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This is a really difficult time to write about women’s rights. This is a really difficult time to write about anything, really. So many of our basic principles of humane interaction (with various groups and with the world at large) are under attack. Where do you even begin to help? Where do you even begin to stop it? It’s a painful time to be an American.

One woman-specific component of this administration that continually baffles me is Ivanka. She seems like a smart person who genuinely cares and wants to help the world (specifically, women in the workplace and families) yet she’s somehow completely blind to her father. She’s someone I want to judge, because what she has assisted in creating is abhorrent. But, on the other hand, I have a lot of inner conflict about judging other women. It seems other women judge other women the most and hardest.

Growing up I had a sense that there’s a way to fight and hurt that is inherently female. Spreading rumors, turning people against one another, shitting on each other on the internet - these all seemed like inherently girl fight moves. At least, as I experienced them. Not that men and boys don’t judge, of course they do. But women might be more prone to viciousness on an insidious, quieter level. And it’s something I’ve tried hard not to perpetuate. It’s challenging enough being a woman. We don’t need to be turning against one another.

When this kind of behavior continued into adulthood, though, that’s when it got really hard to let go. Most recently, something happened that I think had to do with similar girl on girl crime. I was at a party with this guy I had been into. We spoke earlier on in the night and he was cool and friendly, then by the second interaction, he was a total asshole. He wanted me nowhere near him, made it pretty clear. And it felt very targeted - he wanted me nowhere near him, specifically. I think this girl I barely knew but whose boyfriend had been texting me to hang (I blew him off both times) had said something.

So, first of all, if this happened, of course, it’s very high school. But, at least in my experience, it’s also very girl. To purposely go after a guy she knew I was interested in and say something nasty about me, that’s conniving and ridiculous. And gross. And I hate that girls do that. On the other hand, what I don’t want to do is perpetuate the cycle of judgment and start shitting on her myself. So I’m caught in this place where I’m angry and befuddled, but I don’t want to judge her. I want to understand where she was coming from, and never repeat that kind of behavior myself.

And I want to understand to what extent this is really how girls and women treat each other. And how we can stop it. Because it seems like girls are ultimately hardest, worst, nastiest to girls.

So even if I think Ivanka’s behavior is inherently disgusting - how could she do this to America? - what I want more than anything is just to see her when I see her on TV or in the news, and not to judge her, knowing I will fight against any policy she helps perpetuate from exactly where I stand.