Yes, Ivanka Trump Faces Sexism. But She Perpetuates It, Too
Ivanka may be right about the "viciousness" around her. But it's time for her to acknowledge that she contributes to it.
On Monday, Ivanka Trump sat down for an interview with Fox and Friends, and ironically enough, the daughter of President Donald Trump proceeded to slam the D.C. world for its meanness. “There is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting,” Ivanka said. The interview was the latest installment in Ivanka’s dismal quest to brand herself as a person with a functioning conscience.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) June 12, 2017
How convenient that Ivanka was able to find her voice and speak out about “viciousness” in politics when she felt it aimed at herself and her family, but never seems to find words when her father calls Mexican immigrants rapists, mocks prisoners of war and the disabled, or joins his supporters in “lock her up!” chants. The interview followed Fox News anchor Sean Hannity‘s interview with her brother Eric Trump, in which Eric claimed Democrats are so hateful that “they’re not even people.”
Twitter was quick to mock the children of the most notorious — and powerful — bully in the country for their tone deaf attempts to portray themselves as the real victims. And yet, it seems worth noting that unlike Eric’s borderline delusional claims, there may be some truth in Ivanka’s perceptions of herself as a victim. She is, after all, undeniably a victim of sexism.
Not too long ago on another Fox News show, host Jesse Watters made a crass hand gesture with a smirk on his face, as he talked about Ivanka and said he “really liked how she was speaking into the microphone” at a women’s conference in Germany, where Ivanka was booed and hissed at for defending her father. Some have also pointed out how jokes about Ivanka’s “thirst” for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also carried implicit sexism.
Additionally, the media’s fixation on her outfit choices also appears to be something of a gendered double standard. With the exception of the time last month that press secretary Sean Spicer appeared to be wearing a pair of mismatched shoes, and last year when former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders donned an ambiguously colored suit jacket at a primary debate, coverage of men in positions of political power focuses on their work and policies — not their outfits.
So, there you have it — Ivanka Trump is a victim of sexism in media and politics. Great — she and all women with some semblance of celebrity.
But Ivanka’s case is a particularly unique one for feminists to discuss, and that’s because it justifiably doesn’t come with the same frustration. Senate Republicans’ gagging of Elizabeth Warren, political pundits’ demands for Hillary Clinton to smile more and essentially be perfect, and, of course, the more than 80 percent of female politicians around the world reporting threats of violence and rape for trying to do their jobs — the injustice that these women face, some, as career advocates for women and marginalized people, makes them sympathetic. However, the same can’t exactly be said of Ivanka, who perpetuates sexism just as much as she faces it.
Ivanka’s unwavering loyalty to a self-admitted, serial sexual abuser and crude-mouthed misogynist who has called women “fat pigs,” “slobs,” and, of course, suggested former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly was on her period just because she asked him a difficult question at a primary debate, can’t merely be waved away by her blood ties to President Donald Trump. Nearly every woman in the country Ivanka’s age has a dad with sexist tendencies, and you don’t see those women out and about campaigning for said sexist dads.
The difference between Ivanka and other women, however, is that she stands to profit tremendously from standing by her father and reaping the benefits of his political victory, which was, of course, handed to him with the help of sexism.
As a wealthy, white businesswoman, she stands to benefit from her proposed maternal leave policies that would reinforce dated gender roles and throw countless low-income people under the bus. She stands to either benefit or, at worst, be unaffected by choosing to hold her tongue and shrug off her father’s policies and rhetoric that endanger and marginalize Muslim women, separate immigrant women from their families, and deny women across the country autonomy over their bodies.
Ivanka Trump is in possession of global influence and a vast and far-reaching platform most other women could only dream of having. Her silence is not only deafening, but also ultimately harmful.
At the end of the day, media’s sexist fixation on her outfits hardly vindicates her from the fact that her power, handed to her from a man whose political career is rooted in grossly sexist attacks, anti-woman policies, and the stains of innumerable sexual abuse allegations, is built on the oppression of just about every woman in this country who doesn’t share her privilege.
Ivanka’s viciousness may not be as outright as her father’s — but it’s certainly there.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.