Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Monday criticized the reaction she has received from many members of Congress and the media since her victory. Ocasio-Cortez compared her victory at only 28—making her the youngest woman ever elected to Congress—to that of soon-to-be former Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).
She tweeted about the types of double standards that run rampant in the workplace when it comes to men and women in positions of power. Her intelligence has been questioned and she’s been infantilized by her political opponents. Ryan was also 28 when he first went to Washington, but he was hailed as a wunderkind.
“Double standards are Paul Ryan being elected at 28 and immediately being given the benefit of his ill-considered policies considered genius,” she wrote. “And me winning a primary at 28 to immediately be treated with suspicion & scrutinized, down to my clothing, of being a fraud.”
Double standards are Paul Ryan being elected at 28 and immediately being given the benefit of his ill-considered policies considered genius; and me winning a primary at 28 to immediately be treated with suspicion & scrutinized, down to my clothing, of being a fraud. https://t.co/KipcyHaaAb— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 10, 2018
Indeed in 1998, Ryan was a fresh-faced CSPAN guest who was hailed as a rising star in the Republican party because of his policy bonafides, and not as a brash newcomer.
Ocasio-Cortez has received criticism for everything from her policies to her clothes in recent months. In November, a writer for the Washington Examiner tweeted a now-deleted photo of Ocasio-Cortez walking down a hallway in business attire. “Hill staffer sent me this pic of Ocasio-Cortez they took just now,” the caption read. “I’ll tell you something: that jacket and coat don’t look like a girl who struggles.”
The young congresswoman will see far more pointed criticism in the coming years, particularly if she continues to be an outspoken voice for change in American government. The mark that she will make on Congress is yet to be seen, but her unapologetic drive is already turning heads.