The media and public have scrutinized Ivanka Trump more than President Trump’s own wife Melania. Perhaps due to a combination of her established public image and the divisiveness of her father’s presidency, Ivanka has received repeated verbal public floggings.
She’s either too feminist or not enough. Her family’s presence in Washington DC causes trouble, but the Obamas are quiet neighbors. She shouldn’t get a title in the White House because only Bill Clinton was allowed to hire family members. If she bakes cookies with her children for Purim, she’s making a political statement through her religious beliefs.
At first glance it seems such double standards are due to her conservatism, but Ivanka Trump is more politically liberal than her father, whose policies, statements, and history trend more moderate liberal: a fan of big government spending, entitlements, government-run health care, an abortion flip-flopper, serial adulterer (sex-positive!), and LGBT-friendly. Is liberal ideology that fluid, or are liberals just so rabid they’ll eat their own?
Ivanka Trump, the Feminist Other Feminists Shut Up
In a recent Daily Beast piece, author Erin Gloria Ryan took Ivanka to task on a supposedly glaring double standard, charging she’s a wannabe feminist, a fake feminist in word and deed.
Ivanka Trump wants the public to buy her being both feminist and not a feminist at once; she is Schrödinger’s feminist. She poses for girl power photo-ops, but doesn’t speak up for the women’s health care that’s on the chopping block in the potential ACA repeal. Her brand’s tagline is Women Who Work, but she doesn’t fight for a living wage for all female workers and manufactures her clothing overseas in countries where workers are often mistreated. She’s proud to be a wife and mother, but hasn’t made a peep about this country’s disgraceful maternal mortality rate, especially among women of color […] Ivanka may be empowered, but she is not empowering.
First, it should be pointed out that Ivanka is not the first lady, and she’s said publicly she has no desire to fill a similar role. So she shouldn’t be expected to tackle tasks a first lady typically might. Critics say she’s the de facto first lady because she moved to Washington DC and Melania hasn’t yet, the latter saying she wants to stay with Barron Trump through the end of the 11-year-old’s school year. Part of this could be due to the fact that Ivanka has been her father’s shadow due to their close relationship and her interest in business.
Second, Ivanka’s been “first daughter” for three months. Tell me, would the expectations be this high if Sasha or Malia had been older when their father was elected? For some reason liberals want Ivanka to accomplish their agenda in the time it takes to complete a recreational basketball league for the winter. Must Ivanka address every issue American women face—provided indeed they face all the hardships Ryan suggests—in order to be a bona fide feminist? And how is that even possible given that, even as part of the administrative branch, she has no power to single-handedly enact any policy?
Compare the Ivanka Treatment to That of Chelsea Clinton
In addition to allegations of fake feminism, Ivanka faces charges of nepotism. Last week it was reported she would have an office in the White House and access to classified information sans a top-secret clearance or official title. This is indeed not only nepotism but stupid. If President Obama had done this with a 35 year-old Sasha Obama, Republicans would have been crying “nepotism!” faster than Jason Bourne can shimmy into a SCIF. That said, it’s not as if this hasn’t happened in previous administrations (looking at you, Bill Clinton, circa 1990s).
This brings me to Chelsea Clinton. Before Ivanka was the president’s daughter, she was heralded as an intelligent woman, a dedicated wife and mother, and a businesswoman with a burgeoning clothing line. Yet in a recent Fast Company longread, editor Anjali Mullany writes:
Ivanka has built her business on a brand platform that champions working women, so why is calm, polite Ivanka supporting an unpredictable and combative candidate so many professional woman have accused of sexual harassment, they wonder? Is the root of her loyalty pure filial duty? Does she support him because he’s rich (though how rich is anyone’s guess?) Because she suffers from a form of Stockholm Syndrome? Because the exposure is good for her business? Because deep down, she’s actually just like him? Because of her stated reason: that she truly believes he’s the best man for the job?
Compare that to this glowing review in The Atlantic of Chelsea Clinton, the daughter not only of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton but President Bill Clinton, who was impeached for perjury related to sexual misconduct, and both of whose lifelong political careers have been constantly dogged with scandal.
Such is the paradox of being Chelsea Clinton. The once and possibly future first daughter has always been mature and accomplished beyond her years. Now 36, she has a child at home and another on the way, three advanced degrees, one book to her name, and a second coming next year. She plays a high-profile role as vice chair of the family’s global philanthropic foundation. On the side, she teaches, writes, gives speeches, and sits on corporate and nonprofit boards.
Cue the obvious tagline: Ivanka is the spoiled rich kid, sharing an office next to daddy’s and modeling fake feminism. Chelsea is a stoic heroine of her own feminist tale, unrelated to her parents’ successes and untouched by their flaws. If we didn’t know these women’s names, backgrounds, or political ideologies, they would both be poster children of that double-headed dragon: nepotism and feminism.
Chelsea and Ivanka are reportedly friends and Ivanka is hardly as conservative as Chelsea is liberal. Thus, the only real obvious difference between them is the political parties their parents have chosen. Yet that alone seems enough to give one adulation and the other scorn.
Do Liberals Believe Anything Consistently?
It’s obvious Ivanka Trump isn’t a fanatical conservative and indeed offers a lefty lots to love. But because her father is a Republican, liberals pull out the cat claws. Grant it, if Ivanka is going to have an office in the West Wing, her political positions should be as clear as her fashion preferences. If she’s going to be in the public eye regularly, working for the American people, conservatives and liberals alike should be aware of her policies and role in promoting them.
Right now, Ivanka is politically somewhat homeless, but instead of offering her a room in their inn, liberals continually spit in her face and throw her to the curb.
Breaking: Ivanka Trump releases statement demanding #FreedomCaucus cover maternity care
(just kidding she’s skiing)
— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) March 23, 2017
In concluding her article, Ryan acquiesces, “[Ivanka] embodies all of the reasons people who care about women should be taking a step back right now and asking themselves if this is the best way to go about achieving results, about how things need to change. Feminism cannot be both meaningful and meaningless.”
If this is true, what’s wrong with Ivanka? If anything, she should be a beacon of feminist light, a nepotism recipient just like the relatives of presidents before her, and a person whose security detail causes as much ruckus as former President Obama’s does. It seems asking the media to treat liberals and conservatives equally is pretty much a futile request. As a substitute, perhaps the media and Left can simply identify why they treat so duplicitously a woman who’s not even a conservative?
The party of tolerance is showing itself, yet again, to be the most intolerant. In many ways, Ivanka embraces some of their most prized issues: LGBTQ preferences, pay preferences for women, childbirth leave mandates, and it’s rumored she’s pro-choice. She’s also clearly a dedicated wife and mother, loved by her father, and at least open to many conservative concepts. So either liberals aren’t willing to applaud the stances Ivanka takes with which they otherwise claim to agree, are unable to accept that people are nuanced and complex, or just like to eat their own on occasion.