Writing for Huffington Post, Emily Peck reviews Ivanka Trump's new book 'Women Who Work', written before her father became president of America. On a first read, Peck's biggest takeaway is that Ivanka is clueless about her upbringing giving her any unusual momentum towards her success. There's no actual formula, but one get's the feeling she sees her position as 30% her family background and 70% Ivanka. Most social scientists would invert the equation.
Ivanka Says Like Daddy, I Did It My Way
“My father’s advice to my younger self has proven true: When you’re passionate and you work hard you can achieve great things,” she writes.
In Ivanka's mind, It could just as easily been any determined and dedicated young American woman, who -- weeks before graduation -- received a personal phone call from Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour offering her a job at 'Vogue'.
Trump's book, writes Peck, "lacks the self-awareness we’ve seen from other elite feminists ― particularly Sheryl Sandberg, whom Trump quotes liberally." To be accurate, Ivanka does write: “Undeniably one factor in my success has been the doors that my family’s name and my privileged upbringing have opened . . . I’m deeply grateful for all the opportunities afforded to me, but they alone didn’t guarantee my success.”
Ivanka's words are falling on female ears unwilling to join her in her elite, white woman's concept of feminism. In fact, parts of her book are disturbing and frankly disgusting. They portray a self-absorbed, pampered woman obsessed with being Ivanka. Even if you have multiple nannys and fly on private jets -- before Air Force One entered your elite life -- you don't write books marketed for mass consumption that flaunt your everyday lifestyle as giving you the credentials to offer advice that is only relevant to the lives of your peers. In my experience, those women have far greater depth and focus on important issues than our First Daughter.
Jackie Kennedy comes to mind. An equally devoted mother with a patrician background, even if she were 35 today, she would not be writing the vulgar, insensitive co-opting of other people's earnest work that constitutes Ivanka Trump's book. The Kennedys sought to highlight the plight of suffering Americans in a recognition of just how lucky they were. Their duty was not to reduce the agony of slavery to a co-opted hashtag to sell dresses and shoes to upscale women. They embraced the duty of righting the injustices that are fundamental to America's identity and success.
One gets the feeling that Ivanka Trump has a heart as hard as her father's, except for family and friends. Rest assured that Saturday Night Live will give Ivanka the poetic justice she deserves after writing this superficial piece of trivia. I am already so aggravated with this imposter of a woman devoted to advancing other women, that I thought nothing more could impact negatively my impression of her.
Slavery Is Not Ivanka's Thing
In an astounding revelation about the book -- one that sums up Ivanka Trump's total lack of self-awareness about her world and the thoughts going through our minds watching her, Megan Garber writes for The Atlantic about Ivanka's use of Toni Morrison's 1987 novel 'Beloved' as a source for one of her many "inspirational quotes' that dot her book -- all of them used without permission.
Does she actually believe that with First Daughter status, Trump can co-opt people so easily? Many are dead, of course, and can't speak for themselves. But the majority voted for Hillary and probably aren't too keen on Ivanka weaving them into her commercial persona.
I simply cannot imagine what Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor Emeritus at Princeton University thinks of Ivanka Trump's use of her painful, heart-wrenching story turned into an Ivanka Trump hashtag to advance her brand. Morrison's representative offered a 'no comment'.
Garber explains: 'Beloved', Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel, tells the story of Sethe, a woman who was born into slavery and who escaped her plantation—only to be, a mere month after she found freedom, re-captured. Before she was returned, Sethe, rather than subject her 2-year-old daughter to the horrors that awaited them, paid the girl the only mercy she could: She killed her. Years later and, now, “free” once again, Sethe is haunted—by her daughter, by her history, by the history that is all of America’s to bear—and by the general fact that freedom is, in this country, a deeply relative proposition.
Ivanka zeroed in on Morrison's words as a preface to 'Women Who Work's' chapter on Working Smarter, Not Harder. "Bit by bit . . . she had claimed herself," writes one author Ms. Trump quoting the other, the esteemed Ms. Morrison. "Freeing youself was one thing: claiming ownership of that freed self was another."
