Opinion

Ivanka Embraced an Important Moment in History and the Washington Post Is Worried About Her Handbag

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Posted: Jun 03, 2020 4:30 PM
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Ivanka Embraced an Important Moment in History and the Washington Post Is Worried About Her Handbag

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On Monday evening after a violent night of riots in Lafayette Park, President Trump walked from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church after it had been burned the night before. In a show of strength and resolve, he held up a bible and declared, “We have a great country, the greatest country in the world.”

“For this President, it was powerful and important to send a message that rioters, the looters, the anarchists, they will not prevail. That burning churches are not what America is about. In that moment, holding the Bible up, something that has widely hailed by Franklin Graham and others and it was a very important symbol for the American people to see that we will get through this with through unity and through faith,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany explained about the move. 

After days of advocating for justice in the killing of George Floyd, Senior White House Advisor Ivanka Trump joined the president for the historic moment. Also making the walk, she embraced the president’s resolve and courage against lawlessness, looting and violence. 

“People in Minneapolis are hurting for a reason. Justice is how we heal. My heart goes out to George Floyd‘s family and all Americans who are hurting,” she tweeted on May 29. 

But the Washington Post’s “fashion critic,” Robin Givhan, isn’t focused on those actions. Instead, she’s focused on Ivanka’s handbag, shoes, hair and other physical attributes. 

“Trump’s photo with his loyalists was a vulgar mess. And Ivanka brought a handbag,” Givhan wrote. “The president was accompanied by a throng of staff, but the person who stood out in the blur of dark suits crossing the square was his daughter and adviser Ivanka. Always Ivanka. She stood tall on her stilettos. She rose, golden-haired, above the group. She was dressed in black cropped pants and blazer. She was toting a very large white handbag and later was wearing a matching face mask with tiny metallic stars.”

Worse and going outside the bounds of "fashion," Givhan claimed Ivanka was simply “playing a part,” discounting her individual success as a woman inside and outside of the White House. 

"Ivanka long ago perfected the art of playing the part, of moving through life like an Instagram feed made real,” she wrote. 

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A petty, political screed. The headline should have been about Ivanka’s position as a professional woman in a male dominated environment — one that Givhan herself described as “the blur of dark suits.”

For decades feminists have been screaming, rightfully, that women shouldn’t be superficially judged by their appearance or clothing, but instead on their work. They’ve fought tirelessly for decades to be taken seriously in the workplace as professional equals. As women, we’ve been told to build each other up, not tear each other down, especially in moments of crisis.

But because her last name is Trump, so-called champions of women like Givhan are happy to tear Ivanka down while ironically calling for calm and unity. What a missed opportunity to engage in female empowerment, at this historic time, regardless of political party.