#WCW: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, made Twitch history with her Among Us livestream on Oct. 20. The stream accumulated nearly half a million viewers, and it has now been watched by over 2 million people, making it one of the most popular streams on Twitch. She went live with some well-known gamers and fellow congresswoman Ilhan Omar to encourage Americans to vote in the upcoming Presidential Election. Because the hit video game Among Us relies on players voting to decide who among them is an imposter, it was the perfect way to prove the importance of voting. Ocasio-Cortez began the stream by encouraging viewers to make a voting plan, whether it be using mail-in ballots or voting in person. According to Time, the stream was the leading source of traffic to IWillVote.com, bringing thousands of young people to the site to make their voting plan come to life.

Ocasio-Cortez was sworn into the House of Representatives in 2019, becoming the youngest woman elected in Congress at the age of 29. Her win is also noteworthy because she beat the democratic incumbent Joe Crowley who had been a representative for 10 years. Her presence in Congress is significant because elected officials have predominantly been white men, but Ocasio-Cortez is a woman of Puerto Rican descent. 

The Bronx-born congresswoman is more commonly known by her initials, AOC, but she says that nickname is only reserved for the community, not her colleagues. She recently tweeted that the name AOC was given to her by the people; however, she believes “government colleagues referring to each other in a public or professional context...should refer to their peers as ‘Congresswoman,’ ‘Representative,’ etc.” In her tweet, she calls it “basic respect 101.”

According to another one of AOC’s tweets, women in Congress are often disrespected by their Republican colleagues. Her tweet reads:

 

“I wonder if Republicans understand how much they advertise their disrespect of women in debates when they consistently call women members of Congress by nicknames or first names while using titles & last names when referring to men of [equal] stature. Women notice. It conveys a lot.”

 

AOC is best known for her progressive politics and for being outspoken about women’s rights. According to her website, she hopes to grant women equal pay, equal access to professional opportunities, paid family leave, and affordable childcare. Additionally, AOC believes in reproductive freedom for both cisgender and transgender individuals, including access to birth control, legal abortions, and affordable healthcare. She recognizes that women, specifically women of color, women with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ women, are still marginalized by society and the government, so her goal is to break down those systems of oppression.

Recently, after being accosted on the steps of the Capitol building by Representative Ted Yoho of Florida, AOC made an impromptu speech regarding the misogyny and violence women continue to face. According to CNN, Yoho called Ocasio-Cortez a “b****” and said she was “disgusting.” AOC’s response not only held her colleague accountable for his actions, but also condemned society’s tolerance for violence against women.

“This issue is not about one incident,” AOC said in her speech on the House floor. “It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting of violence and violent language against women, and an entire structure of power that supports that.”

She also noted that men having mothers, wives, and daughters does not excuse them of using violent, demeaning language toward women. She said:

 

“Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter...I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.”

 

AOC is not only a feminist icon to young women of color, encouraging them to use their voice and stand strong against misogyny and racism. She is also an ally to working class families because she came from one. After her father died, she worked multiple low-wage jobs including waitressing and bartending to support her family. She grew up understanding the value of hard work and education and earned a degree in economics and international relations from Boston University. Now, her platform is used to advocate for working class families, which is why she supports raising the minimum wage to a livable wage.

In addition, she uses her position in Congress to combat climate change using her Green New Deal. The proposal aims to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and provide economic opportunities for working families and communities of color. According to The New York Times, the resolution will create high-paying jobs for communities that depend on fossil fuel industries, and it will “pay for itself through economic growth.” The Green New Deal is currently one of the only proposals taking action against climate change, which has put pressure on the Republican Party to come up with their own version.

Whether she’s taking the House floor or livestreaming a popular video game, AOC is one of the most well-known political figures today. She has over 9.3 million Twitter followers and 7.3 million Instagram followers. To learn more about AOC, check out her documentary Knock Down The House on Netflix.