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Met Gala

How clever of AOC to weaponise her wardrobe

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) and Melania Trump in 2018 (right). Jamie McCarthy and Mandel Ngan/Getty Images.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows exactly what she’s doing, says Molly Roberts in The Washington Post. On Monday, New York’s socialist congresswoman attended the glitzy Met Gala in a white dress with “TAX THE RICH” emblazoned on the back. Tickets for the event cost upwards of $35,000. For some, AOC was an “anti-capitalist queen, infiltrating the ranks of the despised elite to thrust her message where they can’t ignore it”. For others, she was a filthy hypocrite, “playing a game whose rules she purports to disdain”. None of that really matters. The result of AOC’s dress is this: “People who usually wouldn’t talk about the Met Gala are talking about the Met Gala.” And the people who would usually talk about the Met Gala, are talking about AOC.

She’s not the first woman to weaponise her wardrobe. In 2018, Melania Trump caused an enormous stir when she visited the Mexican border wearing a jacket with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” on the back. It was as savvy as it was tasteless. The media was swept into a frenzy about the coat and Melania promptly turned it against them. So much for them pretending to care about Mexican families, she said, all they’re interested in are my clothes. Like Melania, AOC is no fool. She’s aware of her power and she’s starting a conversation she wants to have.

Why it matters
Hours after AOC wore her dress, Google and Twitter searches for “tax the rich” surged. The next day, coincidence or not, Joe Biden tweeted: “It’s time the super-wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes.” Damn, said journalist Casey Johnston on Twitter, “the dress worked”.