The presidents daughter is continually used as salve for Trumps misogyny, but most American women know what real feminism is and what sexism looks like
Ivanka Trump and Kellyanne Conway sure are working hard to convince us that the president isnt a misogynist. While Conway tweets about Trumps commitment to womens health and covers for his bigotry on the cable news circuit, the first daughter continues her mission to present the softer side of a man whose best-known quote on gender involves grabbing pussies.
It would be laughable if it wasnt so dangerous. As feminism continues to grow more powerful millions of women marched against Trump and sexism less than two months ago conservative women will try to use the rhetoric of the movement to mask Republican misogyny.
In a time when so many misconstrue feminism to mean anything a woman does rather than a well-defined movement for justice, this strategy could very well work. The mischaracterization of feminism has been political gold for women on the right: operatives who once called feminists baby-killers and man-haters now claim the label for themselves even as they support stripping American women of fundamental and hard-won rights.
The most dangerous player in all of this is Ivanka herself poised, polished, telegenic and continually trotted out as salve for her fathers explicit sexism.
Just this week Ivanka tweeted out a picture of her father signing two laws that push for gender parity in STEM fields with the hashtag #ClosingTheGenderGap. In the shot, Trump is surrounded by female staff members, Ivanka and his wife. The photo-op was a clear response to the image that went viral in January of Trump surrounded by men as he reinstated the anti-choice Global Gag Rule. (A mandate responsible for thousands of womens deaths across the globe.)
Even before the election, Ivanka was trying to convince us that her father isnt misogynist. Her speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland made Trump seem more like a feminist revolutionary than a man who walks into teenage girls dressing rooms. Shes even called him a feminist.
Though Ivankas feminist bonafides are shaky at best the child care plan she pushed doesnt include fathers, her Women Who Work campaign is more Pinterest than activist, she supports an unrepentant racist misogynist any criticism of her is positioned as a rejection of feminist ideals. As the Trump brand takes massive hits, for example, conservatives like Tomi Lahren insist that any boycott of Ivankas clothing is proof that you are not really a feminist and dont support women.
Ivanka taking an interest is womens issues is fine, but using them to cover for her fathers rank bigotry is reprehensible.
Feminism is not blind support of any other woman regardless of her politics its a movement for justice and a demand for systemic change. That may seem obvious, but its a point well need to hammer home over the next four years if we want to prevent Republicans from rolling back womens rights while pointing to Ivanka and Conway as proof that they couldnt possibly be sexist.
Most American women wont be fooled by empowered slogans and hashtags we know what real feminism is, and what sexism looks like. And no matter how many female faces Trump surrounds himself with, we know exactly who he is and what he thinks of women.
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