By: J.T. Johnson
Here’s the thing.
I know just about everyone else has already explained why they “just can’t” with Ivanka Trump’s alt-self help, pull-your-happiness-up-by-the-bootstraps book, Women Who Work, but I can’t, not can’t with them. Maybe it’s because I’ve had seasonal allergies for most of my life. And just the threat of running into one of those 2-D flowery, syrup-y sweet quote fonts is triggering for me.
If you’re familiar with Ivanka Trump, the recently appointed Special Assistant to the President, or you follow along on Instagram, maybe you too, have experienced the one-off wisdom of “IT’s Wise Words.” If so, nothing will surprise you about this book. The brand uses soft touches of pastel and feel-good quotes to help, you the viewer, “architect” and “passion” your way to a life where you are truly alive, but also barely.
Because rent. Because child care. Because subpar wages. Because racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia…and because the Earth actually isn’t flat — and people’s lived experiences can’t be steamrolled into a pretty, polka-dotted Instagram meme.
Allow me to explain.
(1) I can’t take Ivanka’s book seriously because the things Ivanka’s boss/dad has actually said in real life (in this time continuum) keep bleeding all over the things her book says about her boss/dad.
(2) I can’t quite hear Ivanka’s book over the blaring sound of the sad, tiny violin in my head.
So maybe a pretty graphic — and a masseuse! — will help!
(Believe it or not, these details are based on real people’s stories. Check them out on our publication, Real People of America.)
(3) I can’t with Ivanka’s book right now, because the parents I know can’t either.
There isn’t enough blush pink in the world that can make affordable, quality child care, paid leave, or wages families can thrive on a reality for people in America. In fact, the parents I know could offer their own advice on the actual laws, policies, and cultural revolution we need to make it work.
Here’s to building economic policy that all women who work—and their families—can sink their teeth into. 🍹