In a world where the man in the Oval Office has condoned grabbing women by their pussies because “boys will be boys,” and his second-in-command waged a prolific war against women’s rights to their bodies while serving as governor of Indiana, feminism and feminist activism has never been more important. A large part of that is women with public platforms, whether they be politicians, professors, actresses or musicians, using these platforms to draw attention to the inequalities that run rampant in today’s society.
What we most certainly do not need is the daughter of the man leading the crusade against women to pop her head out of her bubble of aloof affluence to shriek that she should be revered by women and girls nationwide as a feminist hero.
Ivanka Trump, eldest daughter of President Donald Trump, has spent her entire life in the spotlight, beginning with a modeling career and ending in her current position as executive vice president of the Trump Organization, founder of her own fashion brand titled the Ivanka Trump Collection and “adviser” to her father, the most powerful man in the world.
While Ivanka Trump reiterated with her latest book “Women Who Work” that she sees herself as the ultimate example of a woman who has found the perfect balance between a healthy home life and a successful career, she proved to the majority of working class women that she is completely out of touch with reality. Calling Ivanka Trump a “working class woman” is almost as laughable as Trump calling his loan of a million dollars “small.”
She coasted to her current position in the White House, one she is completely unqualified for, because her misogynistic father managed to convince enough people that he, a bigoted man with no previous political experience, could run the nation for the next four years.
More concerning still is that a woman of her status and her level of education either cannot see, or refuses to acknowledge, that heralding herself as a feminist icon for working class women is incredibly detrimental to the feminist movement as a whole.
Here is a woman who has direct access to the president of the U.S., a woman who runs a business and a woman who consistently calls for women to “fight for ourselves, for our rights not just as workers but also as women” yet sits idly on the sidelines as her father and the Republican Party take a sledgehammer to any progress towards gender equality.
Ivanka Trump claims her public silence is not total silence, that she lets her father know when she disagrees with his bigoted social agenda or his sexist comments. However, she follows up this claim by reiterating that she fully supports the Trump administration’s agenda in hopes of making a “positive impact”.
So what she really means is either she doesn’t have the guts to stand up publicly and denounce her father for being blatantly disrespectful to women, alongside other marginalized groups he insults on a regular basis, or that she actually agrees with the initiatives Trump and the GOP are taking to derail progress in women’s rights.
As feminists everywhere continue to fight for equality in pay, rights to our bodies and for the protection of women of color and queer women, it is imperative we look to role models who use their voices to stand up against men like Donald Trump, not just in private.
Women need their voices to be heard, both individually and as a collective group, by people in power, but that is not going to happen if Ivanka Trump, and other women who claim they are feminists, cannot stand up in public, risk it all, and denounce blatantly sexist legislation and comments.
Aly Niehans ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in international studies and intending to major in journalism.