Is This Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wore All-White For Her Swearing In?

Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images.
On Thursday, congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was sworn into Congress as the youngest congresswoman ever. Let that sink in for a second. Alongside her, Democratic representative Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as the House Majority Leader, once again, and reclaimed her gavel as Speaker of The House. They join 89 female Democrats that make up the new and improved House of Representatives. Let that sink in, too.
Now, let's get to what Ocasio-Cortez wore: the Bronx native donned a white pantsuit in a not-so-subtle nod to suffragists before her — like Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress who wore white for her first day, and Geraldine Ferraro, who wore the suit during her presidential campaign (the first woman to do so), and, of course, Hillary Clinton. During her presidential run, Clinton wore the suit three times — most notably to President Donald Trump's inauguration.
History has it that, in 1908, the Women's Social and Political Union selected three colors to symbolize the women's suffragette movement: purple for dignity, green for hope, and white for purity. Women dressed in white became symbols for the activist movement themselves as they protested for the right to vote and it's largely due to modern figures like the aforementioned women, and now Ocasio-Cortez, that white is looked at as such a glaring visual message. Given the appropriate context, it's more than a color and it's more than a suit — it's over 100 years of women's history wrapped into a single #ootd.
Though Ocasio-Cortez's fashion choices have been unfairly scrutinized in the past, giving way to a more elaborate form of criticizing female politicians that involves calculating the cost of their outfits and putting the numbers up against their policies and rhetoric (see: "struggle-shaming"), this one deserves nothing but praise. A serve, indeed.
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