Given the fact that we’re all in mourning for the souls who lost their lives in Monday’s terror blast in Manchester, perhaps having something superficial to think about for a moment is a welcome relief.
You’ll recall both Melania and Ivanka Trump did not cover their hair with headscarves in Saudi Arabia (as required by law for all Saudi women) when they accompanied the president on his visit there.
Contrast that to today, when the women with their husbands had an audience with Pope Francis in Rome.
There is a traditional dress code at the Vatican which suggests women wear black, long sleeves and a mantilla, the traditional lace veil worn in the Catholic church.
According to the Telegraph, Only a handful of Queens and Princesses from Catholic regions are permitted to wear white, according to the traditional “privilège du blanc” or “privilege of the white” rule.
Well, the Trump women stuck with tradition, wearing black dresses and chic veils.
Both the first lady, Melania Trump, and the first daughter, Ivanka Trump, accompanied the president to the high-profile engagement, and both chose to honor the traditional Vatican dress codes by wearing black, long sleeved dresses and veils – the former even choosing to honour her host nation by wearing Italian label Dolce and Gabbana.
So why the immaculate toeing of the line at the Vatican? As Pope Francis had been one of Donald Trump’s most vocal critics it was likely deemed to be in everyone’s best interests that today went smoothly – starting with the clothes.
It is interesting to note the difference between how Americans view the traditions of one culture vs. the other. How can one head covering be viewed as repressive and the other as respectful? Clearly the question is not as simple as that, since deference in front of the leader of the Holy See is not the same as deference to an entire gender.
However, Pope Francis is a bit of a fashionista as he is apparently keen to relax the traditional Vatican dress code. “Things have become more relaxed over the last few years there are no hard and fast rules,” a spokesperson for the Vatican explained.
We’ll see if Saudi Arabia has any plans to follow suit.
[This article was written by Michele Hickford, author of the brutally honest and bitingly funny Do I Need To Slap You?]