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The truth about Ivanka’s Trumped-up, me-first feminism

The first daughter met with Justin Trudeau and the president for a roundtable discussion on women in the workplace. The only woman likely to benefit is Ivanka herself.


 
From left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, and TransAlta CEO Dawn Farrell listen during a meeting with women business leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (Evan Vucci/AP/CP)

From left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, and TransAlta CEO Dawn Farrell listen during a meeting with women business leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (Evan Vucci/AP/CP)

This post originally appeared on Chatelaine

As many predicted, the first in-person meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump was heavy with expectation and light on substance. They shook hands for the cameras (Trudeau deftly avoiding Trump’s trademark grip-and-tug), sidestepped tricky questions at their press conference and called the day a success.

One of the most hyped set-pieces was a roundtable to launch the United States Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs. The group of CEOs and entrepreneurs intends to promote women-owned businesses and “focus on ensuring women enter and stay in the workforce to address barriers facing female entrepreneurs.” Its members include: GE Canada CEO Elyse Allan, T&T Supermarket’s Tina Lee and Canadian foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland. Leading the charge for the brain trust was Trump’s daughter Ivanka, one of his closest confidantes in business and in politics.

The idea for the council reportedly came from Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford, perhaps as a diplomatic sop and a tactful distraction from awkward subjects (the Muslim ban, the pussy grabbing, the U.S. refugees seeking sanctuary in Canada). It was savvy on Telford’s part to reach out to Ivanka, whose pet cause is working mothers. And next to Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women, our avowedly feminist PM looked all the more suave and progressive by comparison — a sleek, bilingual, woke James Bond to Trump’s belligerent, malevolent Auric Goldfinger.

MORE: The most chilling image from the Trudeau-Trump visit

No disrespect to the female business leaders involved, but it’s unlikely anything will be achieved by their efforts other than a general you-go-girl-boosterism for those who fly First Class. The barriers to women’s professional advancement are hardly a secret. White-collar women are held back by deeply held gender biases; by inadequate childcare and family support; and by terrible maternity leave policies. Blue-collar women are affected by all these things to an even greater degree, as well as by job insecurity and stagnant minimum wages.

But even if this council wants to enact changes, the biggest barrier they have is the man who hosted them: Donald Trump. The U.S. president has hurled personal, mean-spirited attacks on professional women like Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina and Megyn Kelly. He divorced his first wife because she was too busy working. (“Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. If you’re in business for yourself, I really think it’s a bad idea. I think that was the single greatest cause of what happened to my marriage with Ivana,” he said back in a 1994 interview). And of his current marriage to Melania, he’s said, “I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.” His cabinet and senior staff are overwhelmingly white and male.

In fact, the only female CEO who stands to gain at all from this council is Ivanka Trump, and not just because she couldn’t stop swooning in her seat beside Trudeau. The council’s launch conveniently teases the publication of her upcoming book Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success. Taking a cue from Taylor Swift, Ivanka seems to be assembling a cross-border squad of lady powerhouses to bolster her own reputation.

Like everyone else named Trump, Ivanka has used her father’s presidential campaign and election as a brand-boosting exercise. After she appeared on 60 Minutes in November following her father’s election, her team sent out a press release shilling the bracelet that she wore from her own jewelry line during the interview. Her lifestyle site Women Who Work offers bland platitudes about multitasking while promoting Ivanka Trump clothing, accessories and housewares. There’s plenty of me-first personal empowerment chatter but zero consideration of issues like sexual harassment in the workplace or the wage gap. The nannies and caregivers who ease the burdens of wealthy women like Ivanka are invisible and no mention is made of the fact that the contractor who designs and distributes her clothing line doesn’t offer its employees a single day of paid maternity leave.

And all the while her father has denigrated women and threatened reproductive rights, she’s acted as his chief apologist, using her Career Girl meets Everymom appeal to soften his misogynist edges. She’s often taken on the responsibilities usually given to a First Lady or candidate’s wife, including introducing him at the Republican convention, where she called her father a “feminist.” It was a statement as rich and ridiculous as her calling herself an entrepreneur, a title that suggests someone who has had to work hard and take bold, risky chances. Born into extraordinary privilege, hired into the family business and married to a man who inherited a fortune, Ivanka Trump has never had to take a real financial risk in her life. Which is why her exploitation of feminism is so grotesque — as writer Jill Filipovic says, “she’s a kind of post-feminist huckster, selling us traditional femininity and support of male power wrapped up in a feminist bow.”

Increasingly, though, women aren’t buying Ivanka Trump’s fake feminism — or her shoes and purses, for that matter. Over the past few weeks, several retailers, including high-end Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, as well as budget-friendly Sears and Kmart have dropped Ivanka Trump’s clothing, jewelry and housewares lines. The stores have merely said the products haven’t been performing well, but credit is certainly due in large part to #GrabYourWallet, a mass boycott of Trump family businesses launched by two women protesting Donald Trump’s sexism.

And some female entrepreneurs, with whom she’s eager to align herself, aren’t having any of her, either. Anne M. Mahlum is the CEO of the hugely successful Washington, D.C. chain of Solidcore gyms. When she found out that Ivanka Trump had worked out at one of her locations, Mahlum called her out on Facebook and demanded a meeting. She wants her gym to be inclusive and safe and wondered if Ivanka’s presence might upset people, given her father’s anti-women and anti-Muslim policies. “Her father is threatening the rights of many of my beloved clients and coaches,” Mahlum wrote, “and as a business owner, I take my responsibility to protect and fight for my people very seriously.”

Ivanka might be hoping to skirt further criticism of her and her father’s shady practices by championing women in business. She’s not wrong in thinking that feminism is powerful. She’s just underestimated what can happen when that power is turned against her.


