Why Ivanka’s behaviour at the G20 is so objectionable - GulfToday

Why Ivanka’s behaviour at the G20 is so objectionable

Holly Baxter


Baxter is co-editor of Independent Voices, columnist and author.

Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump

From AOC to Christine Lagarde, everyone seems to be wondering what exactly Ivanka Trump is doing at the G20 summit. In case you haven’t encountered the video evidence already, the Elysee Palace released a short, painful clip of the First Daughter attempting to make social justice chit-chat with Lagarde, Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau.

Prime Minister May says something about convincing people to support social justice by approaching the issue with economic arguments, at which point Ivanka decides to jump in. “It’s the same with the defence side,” she says. “In terms of the whole ecosystem, it’s very male-dominated.” It doesn’t make a huge amount of sense as a sentence, but why should it? It’s not like that’s a requisite of the Trump school of politics.

Right-wing Trump fans who have never uttered a progressive phrase in their lives get all hot and heavy when you criticise Ivanka’s presence at such events. “But what about FEMINISM?” they cry, wringing the same hands they used to touch their interns on the shoulder just a little bit longer than was appropriate. “Ivanka cares about women’s empowerment and says she supports families! She stood up on the world stage and said the United Nations should do more! She supports initiatives against poverty! What more do you want?”

To which I would say: less nepotism, for one thing. Elected female leaders speaking for the women of the world rather than unelected daughters of presidents, for another. Does feminism look like a woman using her privilege to further the cause of gender equality? Absolutely. But does Ivanka Trump walk the walk after she talks the talk? Does she go home to the US and pressurise her father not to separate children from their mothers at the border; not to defund Planned Parenthood; not to stand and watch as an abortion ban is introduced in the state of Alabama? Absolutely not.

There is a tiny, tiny part of me that feels sorry for multimillionaire, the-G20-is-my-playpen Ivanka Trump. She gets wheeled out whenever her father is having a tough time convincing the world he’s not a raging, misogynist despot and is then told to smile and look pretty for the cameras as sure-fire evidence that he respects women. It must be difficult. It must be tiresome. It must be, sometimes, humiliating.

But then I remember the time she disagreed publicly with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because she didn’t think a minimum wage was “what Americans want”. Of course, Ivanka hasn’t really worked for what she’s got — unless you count the emotional labour of making your father seem slightly more palatable to a world that is worried he might become the next orchestrator of a devastating world war. And I doubt the woman who reportedly was taken to school each day in a white stretch limousine knows that much about making ends meet. But why let inheriting millions of dollars get in the way of depriving working people – half of whom are women – of a minimum wage, right girls?!

Ivanka is merely a symptom of the disease that pervades the White House, but that doesn’t make her blameless. She clearly craves power in the same way that her father does, and believes that she is due it. Someone has to tell Donald Trump he can’t run a country like a business, and it isn’t going to be Ivanka and her husband Jared “full security clearance” Kushner. Well, unless they’re playing an incredibly well-orchestrated long game and actually plan to pull the premiership out from under Donald Trump’s feet one day while he’s sleeping, before instituting a full-scale feminist utopia. If that’s it, then Ivanka: I’m giving you the signal. The time is now.

If that’s not it, then I think it’s time America voted the First Daughter currently representing their interests to the world out of office once and for all. Oh, wait.

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