As anybody who follows the consumer reading recommendations of the U.S. State Department knows, Ivanka Trump has a new book out this week, touting the wisdom she’s earned on her journey from very rich young woman, to unsuccessful fashion mogul, to the closest thing the current political administration has to an acceptable public face. Women Who Work is filled with all sorts of pithy tidbits and platitudes about work-life balance and the like, apparently, generally prefaced with quotes from people who are more famous for being writers than Ivanka Trump. (Jane Goodall, Nietzsche, etc.)
That’s all well and whatever, as far as the world of celebrity book publishing goes. The bit that’s catching people’s attention, though, is a chapter where Trump writes about the difficulties of managing women’s schedules, in which she asks “Are you a slave to your time, or a master of it?” before elaborating on the back-breaking drudgery of “returning calls, attending meetings, answering e-mails…” That’s already not great, as far as tone-deaf comparisons to actual human enslavement go, but the real kicker is the quote that leads off the chapter, taken from Toni Morrison’s novel about the insidious legacy of slavery, Beloved.
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another,” Morrison’s text reads, the “freeing” there referring to actual freedom from actual bondage, and not, like, the terrible pull of your buzzing Palm Pilot. It’s not clear if Trump actually knows her book was directly comparing schedule management to being worked, literally, to death by cruel, soulless monsters, or if she just sent an intern to scan Goodreads for some fast quotes with “freedom” in them and called it a day.
[Note: Fusion, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications.]