If you've been on Twitter this week, you might have seen your Democratic-minded friends sharing tweets referring to Ivanka Trump as "Ofjared." Here's why Twitter users are giving the president's daughter that (cruel) nickname.
The joke is rooted in The Handmaid's Tale, a 1985 Margaret Atwood novel that Hulu has adapted into a TV series. The first episode will air this week.
Ever since the 2016 presidential election, fans of the book have suggested the Hulu adaptation has come at quite an interesting time. The sci-fi novel presents a bleak dystopian future, where women no longer have autonomy over their bodies. And while our current government hasn't been overthrown by fundamentalists who want to establish a new society, many people see parallels between the book and the actions of our current administration.
The Women's March on Washington drew millions of protesters in January — and the crowd size was roughly three times bigger than the crowd at President Trump's inauguration. Clearly, Americans of all genders don't agree with our current leadership's agenda for the country. And a number of them believe Ivanka Trump is partially to blame. The businesswoman promotes female empowerment while defending her father, a man who's been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.
For those who've questioned why Ivanka Trump is working in the White House alongside her father and husband, the first daughter is an easy target. Her statements about her father often seem to contradict the values she promotes. And that's where the Handmaid's Tale joke comes in.
In Atwood's novel, "handmaids" are women controlled by the male "commanders" in whose homes they serve. Handmaids aren't allowed to read or pursue their own work or hobbies; their purpose is to bear children. To emphasize the handmaids' lack of autonomy, the women are called not by their own names, but by the names of their commanders. The protagonist is named "Offred" — an abbreviation for "of Fred," Fred being her commander. Some of the other characters include "Ofglen" and "Ofwarren."
By calling Ivanka Trump "Ofjared," Twitter users are suggesting that Ivanka isn't really her own person, but is serving the men in her life. Her husband, Jared Kusher, is a senior adviser to the president, a.k.a. her dad.
The "Ofjared" joke seems to have started with Canadian Twitter user Kayle Clark earlier this month. It then went viral when BuzzFeed senior culture writer Anne Helen Petersen shared the phrase in a tweet Monday.
But some Twitter users pointed out that "Ofdonald" would probably be a better descriptor.
Others compared Ivanka Trump to Offred's commander's wife, Serena Joy.
The comparison isn't really fair to Ivanka Trump; it's also not going to solve anything in our current political climate. The Handmaid's Tale is fiction; for Americans concerned with the country's future, it's going to take more than Twitter jokes to make a change.