It was the National Women’s History Project that first noticed women and female accomplishments only encompassed about 3 percent of the texts of historical documents and teachings. As such, the grassroots organization lobbied Congress for a Women’s History Month. With Public Law 100-9 in 1987, Congress granted their wishes, designating March as Women’s History Month.
Today, the National Women’s History Project is an extension of the Library of Congress. And because of those female accomplishments, Women’s History Month is celebrated in March every year, with thousands of women, children, and institutions all across the land celebrating women in thousands of ways, every day during Women’s History Month.
But there is one woman making the American history books today who desperately wants to be known as one of these great women. She is the daughter of the president of the United States, Ivanka Trump.
She will most certainly make the history books. But in the chapters on women’s accomplishments and feminism, she will be judged as the woman who had a chance to get it all right but got it all wrong. For millions of women, Ivanka Trump is desperately failing in her efforts to be known as a woman to be celebrated during Women’s History Month.
Ivanka Trump’s Twitter bio reads, “Entrepreneur + passionate advocate for the education and empowerment of women and girls.”
But to be an advocate for women, one must actually support the things that are important to women. Just saying you are an advocate for women is not enough. Just being a woman is not enough. One must actually advocate for women.
This is where Ivanka Trump fails, repeatedly. Her attempts to look like a feminist and advocate for women are just that — attempts. Like many of her father’s grandiose visions, they stop at the statements and have no follow-through plan or actionable results.
When it comes to feminism, women’s accomplishments, and advocating for women, talk is cheap. Ivanka Trump is a performative feminist in this right. But when you are talking about health care, child care, equal pay, and putting food on the table, saying you want to help just isn’t enough. Performative feminism is a mockery of all things feminists actually stand for.
As the Inquisitr reported, Scarlett Johansson on “Saturday Night Live” recently highlighted this, poking fun at Ivanka Trump’s performative feminism in a perfume ad satire. Scarlett Johansson played Ivanka Trump modeling a perfume called “Complicit.” The narrator of the satirical ad pointed out Ivanka Trump’s performative feminism bluntly.
“A feminist, an advocate, a champion for women. But like, how?”
It’s a good question, made better when it falls on the backdrop of Women’s History Month. Champions for women like to see equality in the work place. Champions for women are marching for Planned Parenthood. Champions for women have a very big problem when there are more men in the work place and history books than women.
That’s why the National Women’s Project went to Congress in the first place. Women weren’t in the history books. Ivanka Trump will be in the history books to be sure, but history will not be kind in their judgment of her if she continues on performative value only.
Ivanka Trump is said to be the loudest voice in her father’s ear in the Trump White House. If that is the case, that gives her the biggest platform in the country to be an actual champion for women. What is she doing with it?
Vox News reports that the Trump White House has three times more men than women in his administration. A Bloomberg analysis on a Pro Publica report showed that 73 percent of the workers in the White House are men. That is a three-to-one ratio of men to women.
If Ivanka Trump was an actual champion for women, as an alleged voice and influencer in her father’s ear, she might say something about that.
She has never publicly stated, “I think the White House needs more women.”
Health care is a big concern to the women of America, who are the majority of the decision makers when it comes to issues like health insurance, abortions, and women’s health matters. But you can’t ask Ivanka Trump about that.
When she was asked about abortion on the campaign trail last year, Newsweek reports that Ivanka said, “I don’t talk about my politics.”
She might be the first human ever to not want to talk politics on the campaign trail. Also, this is the exact opposite of being a champion for women. Champions talk, then champions do — they do not pivot to talking points that make them look good.
When asked about women’s health care, Ivanka Trump does not want to champion for women. She doesn’t think it’s right to talk about politics. She does not seem to know that talking about politics is what championing for women is. She is a performative feminist, meaning that she gets it all wrong.
Newsweek reports that during the march for women last week on International Women’s Day, a group outside of Trump International Hotel spoke to reporters. Two of them were impressionable high school juniors, both wearing red hijabs, and they were holding up signs that read “My Body My Choice My Country My Voice.” It was an echo from the women’s march on Washington on Inauguration Day.
My body my choice. My country my voice pic.twitter.com/gwYssznH1g— kay (@kayleechrissy) January 22, 2017
When asked how they felt about Ivanka’s feminism and champion work for women, 17-year-old Lelya Ulusoy said, “I feel like she lives such a luxurious, rich life that she doesn’t know what other women are going through. She can decide to give birth but it should be a choice for women who have been raped, or incest victims, or who have no money, or whose husbands or boyfriends don’t want children.”
