At just 28, the Democratic socialist will become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress if she goes on to win the general. But it’s not just her age or her working class background that makes the unconventional congressional candidate stand out — it's her entire mentality about the role, including something that seems as simple as makeup. The vibrant red she wears regularly is more than just a colour. It’s what the colour truly stands for, and what it could mean for the future of norms for women in politics, that matters.
On 17th June Ocasio-Cortez wore her signature red lipstick during a debate with Crowley, and when asked by her followers about the shade she wore, she unapologetically gave them the scoop on Twitter. “I have been getting many inquiries about my debate lip colour in the last two days. I GOT YOU,” she wrote. “It’s Stila ‘Stay All Day’ Liquid in Beso.”
With this one tweet, she represents what it means to be a woman in 2018. Yes, women can stand up and run for Congress on unique, progressive platforms and be comfortable and relatable enough to share their favourite lipstick with their social media followers. Or not wear lipstick at all — that's the whole point: The unspoken rules of running for office are outdated.
In politics, the “norm” for women has been to be minimalistic, conservative, and low-key when it comes to their appearance. Afraid to “distract,” many women have stuck with the basics and shied away from being themselves for too long. But Ocasio-Cortez is proving it doesn’t have to be that way. The colour red has roots in movements like the Suffragettes, and today, on the lips of a young woman who is making her mark in political history. And tomorrow? The possibilities are endless.