Home FASHION ‘Waitress’ plays dress up for the night

‘Waitress’ plays dress up for the night

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Morgan Dowler | Cartoonist

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s success story from waitress to U.S. representative has allowed her to build a platform on which she claims to be a woman of the people and is praised as a “champion of the poor.” But do her hypocritical choices really reflect this?

Ocasio-Cortez attended the $35,000-a-ticket “fashion Oscars” wearing a statement white dress that said “Tax the Rich” on the back in bold red font.

Known to be “fashion’s biggest night of the year,” the 2021 Met Gala was held on Monday after being postponed due to COVID-19. The Met Gala is an evening when designers, models and Hollywood stars dress to the theme to celebrate and fundraise a new exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

This year’s theme focused on celebrating all things American fashion — specifically American Independence — and Ocasio-Cortez completely squandered her opportunity to promote her message. She could have chosen to dress in support of any other pressing issue, but she settled on this choice instead. Ocasio-Cortez stresses the importance of backing the working class, but attending the Met Gala isn’t something that a middle-class American can relate to.

Attending an event where the cost of a full table is $275,000 with an economic justice message plastered on the back of an expensive, fancy dress while rubbing elbows with society’s elite is, at best, a bad look politically — but, at worst, it is an exposure of a deep character flaw.

The polarizing message printed on the back of her dress was not only tone deaf but also a tasteless and tacky way to promote the platform position that she has been given. This act triggered strong reactions across the political spectrum. Ocasio-Cortez wrote on social media that when doing the same actions as her male counterparts — such as openly talking about important issues — she, as a female, receives a different response. Maybe, in the context of the Met Gala, it’s because she showed up with a seemingly conflicting message that was written on her dress rather than on notecards. Pulling a stunt to show her presence at an event of this caliber doesn’t match her political persona.

In a follow-up reactionary post, Ocasio-Cortez defended her choices and reasoning behind the dress and its intended message, saying that “The medium is the message.” If dominating the mainstream social media conversation with over 500,000 searches was the goal, then she accomplished it, but that’s about all she did.

Responding to the negative attention to her dress, Ocasio-Cortez made more claims that her body is being policed, that women’s rights are under attack and that the dress was a nod to these phenomena. The caption also flaunted that her designer, Aurora James, “got her fashion start at a NYC flea market.” However, it has been released that James actually grew up in a wealthy suburb of Toronto.

The pandemic did play a role in the 2021 Met Gala, as COVID-19 guidelines were set in place for the evening, including guests providing proof of full vaccination, having a negative rapid PCR test the day prior and wearing proper face coverings when inside unless eating or drinking. However, attendees were rarely seen wearing masks. Meanwhile, New Yorkers cannot go to many restaurants without an ID, proof of vaccination and a mask.

The Met Gala also exposed Ocasio-Cortez’s pandemic hypocrisy. An avid authoritarian mask advocate like Ocasio-Cortez attending the Met Gala and acting like the pandemic is over only goes to show the second-class treatment of non-celebrities who have to follow seemingly arbitrary pandemic rules. This event demonstrates that the pandemic is over for those in high society, so why is it not over for the common working class American people, like Ocasio-Cortez (or so we thought)?

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