There are so many things we can criticize Ivanka Trump for: using sweatshops to produce her fashion line. Being complicit in her father's harmful agenda that targets women and minorities. Inserting herself into powerful political positions despite not being an elected official or a government worker. The list goes on. But what should we not criticize Ivanka for? Her clothes.

On Sunday, MSNBC contributor Joan Walsh appeared on MSNBC Live and derailed a conversation about Ivanka's role at the G20 conference by going on a random rant about Ivanka's "girlie" dress. Specifically this dress:


UGH, Joan. We will never forgive you for forcing us to defend Ivanka Trump in any way, but here we go.

"Right. With big bows on her sleeve. I mean, I don’t mean to sound sexist — 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 that what we see is that in patriarchal, authoritarian societies, daughters have great value — they are property. And the message that she is sending about her own value, about her place in the White House, and about the place of women in this administration, I think, are really frightening."


If you ever start a sentence with, “I don’t mean to sound sexist…” — you are about to say something sexist and you should stop.

Clearly predicting the tidal wave of backlash headed for Walsh, host Thomas Roberts then asked, "Do you think you’re opening yourself [to criticism] about the bows? Are you ready?"

At this point Walsh doubled-down, criticizing the "girlieness" of Ivanka's outfit.

“That’s not a dress that’s made for work. That’s not a dress that’s made to go out in the world and make a difference. That is a dress that is designed to show off your girlieness, and, you know, God bless her, show it off, but don’t then tell us that you’re crusading for an equal place for women at the table because you’re not.”


“So you can’t be a feminist and be girlie at the same time?” Roberts asked.

“You can be a feminist and be girlie," replied Walsh. “We all have our girlie days, but I think showing up, taking your fathers’s seat in a pink dress with big bows on the sleeves is really an interesting message."

Mm, we should probably focus more on that "taking your father's seat" part than the "big bows" part. One is important, the other is completely unimportant.


Criticizing Ivanka's clothes is not only unproductive, but it won't hurt Ivanka. It hurts women. From high schools to the White House, we continually see woman and girls scrutinized for how they choose to dress their bodies.

Just this month Congress changed their dress code so sleeveless dresses wouldn't be allowed on the Congressional floor. By the way, that means Ivanka can wear her pink dress on the congress floor and you couldn't wear the one you have on in this broadcast, Joan. It is dangerous to criticize what a woman wears, and it is confounding that Walsh would acknowledge that and then do it anyway.


So let Ivanka wear as many bows as she wants as she makes a fool of herself. Unless you are trying to get a job on Fashion Police, there is no need to turn a news report into a fashion report. Let's criticize her for being a dangerous tool of the patriarchy who aids her father's harmful agenda— not for her dress.