Did you hear the news? Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter with a dress.
The leftist New York MP attended the Met Gala on Monday, the America’s most glamorous red carpet, sporting a long white dress emblazoned with the words TAX THE RICH in bright red.
Ocasio-Cortez is a jedi when it comes to garnering attention for her political causes, but she may have gotten disgusted with this bit of sartorial activism: she received a strident pushback from the left and from the the right on his decision to attend the ultra-elite fundraiser that charges $ 35,000 per ticket. But rather than a reason to label Ocasio-Cortez as a hypocrite, the coup is best understood as showcasing his unique insider-outside political style which has the power to shake up the status quo but is also limited in its ability to overthrow it. .
Ocasio-Cortez told The Associated Press her dress was to have a real conversation about justice and fairness in our system and noted how that relates to the debate on the budget reconciliation bill. Were talking about providing working families with child care, healthcare, dealing with the climate crisis on the scale it deserves, she said.
She explained on social media that her dress was loaned to her by designer Aurora James, and that she was invited to the fundraiser that finances the Costume Institute’s budget in her capacity as a government employee.
New York City elected officials are regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing and supporting the city’s cultural institutions for the public, she tweeted. I was one of the many in attendance tonight. (I contacted his office for a comment on the exact origin of the ticket, but did not receive a response.)
But for many, Ocasio-Cortez’s political message just didn’t land. The two on the right and the far left, pundits and activists lambasted her for dating billionaires and Hollywood celebrities.
Ocasio-Cortez has sought to define an ambiguous political position of keeping one foot firmly inside the system and one foot outside.
Keep killing, kween. #CosplayTheRevolution, right-wing radio talk show host Ben Shapiro sneakily tweeted. Leftist criticism piled up his explanation why she was at the gala with complaints that the very act of attending was a compromise of principle, or that it was a toothless form of protest. A Twitter user joked that his presence was tantamount to putting a “Stop World Hunger” banner on a yacht.
Regardless of what you think of Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to attend and the overheated reaction to his participation, the answer raises legitimate questions about politics, art, and activism. It has to be argued that his direct message was catchy and succeeded in drawing attention to his call for progressive taxation and social spending. It’s also worth arguing that the opulent optics of the event are so powerful that it has engulfed and appropriated any attempt by Ocasio-Cortez to criticize it. It probably didn’t help that the congressman’s stylish outfit helped her blend into the jet set even though her political slogan was aimed at creating distance with them.
Ocasio-Cortez wrote that “the medium is the message” when posting photos of her dress, but may not have considered that the mainstream media here for many was not the words of her slogan but the dress style, the gala and the other participants.
Ocasio-Cortezs Met’s participation reflects the dilemmas of her broader political style: she is famous for using social media, speeches and stunts of activists to attract a lot of attention as a political gadfly who puts pressure on the Democratic Party of the left. At the same time, she reliably discusses key legislation with Democrats and has at times served as an ally of the Biden administration as it has worked to push forward aggressive social spending for Covid-19 relief. , poverty reduction measures and climate policy.
In other words, Ocasio-Cortez has sought to define an ambiguous political position of keeping one foot firmly inside the system and one foot outside. This makes her vulnerable to complaints of betrayal from the left-wing militant scene she hails from and cries of hypocrisy from right-wing critics (mostly in bad faith).
Personally, I find Ocasio-Cortezs’ dress and presence at the Met to be largely inconsequential to the world: I don’t think it reveals anything new about his political commitments and is consistent with his style. politician. But this specific attempt at activism was probably not a success.
Ocasio-Cortez pointed out on Instagram that Google searches for taxes of the rich increased after she wore her dress. But it’s likely that many, and perhaps most, people were just looking at her dress and the controversy it sparked, not the politics it indicated.
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