Ivanka Trump is out with a new book today, and the initial feedback has not been good. Already, some women referenced in Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success are demanding retractions, and now the New York Times is out with its review.
“[T]he book is not really offensive so much as witlessly derivative, endlessly recapitulating the wisdom of other, canonical self-help and business books,” wrote renowned book critic, Jennifer Senior.
“This is the sort of feminism that drives some women bananas, having less to do with structural change than individual fulfillment and accessorizing properly; perhaps it can even be achieved by wearing her fine jewelry or apparel, which she repeatedly mentions throughout the book (as well as her family’s tremendous hotels).”
Senior has plenty of pithy things to say about the faux profundities in Ivanka’s “strawberry milkshake of inspirational quotes,” but she also knows that hackneyed self-help books by B-list celebrities are a dime a dozen. Like with those other self-serving knock-offs, it is clear to Senior that the goal of the book is “extending the Trump brand.”
Ivanka Trump, however, is no B-lister. She is a billionaire heiress and special assistant to the President of the United States, and her lack of perspective is what most troubles Senior. She writes:
“But a class bias at some point begins to reveal itself… when she identifies grocery shopping as neither urgent nor important. (Do the groceries just magically appear in her fridge? Oh, wait. They probably do.) It’s in her confession that ‘honestly, I wasn’t treating myself to a massage or making much time for self-care’ during the 2016 campaign. (Too busy.)”
Even in her support for paid parental leave (support which has yet to transition from talk to action in her White House role), Ivanka seems almost defiantly detached from the realities of working women:
“By the time Trump gets to her primer on maternity leave, she is, consciously or not, addressing an imaginary cohort of upper management and C.E.O.s. Back at work, she expects you to have a team. It is amazing how many times “Women Who Work” talks about the importance of Your Team. There are more teams in this book than there are in the N.F.L… She adds that you should ‘Find someone trustworthy and capable on your team to act as a gatekeeper once you go on leave.’”
Women Who Work seems to perfectly encapsulate a privileged daughter who tries to appeal to an electorate and consumer base by making hollow, palatable statements to soften her father’s destructive acts. Ivanka is obviously no innocent bystander. She is not only profiting off the recklessness of the Trump regime, she is helping to enable it.
It will take more than this book to disguise those facts. Senior’s review makes that clear, and is worth reading in its entirety.
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