Cleveland High School
Cleveland High School
When you think of Trump, do you think feminism? I certainly do not and actually see him more of as the embodiment of misogyny and bigotry in our country. But according to Ivanka, his own daughter with a purely feminist agenda who has no intention of bettering his shattered reputation, has strongly claimed that Donald is a feminist. Despite the awkwardness of that statement, she insists that he is “a big reason I am the woman I am today.” The kind of woman Ivanka is today is a self-proclaimed feminist who uses the movement mainly for its capitalistic benefits while ignoring the intersectional fight for gender equality.
Ivanka might be a feminist, but she’s really just an advocate for women who are rich and white. Kathleen Parker, a writer for the Washington Post, praised Ivanka and Melania’s “empowering” presence in Saudi Arabia by saying, “It is true that Western women are encouraged to dress modestly, as Melania and Ivanka did. It helps that both are beautiful and have fathomless wardrobe budgets. Despite their apparent ornamentalism, there’s little doubt both women made a lasting impression on Saudi women, who would have recognized and identified with their feminine power. Wordlessly, they projected strength, intelligence, grace ? and a timeless wisdom that all women share.” Parker’s article was heavily criticized and understandably so because it summarizes Ivanka’s flawed feminism perfectly, yet exalts it. It is a form of white feminism that empowers only white women since for many people, it is a whole lot easier to join a movement that ignores problems that do not exist in their world. Parker points out their “feminine power” which she implicitly defines in other parts of the article as elegance of the wardrobe and the beauty of white skin. She emphasizes how Melania and Ivanka are “preternaturally beautiful,” not because they might be active or brave, but because they are pretty. Furthermore, she states that “wordlessly,” they shone their empowering female light, which is confusing because they have never voiced any sort of activism or started wholesome feminist movements, yet somehow they deserve admiration from Saudi women. If all they are doing is wearing nice dresses, I find very little reason as to why Parker believes that Saudi women should have such great reverence for Ivanka and Melania.
Ivanka’s feminism excludes women who are poor and women of color. It is discouraging to realize that Ivanka had once been a source of hope in her father’s administration; many women looked to her to be the single feminist voice that could potentially lessen the impacts of Donald’s misogyny. However, it is clear that Ivanka’s fight for true equality is of little priority and rather a prop used for her father. On her website, “Women Who Work,” Ivanka tries to use progressive feminism and depict an independent, working woman. But her so called “feminism” is muted by posts about Mother’s Day Gift Ideas with candles over a hundred dollars and coloring books for seventy, How to “Spring Clean” Your Desk, or What To Wear to Work with affordable clothing over a hundred dollars! These articles discuss topics that are privileges to even invest time in. It is neither intersectional nor accessible feminism when it leaves out everyone except people that look and live like her. With such an enormous platform, I truly hope that Ivanka will work independently of her father and advocate for a feminism that is representative of all women.
<Soma Chu, Cleveland HS, 11th Grade