Last year, Vogue made a historic decision. For the first time in its 124-year history, the magazine made a partisan political statement, officially endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. It was a desperate times call for desperate measures situation, (looking back, perhaps we all should have taken more desperate measures), and the magazine rose to the occasion. But now that Donald Trump is in the White House, it seems that things as Vogue will be getting right back to normal.
Months afterVogue’s be-bobbed editor-in-chief Anna Wintour met with Donald Trump at Trump Tower, Wintour has explicitly rolled out her magazine's red carpet for Melania Trump. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, she said: “We have a tradition of always covering whoever is the first lady at Vogue and I can’t imagine that this time would be any different.”
It’s true: Vogue has photographed nearly every First Lady since Lou Henry Hoover. Hillary Clinton became the first First Lady to score a cover for the December 1998 issue. Laura Bush was featured though she didn’t get a cover, but Michelle Obama got three covers.
Technically, Melania Trump has already been on the cover. She appeared up front in February of 2005 wearing her wedding dress, even though her name didn’t appear anywhere on the cover, and she was referred to as “Donald Trump’s New Bride.”
On the one hand, tradition is tradition. But we are still in desperate times, and—just as was true about Lady Gaga's politically tepid performance at the Super Bowl—business as usual isn't enough.
Treating Melania Trump like any other First Lady can't help but serve to normalize her husband and his administration’s racist and xenophobic actions. Does Vogue really want to be a part of that?