As women, never in history have we had more opportunities. We can be mothers, career women, or some combination of the two. We can personalize what it means to live our best lives (thanks, Oprah!) and expect to be respected for it. (Or at least, we can know that parenting blogs will always insist “Thou Shalt Not Judge Another Woman’s Choices.”)
These notions hold in general, but they’re certainly not universal. Exhibit A? Ivanka Trump.
Many liberals have decided there is only one right way to be First Daughter. At least, there is if your father is Republican. And by liberals’ standards, Ivanka is falling short.
Liberals Want Ivanka Trump To Be Like Patti Davis
How is that possible? Well, as far as her critics are concerned, Ivanka’s been acting too much like her friend Chelsea Clinton and not enough like Patti Davis.
If you’ve forgotten about Davis, or if you’re too young to know about her newsworthy behavior from the Reagan Era, let USA Today refresh your memory:
There was a time when Patti Davis couldn’t get far enough away from her parents — and seemed to cause them an endless stream of grief.
Political protests. Posing nude for Playboy. Shacking up with a rock star boyfriend. Writing defiant books and articles criticizing her parents. Penning novels about dysfunctional families that looked a lot like hers. Sparking crowds at political protests with vitriolic speeches.
She did it all.
And it was a big deal because Davis — who has long used her mother’s maiden name — was not only an actress and liberal activist, but also a daughter of the conservative movement’s first president. Everyone knew Davis opposed Ronald Reagan’s policies, because she vocally and publicly dissented.
The Media Actually Used To Like Ivanka Trump
Compare Patti Davis to Chelsea Clinton, progressives’ new great hope for the Democratic future. Chelsea has worked for her family’s foundation and publicly campaigned for her mother’s presidential campaign. You’d be hard pressed to find any political issue where Chelsea has publicly parted ways with her famous parents, or any news stories about her embarrassing her parents. In fact, press coverage of Chelsea has typically skewed soft and admiring, just as it used to for Ivanka.
But things have obviously changed. Now that Donald Trump is president, liberals who were previously proud to claim Ivanka — she hosted a fundraiser for New Jersey’s Cory Booker!—have soured on her.
They don’t care that Ivanka’s pushing for paid maternity leave or affordable child care, which are not traditional Republican issues. Nor do they care that Ivanka and husband Jared are credited with “scuttl[ing] a draft executive order that would have overturned Obama-era enforcements of LGBT rights in the workplace,” which is most certainly not a traditional Republican priority.
Ivanka is now being shunned because of her association with her father.
Ivanka’s Only Guilt Is In Supporting Her Father
Many liberals presumably liked Donald Trump when he was an entertainer. Many also enjoyed watching Trump destroy other candidates in the Republican primaries, when they thought he and his controversial policies had no chance of winning. Of course, now that Trump is president, they don’t find him so funny. They feel betrayed by Ivanka, the polished and well-spoken, yet relatable Trump, who was presumably supposed to speak up for them and control her father (as if that were possible).
At bottom, Ivanka’s real “crime” is observing the Fifth Commandment. Just like Chelsea Clinton, Ivanka honors both parents. For Ivanka, family clearly comes before any political differences she may have with her father, and presumably, there are at least a few. But unless and until Ivanka airs those differences publicly — which is unlikely — the public shaming will continue.
“Saturday Night Live” will continue featuring critical sketches like “Complicit,” the faux fragrance ad featuring the tag line, “The fragrance for the woman who could stop all of this, but won’t.” And members of the media will keep writing glowing reviews.
Thus we find ourselves at a nasty standstill. Social justice warriors won’t settle for anything other than a complete repudiation of her father, and Ivanka Trump may be many things—an entrepreneur, a wife, a mother who likes to bake—but she will never be President Trump’s Patti Davis.