According to Ivanka Trump’s website, her brand is Strong, Smart Working Woman. Her mission? “Inspiring and empowering women to create the lives they want to lead.”
On that thesis alone, chef Angela Dimayuga fits the bill as an Ivanka Girl perfectly: the Brooklyn-based chef rose through the ranks of NYC kitchens to become the executive chef at the downtown Manhattan Mission Chinese. She’s an empowered, motivated, driven woman forging her own path.
However, Dimayuga is also a queer person of color and the daughter of immigrants, and that no longer fits the Ivanka Girl brand so neatly. Ivanka’s new position in an Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LBGTQ, generally Anti-Women White House is fundamentally Anti-Dimayuga and her very identity.
So when a freelancer reached out to Dimayuga, highlighting her as a “strong female entrepreneur” and hoping to interview her for Ivanka Trump’s website, the chef let them know just that.
Dimayuga posted the DM the freelancer sent, as well as her own response detailing why she would beto put it lightlydeclining the offer to her Instagram. She consulted her friend, activist Shakirah Simley, to help her compose the message, copied here in its entirety courtesy of the Huffington Post:
“Hi Adi,Thank you for thinking of me. Im glad you are a fan of my work so much that you want to provide more visibility for my career to inspire other working women. However, Im for women who actually empower other women.
I dont believe that IvankaTrump.com is truly a non-political platform of empowerment for [women].” So long as the name Trump is involved, it is political and frankly, an option for the IvankaTrump.com business to make a profit.
I dont see anything empowering about defunding Planned Parenthood, barring asylum from women refugees, rolling back safeguards for equal pay, and treating POC/LGBT and the communities that support these groups like second class citizens.
As a queer person of color and daughter of immigrant parents I am not interested in being profiled as an aspirational figure for those that support a brand and a President that slyly disparages female empowerment. Sharing my story with a brand and family that silences our same voices is futile.
Thank you for the consideration.”
It’s perfectly put, eloquent, and honestly generous, all things considered.
Ivanka’s website is laced with floral accents and watercolor illustrations, the foundation being a solid dusty rose background. It’s all lovely. And it was all perfectly acceptable when she was merely the daughter of a real estate mogul and reality TV host.
Now, though, she’s an adviser to the President of the United States of America. In a White House that has, in less than 100 days, cut back funding to Planned Parenthood, reinstated and expanded the anti-women global gag rule, and generally proven itself disrespectful to women at large (truly too many examples to source just one, but we’ll toss in a quick #tbt to this Angela Merkel gaffe).
Ivanka’s doing her best to maintain a brand of “gentle but strong womanhood,” but the people her employer/father are targeting know that even the softest of floral patterns can’t mask the smell of Complicit.
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