Election 2016

Free Ivanka! We're Here to Help If Trump's Daughter Really Wants to Empower Women

To really empower women, Ivanka has to pry herself from the grip of her misogynist father.

Photo Credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Looking at the crowd of cretins encircling the Donald Trump campaign, the bigoted Republican presidential candidate, it’s hard to spot one who seems redeemable. But just outside the ring of riffraff, gleaming in a pinky-white haze like Glinda the Good Witch, is his daughter Ivanka, the lovely, polite, family-friendly, successful purveyor of tastefully designed, affordable attire for hard-working women.

It was Ivanka, by all accounts, who pushed her father to include a proposal for paid maternity leave and a tax deduction for child-care expenses in his campaign promises. Never mind that the plan is kind of crappy; Ivanka really seems to mean well. If only she weren’t supporting the presidential candidacy of a demonstrable misogynist and bigot, she’d be more believable.

Given the abusive nature of her father, you’d think Ivanka would have rebelled by now. Surely, it can’t be pleasant to be around the Donald as he hurls sexist invective at other successful women, such as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and celebrity Rosie O'Donnell. Ivanka surely has the wherewithal to succeed without Daddy; he doesn’t own her brain, right?

Or does he?

Because when you get right down to it, the only plausible explanation for Ivanka standing by her dad as she does is some kind of Stockholm Syndrome—you know, the phenomenon that sometimes occurs among the abducted, when they come to identify with their captors. What comes to mind are those images of Ivanka as a little girl with her father; he always seems to have his hands on her, as if to control her every move.

“My father is a feminist,” Ivanka told the Sunday Times of London in July. And she really seems to believe it, despite the fact that he would only pay Ivanka’s mother $1 a year (“plus all the dresses she can buy”) to run the Plaza Hotel in New York, or that time he tried to shame Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, for not being as hot as Trump’s (now-invisble) third wife, Melania. Or his welcoming into his inner circle the despicable Roger Ailes, the ousted Fox News director who reportedly harassed and threatened dozens of women at the news channel.

The thing is, Ivanka sees her dad as a great champion of women’s rights. In her speech at the Republican National Convention in July, that was her overarching message. When earlier this week, Cosmopolitan reporter Prachi Gupta challenged Ivanka to explain her father’s 2004 comment that a pregnant worker was an inconvenience to a business, Ivanka clenched, accusing the reporter of being “negative,” and refusing to accept the veracity of the quote.

Yes, Ivanka, you are in the grip of something evil. So if you truly want to perform acts of greatness on behalf of womankind, you must free yourself. We’ll send in the feminist intervention squad to help you get there, but first, you must really want to get well. If you haven’t yet hit bottom, what with the Pepe memes and the David Duke endorsement and the Steve Bannon hire, you will soon. And we’ll be there to pick you up.

Come on in, Ivanka. We’ll love you unconditionally. We’ll help you shred all those photos of you sitting on Daddy’s lap. We’ll all sit in a circle and tell you our stories of how we broke the bonds of oppressive fathers, bosses or spouses. We’ll help you find a job in an organization not named “Trump.” Don’t worry, we’ll have your back. Because we know how much you really want to help. We can tell you feel a little bit guilty about your privilege; you indicated that in your convention speech when you talked about knowing how hard it is to be a working mom. “I also know that I’m far more fortunate than most,” you said, so perfectly appointed in your affordably priced pink sheath from your clothing line, a photo of which was tweeted from your Twitter account during your speech with information on how to purchase it.

See, this wouldn’t be a one-way street. The feminist movement could surely use that kind of marketing prowess. Let us help you, Ivanka, and you can help us. Help us close that pesky 20 percent pay gap. Help us push Congress to enact the gun control we need to stem the tide of murders of women by their intimate partners. (More than three women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends each day in the United States, half of them by guns.) Help us keep the ever-decreasing numbers of women’s health clinics open, and help us open new ones to make up for the ones we’ve lost during the right wing’s war on women. Forget a tax deduction for childcare expenses; that adds up to bupkis for the people who need it most. With your talent, you could help design a system of government-subsidized and regulated daycare centers supported by a fairer tax burden on those who are “far more fortunate than most.”

There’s so much more you could help us with, yielding the kind of outstanding results we know you really, really want for women, if you’d only let us help you.

The bottom line—and we know you love the bottom-line analysis—is that you can’t really be a feminist, Ivanka, while advancing the candidacy of a racist, xenophobic misogynist. That stuff is really bad for women!

Make a break for it, woman! Give the hotline a call. Your credibility is shot, your father’s campaign is taking a toll on your brand, and you’re living in the war-on-women zone. What the hell do you have to lose?

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Adele M. Stan is a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.