This weekend, as thousands took to the streets for the Women’s March across America and the globe, it came to Twitter’s attention that Ivanka Trump had made an … interesting change to her Twitter bio.
The First Daughter removed the phrase ‘passionate advocate for the education and empowerment of women and girls’. Her new bio focuses on her position in the White House as ‘Advisor to POTUS on job creation + economic empowerment, workforce development & entrepreneurship.’
The change first appeared on New Year’s Day but did not get much of a reaction until the weekend of the Women’s march when MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle and Vogue’s Michelle Ruiz pointed out the difference on Twitter.
Many took to social media to call out the move as the abandonment of any feminist principles Ivanka Trump supposedly held. (She had in fact in the past referred to herself as a feminist.) Speculation about the actual reason behind the change ensued both on social media platforms and online publications. Ruiz suggested the White House were involved (or behind) the decision – perhaps in anticipation of the Women’s March – ‘lest she be conflated with those pussy hat-wearing marchers.’
Others claimed Ivanka was finally just being honest with herself and us. Ivanka’s brand of feminism has not exactly been inspiring. She is also mired in controversy surrounding the manufacture of her products abroad and criticism of her complicity in the Trump administration’s more dubious agendas. When she first took up a position as an assistant to her father-boss, Ivanka implied she would use her proximity to power to advocate for equal pay and paid family leave. But the desire to stay within the inner circle and gain favour (and therefore power) with other legislators saw her back down, supporting the President’s rollback of an Obama-era initiative to end pay discrimination. It may be honesty but it’s a cynical honesty.
Ivanka comes from a family obsessed with winning. Why would she be any different? Changing her bio to emphasise her role and her relationship to POTUS obscures the failures of that supposed advocacy. After all there was nothing to stop her having both in her bio. By aligning herself with big and shiny achievements like job creation, while putting aside the more nuanced agendas like paid leave and equal pay, she looks like a winner. Is it worth it, Ivanka?