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Donald Trump’s Subtle Sexism Towards Ivanka Makes Me Nostalgic For Caring About Subtle Bigotry

Fears or hopes or whatever they were of Ivanka Trump serving as a behind-the-scenes first female president can probably be set aside. Donald Trump went to Jared rather than Ivanka for assistance: “‘She is busy buying a house,’ he said [in an interview quoted in the Forward]. ‘She has children so Jared will be engaged as we announced.’”

There’s something appealingly quaint about parsing the subtle sexism in these remarks. Why is Ivanka the one dealing with decor, while Jared gets to bring peace to the Middle East, which he’s totally going to do within five minutes of Trump getting into office, I’m sure? Why is it Ivanka who “has children,” as though the children she has with Jared Kushner are somehow only her responsibility? Isn’t Donald being a teensy bit gender-normative here, hmm?

We can have that conversation, but in the grand scheme of Donald Trump’s personal and political failings, from a feminist perspective, this ranks depressingly low. It shouldn’t! But alas, given all that’s going on, it does. We ought to live in a world where some of us call out subtle sexism while others of us cry overreaction. Maybe we did a few months ago. Now, not so much.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy edits the Sisterhood, and can be reached at bovy@forward.com. Her book, The Perils of “Privilege”, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in March 2017.

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