Apparently vacuuming even in an art work is somehow degrading, a sexist humiliation. Ivanka said: “Women can choose to knock each other down or build each other up. I choose the latter.” Her brother Trump jnr, using his father’s favourite putdown, tweeted: “Sad, but not surprising to watch self professed ‘feminists’ launching sexist attacks against Ivanka Trump. In their crazed world, sexism is OK if it hurts their political enemies.” And her other brother Eric said: “Ivanka is powerful woman who has done more for women than probably anybody in Washington DC.”
The artist Jennifer Rubell in the text explaining the work says that Ivanka is a “contemporary feminine icon and avatar for the complexities of modern feminity”. Rubell continues to explain that she is “a figure whose public persona incorporates an almost comically wide range of feminine identities – daughter, wife, mother , sister, model, working woman, blonde”.
Scroll through Ivanka’s Instagram feed with her other 4.5 million followers and you can see all these personas being played out on a public stage – all performed with the veneer and imprimatur of female perfection. According to her father, Ivanka is the platonic ideal of female perfection. Weird incestuous stuff he said aside, Ivanka in fact represents the kind of glossy aspirational beauty and lifestyle that was up to a year ago channelled into a successful brand selling stuff to the general public. Now she is selling jobs, apparently.
But not all jobs. Certainly she is offended by being presented in a women’s job. The kind that only poor immigrants and people doing it for themselves might be engaged with. There is something profoundly interesting in the fact that she is so angry to be represented in this way. The artist says that there is weird pleasure the viewer takes in throwing the crumbs for the glossy, ever-smiling Ivanka to vacuum up, and a strange complicity in the act. I suppose it is the idea of the princess mopping up the crumbs from the cake her kind believe the masses should be eating. And the vacuuming.