Underneath my yellow skin

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An Open Letter to Ivanka, Woman to Woman

Ed. Note: I know I said I was done with politics, but, apparently, politics aren’t done with me. I still keep abreast of current events, and I can’t help but react when shitty things happen, such as the president pulling out of the Paris Accord. One thing that has been poking in my craw for some time is how Ivanka is treated with such kid gloves. Leave Ivanka alooooooone, cry many of the (mostly male) journalists. One in particular, Chris Cillizza, seems to have appointed himself as her white knight, pun intended, excusing her for not speaking up against her father in public. It’s been both baffling and fascinating to me how differently Ivanka has been treated by the press as opposed to, say, Chelsea Clinton. In fact, the aforementioned Chris Cillizza neatly displayed this hypocrisy with these two tweets: 

It’s OK to pile on Chelsea who isn’t a politician and hasn’t evinced any interest in being a politician, but LAY OFF IVANKA (who, need I remind you, is actually a part of her father’s administration). There are many theories why this is the case, and I think it’s because Ivanka is pretty in a conventional way and has carefully cultivated herself to be nonthreatening. When she speaks, she smiles softly and speaks in this breathy voice, which the psychologist in me says is how she’s learned to deal with her father.

At any rate, this note is threatening to become a post in and of itself, so let’s move on. 

Dear Ivanka:

Hey, girl. Can we talk? Is it OK if I call you Ivanka? I feel as if I know you, and it’s because you’re in my goddamn news feeds almost every day. I know you’re a busy woman, what with doing your business deals while simultaneously…what exactly is your job in the administration? I’ve never been sure, and you’re pretty coy about it–as is everyone else around you. Anyway! You have been called your father’s whisperer, which is the defense given to why you don’t stand up to him in public. Cillizza, who I mentioned in my note, was eager to defend your honor, saying what daughter would be expected to stand up to her father in public*?

It’s not that I don’t sympathize–I do. We Americans only have to deal with this president as our president; you’ve been his daughter all your life. You probably learned early on that you had to play along to get along, and you’ve learned that lesson well. You either intuited or learned the hard way that if you contradicted your father, there would be hell to pay. So, instead, you molded yourself after him, but in a softer, more traditionally feminine version that you knew would appeal to him. You made yourself the ideal woman to gain his approval, and as I said, I am not without sympathy. It’s not easy growing up under the tyrannical thumb of a narcissistic, arrogant, explosive tyrant, and you’ve done the best you can to adapt to the circumstance. If you were just a private citizen, I would completely sympathize, but because you are part of American politics, for worse or for worst, I have to observe how your dysfunctions are affecting the country.

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