The Met Gala is known as an event for rich people. It’s known this way because tickets reportedly cost $30,000. The event itself is a fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. Mostly, the people in attendance–at least the ones we see photos of–are celebrities like Rihanna or Kim Kardashian. The event has been handled by Anna Wintour since 1995, and is raising money for a Costume Institute, so at the end of the day the biggest topic at the Met Gala is fashion. Recently, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earned an invite to the event (meaning she didn’t pay $30,000). She’s well known for her progressive politics and social media following. Though a New York City resident, she isn’t normally someone people would expect to see at the Met Gala. She went, though. And for her dress? The congresswoman connected with designer Aurora James and decided to make a very plain statement.
You can see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Tax The Rich dress below.
To say the dress has sparked controversy may be an understatement. The opinions on this dress, and her decision to attend the Met Gala, are coming in full swing. Many are having a hard time understanding her decision to attend an event with rich people (remember the $30,000 entrance price) to tell them to tax the rich. Before we dive into what people are saying online, let’s take a look at what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has to say herself. First, here’s a brief interview she did at the event.
Then, there’s what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to say on her own Twitter account.
In this second tweet, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mentioned that other politicians were also in attendance, but most of them aren’t dressing in a way that gets them in the news. Typically, politicians wear plain suits. Politicians who are women have their fashion choices discussed a lot. Hilary Clinton is a prime example. She wears suits, but it’s an unending conversation topic. If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had worn a Met Gala appropriate piece of fashion, the hypocrisy of wearing fine clothes would have been a constant topic of conversation. If she’d worn a plain suit, well, what’s the point of going? She’s a politician trying to force change and conversations. So, she leaned into that.
Of course, now, many are unhappy, especially on Twitter, where some feel that her Tax The Rich dress is performative and hypocritical. Also, they feel that there is no point to sitting next to rich people, suggesting they should be taxed. Many also doubted whether Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is allowed to speak of “working class” people as though she is one of them.
Before being elected, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez worked as a waitress and bartender. While she worked on Bernie Sanders’ campaign and had a strong social media platform, mainstream media was reluctant to pay attention to her for a long time. Now that she has that kind of platform and attention from the rich themselves, many of her long time followers may not know what to think. While she has said that the message is the medium, and some people are agreeing with that, others are arguing hard against it.
Interestingly though, if you search for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter, only about half the conversation is about the Tax the Rich dress, even though Tax the Rich became trending words. Under her name, there is also conversation about one of her more recent tweets about her experience in congress.
And the congresswoman herself has already moved on from the dress to talking about Rahm Emanuel.
Clearly, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is wasting no time to use any attention she has for the dress on more conversations about the politics she is trying to push forward.