Ivanka Trump has the audacity to take Morrison's words and add her hashtag #ITWISEWORDS. One insult is not enough, and it gets worse. Ivanka Trump destroys the entire context of Morrison's quote and devastating story -- to rebrand them in her own, rich white woman's definition of 'freedom'.
“Are you a slave to your time or the master of it?” Trump asks, not imagining that many readers with a progressive mind -- women like Sheryl Sandberg -- are stunned over Ivanka's callous, self-absorbed lack of human insights. Oblivious to what her peers are really thinking, Trump anticipates the answer. “Despite your best intentions, it’s easy to be reactive and get caught up in returning calls, attending meetings, answering e-mails, and managing your team, only to realize that it’s 6:30 p.m.—and you haven’t done a single thing that’s of high value … .” Note that the vast majority of women have no teams at work to manage or teams at home to run our households.
And, with that, Ivanka Trump compares being “a slave to your time” to being an actual slave, writes Garber . "With one quote—a line chosen, according to the accompanying hashtag, for its disembodied wisdom—the scion turned businesswoman turned presidential advisor cheerfully ignores history, or, more specifically, she reclaims it for the purpose of selling sheath dresses, work-appropriate stilettos, and herself."
Morrison based her novel on the true story of Margaret Garner, a Kentucky slave woman who fled to Ohio. Ivanka destroys that entire narrative, reweaving the tragedy into a story of blond ambition.
The reactions to Trump's appropriation of her story are not kind. Fusion writes: Ivanka Trump Used A Toni Morrison Quote To Compare Rich Working Women's Schedules To Actual Slavery. Hello Beautiful responds: Oh Hell No! Ivanka Trump Quotes Toni Morrison To Compare Rich Working Women's Schedules To Actual Slavery. The New Yorker weighs in: Ivanka Trump Wrote A Painfully Oblivious Book For Basically No One.
Like Her Father, Clueless About American History
Hello Beautiful quotes another doozy, asking 'Isn't this colonialism?" in response to Ivanka's musings on the glory days of settling America. "Early in our country’s history, as new territories were acquired or opened — particularly during the gold rush — a citizen could literally put a stake in the ground and call the land theirs. The land itself, and everything on it, legally became that person’s property.” True, but does Ivanka Trump have any idea how many American Indians died or were marched across America in resettlement efforts, as the settlers she admires moved them off their land?
I agree that America is too politically correct these days, but Ivanka Trump is clueless about America's complex history then and now. I think of Jackie Kennedy, Rosalynn Carter, both Bushes -- Barbara and Laura, Hillary Clinton and most recently Michelle Obama as women who would NEVER express such airhead observations about American history and call it a book to inspire female excellence. Nancy Reagan could be outspoken but never an airhead. And Betty Ford -- who was a great role model as a real woman with challenges -- was a true feminist, a Republican who fought for the Equal Rights Amendment, defended Roe v. Wade and worked with NOW.
And then there is Ivanka. Who the hell was her editor on this book!!!!
Reviews of 'Women Who Work,' have generally dismissed the book as being by turns “painfully oblivious” and “vapid” and “like eating scented cotton balls,”, writes Garber, saying that Ivanka relies on chirpy platitudes to send its message of feminine empowerment. Trump's vision of feminism is not very feminist at all, but a book that, serves up "a strawberry milkshake of inspirational quotes", 'The New York Times' put it.
Ivanka Trump can quote Sheryl Sandberg until she can't find any more words to steal. They are not cut from the same cloth. Unlike Ivanka Trump, Sheryl Sandberg is increasingly honest that she is aware of her elite perch and doesn't define life for most women from this rareified perch. And Sandberg has confronted realities around actions the Trump administration is taking against poor and middle-class women, writing a check for $1 million to Planned Parenthood, accompanied by a Facebook condemnation of the aggressive actions President Trump -- and his daughter whose portfolio contains women's issues??? -- are taking against women globally and in America.
Unlike Ivanka, Sheryl Sandberg knows that her brand is worth far more based on integrity. On that topic, Ivanka Trump truly needs to take a reality check. ~ Anne