Only one year ago, she was working at a bar to support her family, and this November, she became the youngest woman in history to be elected to Congress, defeating 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley, one of the longest-standing congressmen. Take a moment to let that sink in.
Hard work, dedication, determination, perseverance, and commitment: one look at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortéz’s brown zip-up shoes and these words automatically come to mind. The 29-year-old Nuyorican from the Bronx hit the pavement for months, wearing the same shoes until “rainwater came through the soles.” Now, those shoes are being showcased as part of the Cornell Costume Collection in the exhibit titled “WOMEN EMPOWERED: Fashion from the frontline.” This space was created to chronicle how “women strategically use fashion for empowerment and uplifting.” She ran a grassroots campaign, voicing progressive ideals such as universal health coverage, abolishing ICE, and ending tuition at public colleges. In 50 years, children all over the country will be reading about the story of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in history books.
So, how did this pair of shoes go about making history? The story began with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortéz tweeting a pic of her battered shoes in response to someone trying to downplay her victory and owing it to “demographic reasons.” With her tweet, she clapped back not only at this comment, but also to all the conservative media who are kind of obsessed with her wardrobe. If the leader of the US is openly saying misogynistic comments, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his supporters have followed suit. The congresswoman has been very active on social media, documenting her life on Capitol Hill since day one, another point to add to the history books.
She has also openly discussed her financial woes given the high costs of living in DC, at least until she starts receiving her congressional salary next year. That, however, hasn’t kept conservative news media from criticizing Ocasio-Cortéz’s wardrobe constantly. These distasteful comments are a rampant and blatant attack on a woman of color who comes from a working-class family to throw people off from what she really represents: a change that has been waiting to come and the slow death of disparate representation in congress. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortéz has come to the Hill to shake things up and bring about the beginning of true representation.
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