OPINION: The Controversy Over AOC’s “Tax the Rich” Dress


Zoe Long, Editor/Writer

The 2021 MET Gala took place a bit over two weeks ago on September 13. Many familiar faces came to the show such as Whoopi Goldberg, Timothee Chalamet, and Billie Eilish. Most outfits brought the normal argument over if it went with the theme or if the dress was universally liked or universally hated, except for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s dress. Cortez, or AOC, is a United States representative for New York who is incredibly vocal about her Democratic views. She chose to continue that pattern at the MET Gala in a dress that read “TAX THE RICH” in large red letters. There have been mixed opinions on this flying around ever since. 

When I think deeply about my opinion on this, a clear one doesn’t come to mind. Showing up to the MET Gala and wearing the dress did not seem “performative” to me as it may have to others, because she was invited as a public servant, not having to pay the large fee, and the dress was made by a POC artist. The message of the dress, one that I happen to agree with, lines up with earlier opinions she has voiced. My problem with all of this is that her opinions lining up with her actions is not always the case. For example: her vote on the Israel Iron Dome funding. Certain opinions of her seemed selectively picked so that the public will view her in a different way then they should, maybe even going as far as to idolizing her, which is not something one should do with any politician. 

My biggest takeaway from this is that AOC does and says a lot of things to the public because she sometimes misconstrues herself as a celebrity instead of a public servant. This dress was worn partially because she believes in the message, and partially because she likes to be in the public eye doing slightly controversial things that gain her support for ideals she will only preach and not practice.