MSNBC Contributor: Ivanka's G20 Dress Reinforces the Patriarchy

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"I don't mean to sound sexist," MSNBC contributor Joan Walsh said right before saying something, well, kind of sexist. 

Walsh appeared on "MSNBC Live" this passed Sunday, where she addressed Ivanka Trump's attire at the G20 summit in Germany. Here is what she had to say: 

It can be dangerous to comment on what women wear but the fact that she sat in for her father in a dress that was so incredibly ornamental was such a contradiction in terms. And I think what we see is that in patriarchal authoritarian societies, daughters have great value. They are property.

Let's break this down.

First: "It can be dangerous to comment on what women wear." Yes, excellent point. It is typically very dangerous and, in fact, sexist to comment on what a woman is wearing instead of what she is saying or doing. Is this not what feminists tell us all the time? Going by the laws of politeness alone, it is probably a good idea to refrain from commenting on someone's dress unless it is completely outside of proper decorum. 

Nevertheless, she persists.

Next item: "The fact that she sat in for her father in a dress that was so incredibly ornamental was such a contradiction in terms." Perhaps Walsh is suggesting that wearing something ornate is ultra feminine? And of course wearing something ultra feminine while attending one of the world's most powerful meetings is a contradiction. Wait! But then that would mean that femininity is at odds with positions of power. And I'm sure Walsh does not want to suggest that. 

Finally: "And I think what we see is that in patriarchal authoritarian societies, daughters have great value. They are property." This is false on its face. Why would anyone have a human they consider to be property speak on their behalf at, again, the world's most powerful summit? It does not make any sense. Donald Trump didn't bring Ivanka with him to marry her off to an Austro-Hungarian Duke. Ivanka is speaking on his behalf. 

Walsh, author of "What's the Matter with White People?" and feminist critic, seems to be protesting a woman, who dresses in a feminine manner, in a position of great power. 

Methinks the lady doth protest too much. 

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