AOC’s “Tax The Rich” Dress & The Controversy Surrounding It

The 2021 Met Gala was held Monday, September 13th after the event was postponed for a year following the COVID-19 pandemic that impacted 2020.

This year’s event was titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,”and extracted a variety of interesting and distinct looks from the guests in attendance, some of which sparked controversy. Among these guests was Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wore a white dress designed by Brother Vellies founder Aurora James, with the words “tax the rich” emblazoned in red letters on the back. 

New York Times, 2021

This dress sparked immense controversy amongst viewers of the event, and even amongst right-wing politicians. The son of former President Trump, Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter, referred to Ocasio-Cortez as an “authoritarian mask Karen,” and continued to criticize the political message behind her dress. 

“What makes @AOC a bigger fraud, the ‘tax the rich’ dress while she’s hanging out with a bunch of wealthy leftwing elites or the lack of masks after spending the past 18 months as one of the biggest authoritarian masks Karens in the country?” He tweeted. 

Wikipedia, 2021

In addition to this, Ocasio-Cortez has received an avalanche of criticism for social media users under the assumption that she paid $35,000 to attend the Met Gala— which is the general cost of admission attendees’ pay.

She cleared up the misconceptions on her Instagram account: “And yes, BEFORE anybody starts wilding out – NYC elected officials are regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing our city’s cultural institutions that serve the public. I was one of several in attendance.” She stated. 

This isn’t the first time the congresswoman has pushed this slogan. In December of last year, Ocasio-Cortez began selling sweatshirts displaying the same slogan, which garnered similar backlash from right-wing political figures such as Ben Shapiro.

Ocasio-Cortez continued to defend the dress on Tuesday when she took to social media to voice her experience with double standards regarding criticism. ” But we all had a conversation about Taxing the Rich in front of the very people who lobby against it,” she said. “I am so used to doing the same exact thing that men do — including popular male progressive elected officials — and getting a completely different response.”

The Print, 2021

However, despite the onslaught of criticism Ocasio-Cortez has been facing since the Met Gala, it’s important to acknowledge the contributions she has made over the past year that are very much in line with her philosophy as a democratic socialist.

She raised $5 million for winter storm relief in Texas, after Texans were hit with a devastating storm that brought freezing temperatures and power outages. Alongside Senator Bernie Sanders, she proposed legislation to redirect over $100 billion into the public housing system over the course of a decade, funds which would technologize energy sources and assist in making the switch to renewable energy. Moreover, she introduced a bill alongside representative Darren Soto that would implement a national fracking ban in the name of sustainability.

Ultimately, it’s evident that, despite your opinion regarding the dress, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated her dedication to her cause through her contributions time and time again.

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