Alright, it’s time to get a bit serious here. Bear with me because it’s about to get deep.
Now, I know what most of you are thinking just by reading the title — “Wait. Since when does she write about politics? Isn’t this blog supposed to be about empowering each other and spreading positivity?” In response to that, I’ll tell you right now that this is not a political post. This is not about democrats versus republicans and conservatives against progressives. No, this blog post is about what is right and what is wrong — what is acceptable and what is not.
Now that we have that disclaimer front and center, let’s jump into the question of the hour — should we all aspire to be more like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also referred to as AOC?
To put it simply, yes.
I’m sure most of us have heard about the despicable insults that Representative Ted Yoho (R) hurled at Representative AOC (D). If you haven’t, please allow me to explain the gist of what happened. Representative Ted Yoho put his finger in AOC’s face and called her a “fucking bitch” in front of reporters. I refuse to censor his comment here in this blog post because we need to see the harshness within these two words. He felt comfortable using these words in front of his fellow congressmen and in front of reporters, and this is not okay. Also, AOC didn’t get a warning that these harsh words would be hurled at her, so perhaps not giving you all a warning will help you understand even a small amount of what she might have felt when she heard those words — caught off guard, offended, upset — you name it.
In an inspirational and fiery speech, which you can view here, AOC stated that this situation is not new and that this language has been directed and tossed at her before she even became a congresswoman. She wasn’t going to address the incident initially, and I imagine this is because these words have become all too familiar to her and to most women. I’m sure almost every woman reading this has been called a sexist slur in their lifetime by a man, myself included. However, AOC decided that it was time to take a stand when Yoho made excuses for his comments on national television.
She recognized that being silent means that both his comment and his excuses for them are acceptable, and they are NOT. To all of the men reading this, know that you have a responsibility to not use words like this when talking to or referring to women. Additionally, you have a responsibility to call out your male friends when you hear them using this kind of language. To all of the women reading this, we have a responsibility to be just like AOC. It may be difficult, and it may seem a bit scary, but it is our responsibility to stand up for ourselves when harsh words are used against us. We also have a responsibility to stand up for other women who may be too afraid to say something and to not shame them for feeling afraid.
Your political views are irrelevant here. My political views are irrelevant. We all need to work together to make this world a better and safer place.
I thank Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for standing up for herself and setting a positive example for women like me who have faced this kind of sexist verbal abuse from both men who were strangers and from men who we were close to. Thank you for showing men around the world that this behavior is harmful and will not be tolerated. Thank you for standing up for billions of women around the world who may have never known the importance of speaking up until now. Thank you for showing the world what it means to be unapologetically outspoken.
“Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man.”