Japanese Women See Aspirational Qualities in ‘De Facto First Lady’ Ivanka TrumpPosted: January 11, 2017
Ayako Mie reports: Miyu Toyonaga was thrilled when she discovered who had visited her Instagram account last April. It was Ivanka Trump, her fashion icon, and she had liked a photo of Toyonaga with a leather clutch purse from Ivanka’s namesake brand.
“In a way I aspire to be like her. I would like to keep working even after I have a baby and have the option of living overseas.”
— 2012 Miss World Supermodel Japan
The 32-year-old Toyonaga, who works at the Tokyo office of an Australian commercial real estate firm, said she was struck by the elegant style and successful career of the model-turned-business executive when she first saw her Instagram pictures two or three years ago.
“In a way I aspire to be like her,” said the 2012 Miss World Supermodel Japan, who is preparing to set up a fashion e-commerce site like Ivanka. “I would like to keep working even after I have a baby and have the option of living overseas.”
Toyonaga’s views are unlikely to be embraced by those Americans still depressed about the stunning victory of her father, Donald Trump, in the U.S. presidential election in November.
Less than two weeks before he takes office, Ivanka has come under fire for her political ambitions and influence over the president-elect.
“It goes without saying that she is very beautiful. But at the same time, she is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting…men too much. That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”
–Shinzato, who has been introducing Ivanka’s fashion and overall lifestyle on her blog and an online publication called 4yuuu!
Donald Trump’s favorite child is also rumored to be replacing her media-shy stepmother, Melania, as a de facto first lady, as the former Slovenian fashion model stays in New York while her husband moves into the White House this month.
But some 10,800 km away from her glamorous Upper East Side apartment, Ivanka might find more supporters like Toyonaga.
For some Japanese women who struggle to juggle demanding jobs as working professionals, mothers and wives, America’s next “first daughter” might offer her own “Ivanka-ism” or post-feminist wisdom on how to survive in a male-oriented society.
The suave fashion entrepreneur appears to have mastered a successful career and picture-perfect family life with a millionaire husband and three children, without launching an all-out feminist war against what her father represents — a white, male-dominated, capitalist system.
Yuriko Shinzato, 32, a freelance writer and mother of a 6-year-old girl, said she believed Ivanka was the opposite of failed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has often antagonized men in her efforts to climb the corporate and political ladder.
It was clear from her Instagram pictures, Shinzato said, that Instagram-savvy Ivanka marketed her image as a daughter, wife and mother, while finding success in her career.
“It goes without saying that she is very beautiful,” said Shinzato, who has been introducing Ivanka’s fashion and overall lifestyle on her blog and an online publication called 4yuuu!
“But at the same time, she is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting . . . men too much.
“That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”
Despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for tapping more female talent, the environment for female working professionals has not improved significantly in Japan.
There remains a massive shortage of nurseries, and incidents of pregnant women being harassed in the workplace still surface.
The suicide of Matsuri Takahashi, a 24-year-old worker at powerful and prestigious advertising firm Dentsu, is a sad reminder, however extreme it might be, that aspiring Japanese men and women have to work impossible hours to prove themselves.
Even if they work long hours, women still suffer from a more than 26 percent gender wage gap, which is the third-worst among 35 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
What’s worse, being good at work might not be enough, many say. Some women feel tacit pressure from male co-workers and bosses that they have to be pretty, while dealing with sexist comments and attitudes still rife in Japan.
In her Twitter posts, Takahashi said her boss ridiculed her, saying she…(read more)
Source: The Japan Times