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Ivanka Trump’s role in politics may affect her life in business

(Michael Vadon/Flickr)

With the country’s political divide between Clinton supporters and proponents of Trump, it comes as no surprise that much of the population has found a new means of protesting the Trump administration. Across the U.S., women are boycotting Ivanka Trump’s clothing line by disposing of any previously owned Trump clothing items in line with Nordstrom’s decision to discontinue the line at their locations.

The national retailer has recently come under fire by President Donald Trump himself, who tweeted,

“My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is such a great person – always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”

In a televised speech addressing this issue, White House press secretary Sean Spicer stated that Trump “has every right to stand up for his family” because Nordstrom’s sanctions were “an attack on his daughter.”

Nordstrom has since declared that it dropped the brand because of dwindling sales, rather than an attempt to make a political statement. However, it also announced support for immigrant employees following Trump’s ban on immigration from Muslim majority countries, stirring further controversy.

Nordstrom isn’t the only retailer that’s taken actions to diminish the prevalence of Ivanka Trump products in their stores. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, both of whom are owned by TJX Companies, received an order from corporate instructing employees to “remove all Ivanka Trump merchandise from features immediately” and instead mix them into the racks with other products. TJX spokeswoman Doreen Thompson maintained that although the company still carries Ivanka Trump’s products in the store, they’ve stopped directly advocating for the brand.

Ivanka Trump’s brand image is designed for young women of the workforce, and as such, pairs a modern, clean-cut design with popular stylistic trends such as cold-shoulder dresses and peplum tops. The brand seems to be marketed toward professional adult women, as its items are on the more expensive side (such as a $198 faux champagne pearl necklace). Her website also boasts a work page, which links to articles such as “How to Start a Business—When You’re Also Starting a Family.”

It’s obvious that one of Ivanka’s platforms is female empowerment in the work force, which includes receiving fair treatment and equal wages, a view that has been discussed unabashedly at odds with statements made by her father during his campaign trail.

Additionally, the Grab Your Wallet movement, which has had a huge impact on the brand’s sales, encourages consumers to boycott any businesses affiliated with the president or his family. The campaign’s name is derived from an infamous leaked recording of an interview with Trump, in which he can be heard talking about grabbing women by their genitalia. The movement’s founder, Shannon Coulter, told Forbes, “We may have lost at the ballot box, but we can vote at the cash register every day.” The corresponding #GrabYourWallet hashtag has amassed over 230,000 tweets and more than six million views.

It remains unclear whether these retailers are making their own political statement by discontinuing Ivanka Trump’s line, or if they are simply catering to their customers’ wishes. Nevertheless, the actions of these corporations are no coincidence and may affect Ivanka’s role in U.S. politics as well as the success of her business.

What Shannon Coulter and others may have forgotten is that Ivanka is not her father. She is a woman who has been drawn into the political sphere by association because of her father’s line of work. Attacking her enterprise will not accomplish anything on a legislative scale.

Tiffany Khuu can be reached at tkhuu@umass.edu.

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