

1. We recognize that God has a purpose for every gift he gives us–physical beauty included.

No matter what your political leanings, the Bible shows us that God, ultimately, chooses our leaders. God set up Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States (Daniel 2:21). Accordingly, he also placed Melania by Trump’s side for support.

With this in mind, we should stop comparing our dress size to her’s and, instead, intercede for the tremendous burden she’ll now carry as helpmate to the leader of the free world.

Do I sometimes wish I looked a little more like Melania? (Or Ivanka for that matter!) Truthfully, yes.

But, at the end of the day, I know my God gives good gifts–the gift of physical beauty included. He gave me all the physical beauty I needed to accomplish his purpose for me in this life. Did he give me enough physical beauty (as our culture defines it) to be a supermodel? Not even close.

But, has he equipped me in every way to fulfill his purpose for my life? Absolutely.

2. We pray for her.

Part of God’s purpose for Melania Trump’s life included the role of First Lady of the United States. Similar to Queen Esther, God granted her great beauty to capture the eye and the heart of a ruler. But, just because she’s got a great build and excellent bone structure, doesn’t mean she leads a charmed life. She’ll live in the public eye now. Her every word, step, and shoe-choice scrutinized. Phsyical beauty doesn’t exempt anyone from life’s pain.

Instead of vainly comparing ourselves to her, let’s commit to pray for her. Pray that God will also use her to support and advise her husband well. Pray that God will use her in this role for His purposes.

****Title Image photo by Boss Tweed (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons****

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