Republicans Attempt to Derail Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a Policy Play Built Into Their Party’s DNA: Old School Misogyny
When I was 23, a person left a note on my mother’s windshield in the Garden City train station parking lot.
It was a print out of a blog I had written about orgasms. In marker on the top, it read “I hope you’re proud of the slut you raised”.
(For the record, she was, and still is, proud of the slut she raised).
In the ten years since I published my book and ran my blog about sex and sports, I have heard every derogatory slur a woman who is sexually active could hear. Slut, cunt, cum dumpster, desperate, no self esteem, whore, immoral. The lesson I took from my twenties was that when certain men didn’t like what you were saying, they attacked you for being a woman. In their minds, being a woman, and worse, a sexually active woman, automatically discredited any idea, thought, or opinion you had. Forget it if naked pictures of you were released. Women without clothes on were the WORST kind of women. The least valuable, the least worthy, the least intelligent. A woman could find the cure to AIDS tomorrow, solve the crisis in the Middle East, help homeless veterans get jobs and homes, get every dog in every shelter adopted tomorrow, but one nude pic scandal? Psh, she’s just a slutty whore.
That’s the world I was living in during my 20s.
That is the playbook move majority of those on the right have tried to implement against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
And it’s failing miserably.
Let me preface — I do not support majority (if any) of the policies Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes in. The platform of Democratic Socialists, to me, sounds good on paper, but is effectively unsustainable in a country like The United States without some incredibly terrible collateral damage. I understand why so many people, young people especially, see its merit, but I do not believe it’s the right political, economic or social path for the country. That’s just my opinion on it.
With that being said, as a woman, I love Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. Why? Because she has become a poster board for women like myself — and all women, really — who have ever been faced with criticism that has nothing to do with what’s between our ears, but with what’s between our legs. For women who have been attacked not for their thoughts, ideas, arguments or moral compass, but on their sexual history, their lives as women, their experiences as women. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is showing the world what it’s like to be a woman going toe to toe with a party that believes having a vagina is a negative attribute. And let me just say, it’s not exactly flattering for the Republicans.
The playbook is as old as time. Mocking a woman in subtle ways like calling her a “girl” when she’s nearly 30 years old. Acting as though innocent actions like dancing or having a nickname are somehow disqualifying when it comes to being a respected leader. Where nude pictures — which aren’t even real, but wouldn’t make a difference if they were — somehow signify some kind of disqualification.
Let me remind you, Donald Trump had an affair with a woman in porn and is President of the United States. He’s discussed his sex life on Howard Stern, and rates women based on heir looks and bra size. Including his own daughter. He described his ability to grab women by the gentials if he wanted to sleep with them. And somehow, none of that mattered to a party crazed by a video of a woman innocently dancing in college whose nickname in high school was “Sandy”.
But for women like myself and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, these ridiculous assertions and attacks are unfortunately far too familiar. The mentality of many men (right or left, honestly, but so rampant on the right) is as old as Cane and Able. And the right’s base seems to be living in the bygone era where mocking a woman for being a woman was not only justified, but effective.
In 2019, it seems to be neither.
The right has tried every antequated parlor trick to discredit the achievements Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has garnered this year. And every single one of them revolves not around disecting her political policy, leanings or ideas, but her wardrobe. Her high school year book. Being a goofy teenager in college. And her alleged sex life. This is how men of old took down women. With slut shaming, and intellect shaming, and clothing shaming. If I have learned anything in life, it’s that when weak men are afraid of something, they mock it for being a woman. Whether it’s calling a man they disagree with a pussy, or calling a woman who won’t sleep with them a cunt, men of this low caliber perpetuate the hilarious argument that simply having a vagina is something to be ashamed of. The reality is, in this day and age, these men have exposed themselves for the small testicled, fear driven relics they are. And all of them are Tweeting, commenting and posting about Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.
I do not agree with AOC’s political beliefs. Not one bit. But if the right’s objective was to get middle-of-the-roaders like myself to distrust Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s political aspirations by asserting their obvious beliefs that simply being a woman they don’t approve of is in and of itself bad politics, they’ve done nothing more than make me respect Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for the bad-ass way in which she’s handled these attacks. Ten years ago, these misogynistic tactics could have not only destroyed a woman’s career, but her life and outlook on herself. Today, they are backfiring spectacularly, proving nothing other than the fact that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has thick enough skin to succeed where so many other women have faltered; our ability to believe in our own worth, and not the value men put on us.