Ivanka Trump was frequently cast as her father's foil, the Jay Gatsby to Tom Buchanan. When Donald Trump was uncouth and unstable, she served as his eloquent and poised counterpart. Fashion magazines gushed over her. Pundits served her an endless stream of compliments. Sometimes, it's easy to forget that Ms. Trump and her father are on the same team.
Ms. Trump's signature style is embodied in her eponymous lifestyle brand. Visit her website and you're greeted with a dusty mauve color scheme, eerily similar to Lauren Conrad's lifestyle website. Scroll to the bottom of the homepage and browse her latest Instagram posts featuring her children. Click on 'Wise Words' and everything from Albert Einstein quotes to pseudo profound gibberish to vague platitudes pop on the screen offering advice. If somehow any of this compels you give up your money to buy a slice of the beige bourgeoisie-yet-homely lifestyle, navigate to 'Shop' and a selection of goods are linked to retailers such as Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom.
Seems boring, but ultimately benign at first glance. At second glance, maybe you feel happy for her for successfully launching her own company. Maybe you believe that she is a feminist advocating for independent women, even if her website is not so much a rallying cry for feminism as it is an amalgam of tips for women with jobs. But as Ms. Trump becomes increasingly entangled in politics, this carefully-crafted veneer of benevolent, mild feminism is slipping to reveal the ugly truth. Ms. Trump may have built her brand around Women Who Work, but she exploits feminism for profit.
The campaign served as a commerce platform for her brand. Ms. Trump's brand of feminism was at direct odds with the campaign's misogyny, but hypocrisy didn't seem to weigh on her mind. After she spoke at the Republican National Convention, a circus of people who deem women subhumans, she encouraged viewers to shop her look from her brand. Her outfits amounted to campaign swag for sale. While the dresses and jewelry may not have 'Make America Great Again' stamped on them like a bad tattoo, the message is the same. Much like Ms. Trump's feminist veneer that shed to reveal feminist exploitation, her glossy products shed their polished veneer to reveal themselves as garish campaign swag.
As with her father, her actions are increasingly bold. The president-elect was once primarily money-hungry, not necessarily politically power-hungry. Some have even said that his main focus is on business, and if elected, he won't care that much about politics. But that has been proven wrong. Fresh off his success, he has a newfound ambition in politics and has used his power to select the most deranged politicians to his Cabinet.
Ms. Trump's audacity also grows, involving herself in Mr. Trump's transition team, while promoting her brand, of course. In an interview with 60 Minutes, she sported a $10,800 bangle from Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry and notified journalists with an emailed 'Style Alert.'
Maybe you felt bad for Ms. Trump when she took the stage at the RNC, speaking about topics such as equal pay, painting her father as a champion for women. Maybe you felt that she, like her siblings, was forced into the role of diehard campaigning. But as a self-proclaimed independent woman, shouldn't Ms. Trump's decision to involve herself in Mr. Trump's campaign, and later transition team, ultimately be her own volition? Given the profits to be made by using a political platform to advertise, it looks like Ms. Trump chose to be a woman who works without integrity.