 

The truth about Ivanka’s Trumped-up, me-first feminism

  1. I have an Ivanka shirt. It looks great – pretty colours, works in the wardrobe. But when you put it on… it doesn’t fit quite right in the arms/shoulders/chest and the tag itches my neck like you wouldn’t believe. So yeah… pretty to look at but put it on and it is just ill-fitting and itchy.

    • I saw her clothing at the Bay, looked at the tags and saw it wasn’t made in America. Like all their claims, it was fake. They are exploiting the low information voters into believing they support American manufacturing but they don’t. Even their “Make America Great” hats were made in China until someone called them on it. It is the outside enough that they tell so many alternate truths and then when they are called on it, yell fake news. I cannot wait for the impeachment. If they can impeach Bill for lying about having consensual sex with an intern in the Oval Office, surely The Donald will be up for impeachment far sooner, especially with so many leaks and a press that is so motivated.

      • The Trumps are smart business people and would be foolish to not take advantage of existing market conditions. Ivanka’s line would never have had a chance if she bought American. But playing by the same rules as all of her competitors she has been quite successful with her sales were up 21% in 2016 over 2015. Her father is trying to fix that distorted market by making it more economic to produce goods in the US through lower corporate taxes and through tariffs against those countries with low wages and poor working conditions for their workers.
        I find it very disheartening that a woman would try to justify Bill Clinton’s disgusting sexual activity by using adjectives like “consensual”. It was a clear abuse of the power of his office.
        You keep proclaiming the impeachment of Trump. Give me one example of what impeachable thing he’s done. I’m very leery to ask this question since your answers always drift off to some unrelated area.

        • Cage,
          Should have added that your impeachment example should be one that I assume you believe will put Trump out of office. While Clinton was impeached he wasn’t pushed out of office since two thirds of the Senate have to support that motion. Ain’t going to happen with the current make up of the Senate.

        • Excuse me….The trumps are trying to fix a distorted market by in the meantime, the will take advantage of the sitored market whereby Invanka’s workers ae paid vey low wages and get a week off after a baby. Got it. Meanwhile, you admit, Ivanka would never have a chanc if she bought American but somehow her father if going to fix that. Exactly how is going to do that? By nailing countries with huge border taxes? That will only hit American consumers…poor consumers will rising prices for goods. As for my comment about Bill Clinton’s consensexual sexual acts with Monica Lewinsky, did Monica Lewinsky, call rape? She actually admitted to showing him her underwear, a thong. I don’t find what he did okay but I don’t find what she did okay either and I don’t find Donald Trump grabbing attractive women by the pu&&y okay either. That is no different. It is certainly a clear abuse of his power. What I believe he will be impeached for? The same thing Bill Clinton was impeached for. Lying. Telling alternative truths. Clinton was not impeached for the sexual acts with he sexual acts with Lewisnsky. He was impeached for lying about them during an investigation. Donald Trump lied 17 times in his press conference. Some people have a hard time letting anything but alternative truths.

          • Boy, now you are picking on Lewinsky the victim-like she was the cause!! Willy committed purgery under oath but in the end, he never was put out of office. So hoping for Trump to somehow do something that will get him impeached won’t put him out of office either.
            Donald Trump bragged to a young reporter on a bus trying to impress him. To date bragging, as crass as it was, is all that was proven!! There is NO doubt what Willy actually did!!

  2. I saw Dawn Farrell, the CEO of TransAlta, interviewed afterwards. She was very complimentary about both Ivanka and Donald Trump (said nothing about Trudeau) and thought this was an extremely important initiative. So the fact that an left wing gym owner is excluding a woman from her facilities doesn’t get me excited-just repulsed.
    With the maligning above of Ivanka coming from a privileged circumstance, why don’t we look at our P.M. His major claim to fame was his father and last name. While Ivanka has actually managed a business and people, Trudeau has done neither. And while he had menial short careers as a surf boarder and bouncer, he lived exceptionally well off of his father’s wealth. And now from that position of privilege he’s trying to run our country with zero experience as a leader of anything and is amassing unheard debt through endless deficits which he now projects will continue for over 30 years verses his campaign promise of a couple of years.

    • And just how much experience does Trump have governing? Your degree of hypocrisy is mind-boggling! And don’t say that Trump is a business leader – he inherited a fortune – he hasn’t really built or managed anything except self-promotion. That’s not a leader!

      • Trudeau had NO experience about governing either plus NO other relevant experience other than watching his socialist father try to spend the country to happiness and amassing huge debts. Young Trudeau looks like he’s leaned that part well.

        • Justin Trudeau had about as much experience “governing” as Stephen Harper did when Harper became PM. What’s your point?

  3. I’m sorry – couldn’t read this piece of trash after the comparison of Turddeau to James Bond…just another stupid piece by a ditz infatuated with Turdeau – like a fag hag.

    Shame that women are still stuck in the mindset of voting with their pussies.

    • I can’t believe you made the above comment regarding female motivation for voting at a time when Trump’s presidency was facilitated by stupid, uneducated, whirlte men who voted with their dicks. Obviously the only functioning organ.

      • “white men” Oops.

        The difference between Trudeau’s childhood and Ivanka Trump’s is that our PM grew up in a household of thinkers and idealists, exposed to those concerned with public service for the greater good. The blonde brat had a lifetime example of narcissism, selfishness, theft and dishonesty, cunning manipulation at the expense of the public and outright contempt for those outside the Trump circle. No doubt she learned her lessons well, since her “business savvy” is a farce. She has no need of “savvy”, only access to Daddy.

    • You’re a class act aren’t you? Please go away until you have something thoughtful & hopefully intelligent to say.

  4. Great article. Ivanka is indeed no entrepreneur. And her marketplace based feminism is obvious. We are not falling for it.

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