When asked about health care, Ivanka Trump will pivot to gender equality in Trump’s businesses, thinking that’s her strongest “feminist” talking point. But that is a pivot today that the Trump Administration gets an F on, with 73 percent of his staff being men. Talk is cheap.
The economy is important to women as well, who are, again, the decision makers on most purchases in the household. And when women are the recipients of equal pay statutes, the economy thrives. Who does the most shopping in America? Women.
Ivanka Trump tweeted about women and the economy this week, saying “we” celebrate women and their impact on society and the economies. But her own father and the White House Ivanka works in doesn’t hire them, seemingly on principle.
Today, we celebrate women and are reminded of our collective voice and the powerful impact we have on our societies and economies. #IWD2017— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) March 8, 2017
The Guardian reports that Ivanka Trump’s performative feminism is dangerous. Because it is. Anyone with a daughter does not want their little girl to be influenced by a man who brags about grabbing women by their sexual organs. Anyone with a son who wants him to grow up respecting women does not want their little boy influenced by Trump or his surrogates, either.
It creates a lot of “unteaching” of these teachable moments for American families. And it seems Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump give American families a lot of moments every day to “unteach” their children.
One upside to this performative feminism is that it is strengthening the women’s movement. When women have real-life examples every day of what not to do, their voices get stronger. Indeed, since Trump and his daughter arrived at the White House, women’s voices have been strong and not in favor of this administration.
The Guardian says this performative feminism is dangerous. As the real feminist movement picks up steam, “conservative women will try to use the rhetoric of the movement to mask Republican misogyny.”
As the Guardian notes, feminism is not, “doing something just because you are a woman.” It is promoting equality among the genders and doing work that actually closes the gender gap.
Tweeting about closing the gender gap just isn’t enough. In fact, to women who are actually working their tails off for women, tweeting about closing the gender gap while working in a building that is 73 percent men is downright offensive.
The Guardian writes that it is not just offensive, but also dangerous.
“The most dangerous player in all of this is Ivanka herself – poised, polished, telegenic, and continually trotted out as a salve for her father’s explicit sexism.”
Ivanka Trump calls herself a feminist. She even called her father that at Republican National Convention. There is no bigger insult to feminists everywhere than to be told you are just like a man that brags about “grabbing women by the p***y.”
But feminists don’t take it personally because they know the truth. As the Guardian notes, women are not fooled by hashtags and quippy speeches.
Ivanka Trump it seems, does not know this.
The Daily Beast takes a harsher stance against Ivanka’s performative feminism, saying, “Ivanka Trump is where feminism goes to die.”
They also write, “Ivanka is the sound of one hand clapping.”
The many ways in which Ivanka implicates herself as a hypocrite in the women’s movement are highlighted by the Daily Beast. They describe her as a “Schrodinger’s feminist,” which is essentially the same thing as a performative feminist.
She’s there for the photo-ops and cute feminist hashtags on Twitter, but she doesn’t do anything for women at all. As the Inquisitr wrote during the campaign, her ad titled “Motherhood” was a feminism flop and projection of the non-feminism actions by Ivanka to come. She opened it saying motherhood was the most important job of all.
Really? Try telling that to a feminist that has chosen not to have children or can’t.
As also noted, Ivanka’s business tagline is “Women Who Work.” But it should read “International Women Who Work” because Ivanka’s massive empire is staffed by less than 20 women in the United States. China and other countries get the bulk of her labor divisions.
She will be the first to tweet about how good women are for the American economy, though. She has also never once actively fought for a living wage for women, and her labor divisions are sent to countries that infamously treat women and children poorly in sweat shops.
She is currently circulating a child leave policy on Capitol Hill. But the only ones who will benefit from this are the businesses that will get a tax break, reports the Daily Beast. That and the women who make six figures.
Is Ivanka Trump helping women to earn six figures? No. She’s fighting to get tax breaks for the ones who already do.
The list for Ivanka Trump’s performative feminism actually could go on and on. The bottom line: She gets feminism all wrong, and that is a true danger to the women of the world. It is also how history will judge her.
During Women’s History Month, it is important to remember the women that get it right. It is equally important to note the women that do not. Ivanka Trump is among those who just don’t get it.
[Feature Image by Media Punch Standard/AP Images]