Sarah Grace Goolden
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made history this midterm, by being the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. The 29-year-old is a Democrat from The Bronx who won the primary in 14th congressional district. As a young Latina woman, she is no doubt going to face scrutiny in the political world, but Fox News cannot seem to keep her name out of its headlines.
Ocasio-Cortez has been very honest about her financial situation. Last year, she was working at a restaurant. Now, she’s in a transitional period, and has admitted that she’s not sure how she’s going to pay rent in D.C. She won’t receive a paycheck for a couple months while she switches to her new, much larger salary. Going from a waitress who lives off tips to her new paycheck of 174 thousand dollars, according to NBC Washington, is a big change.
Housing played a huge part in Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign. She pointed out that the price of a two-bedroom apartment in her district has increased by 80 percent in three years. This is a personal matter to her, as she presents herself as a working-class woman who wants to help other working-class folks.
Fox was quick to attack this image. In mid-November, they reported that Ocasio-Cortez has 15 thousand dollars in her savings account, and accused her of spending her savings “like the 1 percent of the country and ended up cashless after the election.”
Eddie Scarry, a reporter for the Washington Examiner, posted a now-deleted picture of the unsuspecting congresswoman on Twitter. Not only was it a generally creepy picture without her consent or knowledge, the caption points out that Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t, “look like a girl who struggles” based on her jacket and coat. This is very bizarre to me. She is a professional who needs to dress the part. No one is going to take anyone, especially a woman, seriously in politics if they’re going to work in pajama pants. I’m unsure exactly what Scarry expected. Additionally, as Dictionary.com pointed out, Ocasio-Cortez is not a girl. She is a grown woman and should be addressed as so.
This is a problem that working-class people undergo constantly. If someone is poor, some people get upset when they are not eating exclusively Spam and wearing a potato sack. Occasionally buying nice things does not mean someone isn’t poor. A pricey jacket does not mean Ocasio-Cortez is secretly a billionaire.
Despite being under attack by several news outlets, mainly Fox, Ocasio-Cortez still keeps her head up high and isn’t afraid to fire back. She directly addressed Scarry, tweeting “Oh, does @eScarry think he can delete his misogyny without an apology? I don’t think so. You’re a journalist- reader should know your bias.” In response to the massive amount of criticism, she responds with “Dark hates light- that’s why you tune it out.”
Politicians deal with a lot more scrutiny than the Average Joe. This is, of course, necessary. But women, especially women of color, are far more susceptible to overanalysis, even hate. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has let it roll off her shoulders very maturely. I hope that in the future she is judged off her policies, rather than her looks or financial situation.