The general message behind feminism is simple: women should be of a social and economic value that is equal to men and they should be able to pursue whatever goals they want whether those goals be family-based or career-based.
Yet, modern feminism is called into question when women tear down other women for their accomplishes, as we see every day in the case of Ivanka Trump.
Feminism does not necessarily suggest that all women must agree on every issue, but the movement does suggest that women should support each other in their various choices because the privilege of lifestyle choice, without getting into the intricacies of the abortion debate, is what feminism is all about.
If a woman wants to stay home with children, she should be allowed to do so just like a woman who wants a career should be able to have a career. Fourth-wave feminism, however, doesn’t quite agree on that front; in fact, a columnist in Australia actually wrote a column about why it should be illegal to be a stay-at-home mom of school-age children.
This age of fourth-wave feminism seems to have a mandate: be liberal, pro-choice, and make fun of women with whom you don’t agree.
Hostility towards Ivanka is not new. In fact, criticism of the businesswoman began during her father’s campaign for president. For instance, one headline read “Ivanka Trump Makes Donald Even Scarier.” The article then belittled Ivanka and her choices to stick by her father during his campaign and using her surname to promote her clothing and jewelry lines.
Even more recently, a Cosmopolitan writer took the time to compile “cringey details” about Ivanka’s relationship with husband Jared Kushner. But, the hysteria hadn’t even begun yet.
In late March, it was announced that Ivanka would be given a West Wing office and security clearances as a part of her place in the Trump White House. To sum up the mainstream media’s reaction, it’s nearly impossible to find unbiased coverage.
Stories ranged from, “The Rules Do Not Apply to Ivanka Trump and That’s the Problem” to “Ivanka Trump’s Move To The White House Raises Questions About Ethics.” Almost every story attacked Ivanka as successful only because of her father, and a few called her intelligence and character into question. And, this is only the negative media coverage. Ivanka’s brand was also dropped from Nordstrom, and there have been several boycotts of her products since her father’s election.
I understand concerns about what exactly Ivanka’s role is, but I don’t understand the absolute hysteria, especially now that her role has been defined and clarified. After all, in 1992, First Lady Hillary Clinton, ideology irrelevant, completely evolved the office of the First Lady, and that was celebrated. There was a strong woman in the White House representing how successful and important women are in this country.
As the saying goes, behind every strong man is a stronger woman, and Clinton helped the movement make these women more visible, but there is now, for some reasons, a different principle when it comes to Ivanka and her position. Even though she’s the daughter of the president, she is a grown woman who has been successful in business.
Why aren’t we glad that our president values his daughter’s opinion so much?
Since Trump’s inauguration in January, Ivanka hasn’t just been reaping the benefits of having a father in the White House. Immediately, she began pushing for a child-care plan to pass through Congress. She is advocating for women pursuing careers in STEM since President Trump signed two bills encouraging women to enter tech and entrepreneurial fields. Additionally, she has become passionate about the End It Movement, which is a movement aimed at ending modern-day slavery.
It’s acceptable to disagree with Ivanka and her father on the issues, but it’s unacceptable to claim to be a feminist and tear her down as someone who just does what her father tells her to do. Ivanka is a perfect example of a practical feminist, and frankly, no one gets to decide what a “perfect feminist” looks like.