- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2017

Liberal-leaning journalist Nina Burleigh took to her keyboard recently to hack out a lengthy essay devoted to the shoe choices of first lady Melania Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump.

Mr. Trump’s 17-day working vacation, Ms. Burleigh wrote Thursday at Newsweek’s website, gives the perfect chance “to reflect on a minor Trumpian trend to which the nation has become accustomed since January: the ubiquitous stiletto pump.”

What followed was a 1,562-word piece which waxed philosophical about the sexual politics of high heels, with a not-so-subtle implication that the ladies in Mr. Trump’s life are concerned chiefly with being eye candy.

“Besides indicating athletic superiority, the stiletto pump serves another purpose, summed up in shoe designer [Christian] Louboutin’s comment, ‘The core of my work is dedicated not to pleasing women but to pleasing men,’” Ms. Burleigh wrote.

She went on later to give readers a little history lesson involving Italian prostitutes in Renaissance Europe before returning to the modern day to invoke a popular Hulu drama and suggest conservative women must suffer a little torture in their feet and calves in order to “survive” the Trump era:

Historically, the Trumpian women’s shoe of choice was invented not for women but for aristocratic men, men who would never have to work, and who didn’t have to walk much but were carried in litters or carriages. Paintings of Louis XIV, the Sun King, show him sporting red-soled heels, posing with one foot forward and pointed out— much like Ivana and Ivanka Trump in countless photographs over the years.

Shoe historians say the first women to wear heels were Italian prostitutes in the 17th century, when they adopted them, along with smoking, from their male friends. From there it became a sexual symbol. The high heel was a staple of Victorian porn, and the stiletto (“dagger” in Italian) was introduced into women’s fashion in the 1950s. It has remained there, waxing and waning à la mode.

Feminists have long grappled with the high-heeled shoe, and whether the stiletto telegraphs power (sexual or otherwise) or self-hobbled weakness. Stiletto pumps are the ultimate test of a certain type of femininity. They signal the taut combination of power and weakness that conservative women must cultivate in order to survive among ideologues who are crafting our tax-free “Handmaid’s Tale” future.

Oddly enough, the avowedly liberal Ms. Burleigh is infamous particularly in politically conservative circles for an admission she made in July 1998 wherein she gladly sexually objectified herself in defense of a beleaguered President Bill Clinton.

“I would be happy to [perform a sexual act for Mr. Clinton] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal,” Ms. Burleigh told Howard Kurtz, then of The Washington Post, at the time. “I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”

A left-wing idealogue, Ms. Burleigh seems content to exude “self-hobbled” weakness so long as the president in power’s sexual politics accord with hers.

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