FLOTUS' latest controversy centers around a fashion choice she made while in Kenya. As photos from the visit show, she donned a white pith helmet.
As PEOPLE points out, this time of hat is commonly seen as a symbol of colonialism and oppression in the region. The pith helmet was commonly worn by European military officials as they came to Africa to colonize the area.
Melania Trump wearing a pith helmet on her trip to "Africa" is more than a silly sartorial choice. It's a reflection of her outdated understanding of Africa. (Also, she was photographed in safari attire multiple times on this trip.) #FLOTUSinAfricaBingo //t.co/aCnkOnPBF8— kim yi dionne (@dadakim) October 5, 2018
Many onlookers saw Trump's choice of the pith helmet as a symptom of a larger issue. They alleged that Trump and her husband, President Donald Trump, are out of touch with modern Africa and only know the region through various stereotypes.
"Melania Trump wearing a pith helmet on her trip to 'Africa' is more than a silly sartorial choice. It's a reflection of her outdated understanding of Africa," wrote Kim Yi Dionne, a writer covering Africa politics. "Also, she was photographed in safari attire multiple times on this trip."
Another onlooker added, "Melania completes the stereotype trifecta — elephants, orphans and even the pith helmet....."
As USA Today reports, Trump has already somewhat responded to the controversy in an interview at the end of her trip on Saturday.
"Focus on what I do, not what I wear," Trump said.
This is far from the first time the First Lady's fashion choice has been met with backlash.
The most notable instance of her fashion coming off as tone deaf or offensive came in June as she went to an immigrant children's shelter on the U.S.-Mexico border. As she arrived to the Texas Air Force base ahead for the visit, she was wearing a green jacket with the words "I really don't care. Do u?" written on the back.
The White House and President Trump have not issued statements on the latest fashion controversy.0comments