AOC says she has no regrets over Tax The Rich MET Gala Dress, saying she “did something right”
A few days ago, AOC took Twitter and social media by storm with her ‘Tax the Rich’ dress at MET Gala 2021. She wanted to make a statement but ended up getting backlash from liberals as well as conservatives. Those on the right called her problematic while those on the left called her performative. But, she did manage to gather the public’s attention and that is the reason why AOC says that she has no regrets over the dress.
AOC’s Tax the Rich dress made huge echoes at the MET Gala 2021
Last week, the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez showed up to the 2021 MET Gala in a dress that took the internet by storm. It was a beautiful white off-the-shoulder gown by Brooklyn-based designer brand Brother Vellies, but with ‘Tax the Rich’ scrawled in red at the back. Immediately after the public saw that dress, outrage followed.
Moreover, AOC also mentioned that public representatives routinely get invited to the MET gala. She also made clear that she didn’t actually pay for the ticket. Writing in an Instagram post and on Twitter, she said:
And before haters get wild flying off the handle, New York elected officials are routinely invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing and supporting the city’s cultural institutions for the public. I was one of several in attendance in this evening.
Soon after, political dissidents from all ends of the spectrum censured AOC. The ones on the left called it performative activism from AOC and that this statement was shallow. Meanwhile, those on the right were quick to point out AOC’s hypocrisy, that she was invited to a function that only the top 1% has access to. They also highlighted the astounding price tag of her dress. But, one thing is for sure – everyone was talking about ‘Tax the Rich’. And it is for that reason AOC has no regrets over the dress.
AOC explains how her Tax the Rich dress was a huge success
In a recent Instagram Q&A session, AOC was asked if she regrets wearing the dress after all the backlash. To that, she gave quite a comprehensive answer, sharing the Google trending graph of the phrase ‘Tax the Rich’:
No. This is the timeline of all people in the US researching “Tax the Rich” on Google over the last 5 YEARS. That spiked dotted line at the end? That’s the number of people in the US researching “Tax the Rich” since “Monday”.
AOC then highlighted that it’s shortsighted to say that awareness is the bare minimum. She says it is important to make the working class aware of ideas that the mainstream tries to oppress. AOC continued:
Some critics say “awareness isn’t enough,” and of course that is true. But mass class consciousness is a necessary component to action, and sometimes I think people believe there’s more of it out there than there actually is. There is also a built-in resistance to certain ideas going mainstream in general, in a way that’s not unlike people who dislike when other people start to appreciate the indie music they have enjoyed for years as though popularity is inherently bad or corrupting and things can only be virtuous when they are unpopular or obscure. But how can we build a movement if it’s unpopular?
The Congresswoman reiterated that she is not going to betray the working class
There were many critics on Twitter who called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a class traitor. However, AOC shunned all these rumors and talks down, by adding:
I’m not interested in being part of a club, or to live in a way that I drive a sense self worth from constant holier than thou criticism. I am interested in mass conversations of systems of class, race, and justice. Unions and cooperatives SHOULD be mainstream. Convos abt the value of labor SHOULD be pop bc the alternative is a pop culture of worshipping billionaires and thinking excessive wealth is cool when people can’t afford to be housed or fed. Some may disagree and the thoughtful critiques are important too. But honestly this whole thing pissed off the right people bc billionaire owned media outlets have been going after me for DAYS which means we did something right.
Even though AOC has no regrets over her ‘Tax the Rich’ dress, she does say that the hate she received was anything but “fun”. It puts her in vulnerable positions, but in the end, it is worth it. She concluded with:
Now this is not to say this experience has been 100% rainbows and cotton candy fun either. Moments of mass exposure like this aren’t “fun” all, trust me it’s stressful be you put yourself in an extremely vulnerable position. But vulnerability and risk is what is required for ideas and moments to resonate
As far as awareness is concerned, no one can doubt that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did manage to spread the message. People were talking less about the MET Gala and more about her dress. And she deserves that much credit. However, with time, her constituents and most of her supporters will demand more than just awareness.