The liberal thought police are turning on Ivanka Trump—and her appearances in fashion magazines.
The first daughter, known for her business acumen and a markedly inoffensive Instagram presence, is not about to get treated like a family member of a liberal president, at least by the likes of magazines like Teen Vogue or Cosmopolitan.
“The Trumps should not appear on any magazine covers in a fawning, look-at-how-beautiful-they-are kind of way—editors should avoid these editorials or images where we’re just talking about their fashion,” lectured Prachi Gupta, a Jezebel writer who interviewed Ivanka during the campaign for Cosmopolitan, in a recent Politico article.
Teen Vogue’s Lauren Duca was similarly adamant to Politico, saying:
“All women’s media should be inherently political. Of course you can hold serious and non-serious interests, and sometimes posts are allowed to just be about what’s cute—that’s OK. But overall, the holistic goal of any publication geared towards women should be concerned with the political, and that goes beyond who’s running for office.”
Why exactly must any magazine “geared towards women” care about the political?
I’m hardly apolitical—my entire post-college career has been in political journalism—but when I open up In Style or Vogue or Real Simple or any other women’s magazine, I’m not looking for politics. Instead, I’m anticipating a few moments in a different world, one where I can focus on fashion, relationships, and hostess tips instead of taxes, immigration, and education.
Yet, once again, the Left seems determined to wage an aggressive culture war. Instead of recognizing that the diversity of thought among women— exit polls showed that four out of ten female voters supported Donald Trump, by the way, suggesting women are hardly in lock step on politics—women’s magazines seem to be further trending in a direction where they emphasize liberal politics, focusing on issues like abortion and equal pay, without giving much space to pro-life women and women who disagree with the government getting further involved in their lives.
And why? Why must everything be political? What’s wrong with living and let live—and sharing some thoughts from figures ranging from Ivanka Trump to Chelsea Clinton about whether peplums are a good idea or not?
Now, not all women’s magazines are planning the same approach to the Trumps: “We have a tradition of always covering whoever is the first lady at Vogue,” Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief, told The Wall Street Journal in February, “and I can’t imagine that this time would be any different.” Of course, Vogue hasn’t always been the choosiest about whom they cover: in its March 2011 issue, the magazine notoriously published a profile of Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, titled “A Rose in the Desert.” By May of 2011, President Barack Obama was denouncing al-Assad (Vogue eventually deleted the article from its site).
Of course, it’s easy enough to unsubscribe from or ignore women’s magazines that choose to get political. But it’s unfortunate that yet another non-political space in our culture is being eradicated. Politics should be a small part of life, not its entirety.
And for the overall health of our country, it’s good to have people who vehemently disagree about certain policies be able to have a civil conversation about recipes or home decoration or even the best way to wear a scarf. Such conversations do not trivialize political differences; they are a reminder that people are multi-faceted, that we are more than our political beliefs. Such reminders might even offer openings for more fruitful political dialogue: it is easier to have a genuine conversation and discussion when you have been able to identify common ground and interests.
The Left has adopted a cut-throat approach to the pursuit of cultural power in recent years—from wanting to banish small business owners who don’t want to serve gay weddings to privileging feelings over free speech at college campuses. Now, women’s magazines are up for a scrubbing: serve the party line entirely or else. The message is clear: everyone must be made to think the same or face being ostracized.
That should trouble not only the Trumps and their supporters but also anyone who values independence of thought and the free expression of competing ideas. If a photo of a smiling Ivanka Trump discussing her favorite workouts is a threat to the Left’s values, it’s not Ivanka that’s the problem—it’s the weakness of those values.
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