For her first-ever Met Gala appearance, representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chose a statement-making dress which has drawn mixed reactions on social media. The Democratic congresswoman from New York attended the star-studded event in a white gown by Brother Vellies with the message “Tax the Rich” splashed across the back in red — an inflammatory statement at an event where tickets cost $35,000 apiece and tables were up to $300,000, reports AFP. It was a polarising choice of outfit from a politician who has repeatedly called for billionaires to pay higher taxes and previously courted controversy by selling sweatshirts with “Tax the Rich” emblazoned on them.
The Met Gala, held in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, made a return Monday after its cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic. The theme for this year’s Met Gala was ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’.
While Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – or AOC, as she is popularly known – raised eyebrows by wearing a couture gown with the words “Tax the Rich” to an event attended by some of Hollywood’s wealthiest stars, she also offered an explanation for doing so.
“When we talk about supporting working families and when we talk about having a fair tax code, oftentimes this conversation is happening among working and middle class people (on) the senate floor,” she told reporters at the event, according to CNN. “I think it’s time we bring all classes into the conversation,” she said.
On social media, reactions varied from critical to supportive.
Donald Trump Jr criticised the politician for sending mixed signals with her dress while hanging out with wealthy celebrities.
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 mask Karens in the country? https://t.co/pE84Pjquh1
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 14, 2021
“‘Tax the rich’ says AOC’s dress … at the Met Gala … where tickets cost $30,000,” a Twitter user said.
“Tax the rich” says AOC’s dress … at the Met Gala … where tickets cost $30,000.
But AOC doesn’t mean them; she means you. You’re rich. Because you work. Tax you. That’s the reality. The Met Gala guys get tax breaks. You don’t. pic.twitter.com/awGxEdT2xB
— Marina Medvin ???????? (@MarinaMedvin) September 13, 2021
Many said it was “hypocritical” of AOC to be wearing the message to an exclusive event for Hollywood’s biggest and richest stars.
I’m starting to think AOC is a parody congresswoman.
There’s simply no way she thought wearing a designer “Tax The Rich” dress to an event with $30,000 tickets would be received well.
What a FOOL.
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) September 14, 2021
Let me get this straight. AOC is wearing an expensive dress that says “Tax the Rich” at one of the dumbest events that the wealthy elite put on? LOL. https://t.co/8gKQIvvJ3f
— Jacob Airey (@realJacobAirey) September 14, 2021
Others branded her outfit “iconic”
AOC wearing a “tax the rich” dress at the Met Gala is truly the most iconic outfit I’ve ever SEEN pic.twitter.com/zcVS4uChgq
— ℐ ⅇℳ ???????? (@JeimiVentura) September 13, 2021
aoc wears a “tax the rich” dress in an apparent mockery of joy villa’s “build the wall” dress from the 2019 grammys. inch resting pic.twitter.com/vWxtIATOU8
— matt (@mattxiv) September 14, 2021
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to wear white may not have been accidental either. It is a colour that many American congresswomen have worn in the past for its association with the suffragette movement.
Meanwhile, AOC was not the only one who chose to make a political statement at the Met Gala 2021. Fellow congresswoman Carolyn B Maloney showed up in a dress adorned with colourful sashes, each with the words “Equal Rights for Women” emblazoned on it. She also carried a purse which said “ERA YES”.
With this choice of outfit, she called for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, a Constitutional amendment that would guarantee legal gender equality for women and men. “Across the country, women’s rights are under attack,” Ms Maloney wrote on Twitter. “I have long used fashion as a force 4 change. As the Met Costume Institute reopens w/ their inaugural exhibit celebrating American designers, I am calling for the certification of the ERA so women can be equal once and for all.”
Across the country, women’s rights are under attack.
I have long used fashion as a force 4 change. As the Met Costume Institute reopens w/ their inaugural exhibit celebrating American designers, I am calling 4 the certification of the ERA so women can be equal once and for all. pic.twitter.com/ONbAJq4rOK
— Carolyn B. Maloney (@CarolynBMaloney) September 13, 2021
The Met Gala is usually held in May, but this year it was postponed to September in hopes that Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted. The honorary co-chairs were Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, who has turned the gala into a global event, designer Tom Ford and Adam Mosseri, director of Instagram, which is sponsoring the extravaganza.
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