AOC’s Met Gala sparks controversy and discussion

Photo courtesy of Victoria Pickering, Flickr

On Sept. 13, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City held its annual Met Gala. This fundraiser consists of celebrities traveling to NYC dressed in the appointed theme of the night. One of the most eye-catching looks of the evening that stirred up controversy seemed to be the “Tax the Rich’ gown worn by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The 2021 theme of American Independence was picked by ‘Gen-Z Darlings’ and co-chairs Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, Timothée Chalamet and Amanda Gorman. This gave the stars of the event a wide variety of interpretations to formulate a show-stopping outfit. As the political climate in this country varies day by day, this theme gives these celebrity designers a run for their money.

Ocasio-Cortez, better known as AOC, showed up on her home turf of NYC in a white gown with “TAX THE RICH” sprawled over the backside in big red letters. As some people know, attending this event comes with quite a high price, that being $35,000.

Her mission as a representative of the 14th district, is to tax the income of the top one percent. Was this the best way to relay her message? Probably not. In my eyes and of many other users across various social media platforms, I find this action to be hypocritical.

Democrats such as AOC have been devising a plan to tax the income of billionaires. She reckons that the existence of billionaires when many people live in poverty is wrong. To “abolish billionaires,” there needs to be a heavily enforced tax set upon them. The proposal wrote that the rich don’t pay their fair majority of taxes. In contrast, it is already established that high-income Americans pay the largest majority of taxes.

Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic at the New York Times Vanessa Friedman took to Twitter her opinion on this piece on Sept. 13 and wrote, “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attending the $35,000-a-ticket #MetGala in a Brother Vellies gown blaring "Tax the Rich" is a complicated proposition.” AOC’s "clapback" came on Twitter on Sept. 14 simply stating, “The medium is the message.”

With the ticket alone costing $35,000, and the top celebrities in attendance making well over the average American income, this dress was really a slap in the face. Not only was the slogan itself distasteful, but the dress itself was tacky. The outdated mermaid style prom dress with the gaudy material on the footing already threw me off before I could even interpret the allocated message.

As I read about the dress and the designer some information caught my eye about her designer Aurora James. I found that her designer owes over $100,000 in back taxes, as well as having many unpaid interns. As knowledge like this keeps coming up in headlines, the more frowned upon AOC’s gown is to the general public. This information made me dislike the dress even more, and attributed to the hypocrisy the message relayed.

AOC has been the face of the Democratic Party for a while now as she relates more to Gen-Z and Millennials. As many people look up to her for her success and future plans, this stunt put a bad taste in a lot of her supporters' mouths. Could this affect her possible 2024 election nomination? A simple but yet hypocritical message could have taken this opportunity away from her.