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My View On ACO’s Floor Speech About Sexism

My View On ACO’s Floor Speech About Sexism

I urge you to watch this. There are women in this world that you watch and you think.. damn. That is a woman.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a woman that inspires me.

Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. Taking office at age 29. I wouldn’t say that prior to her life as a Congresswoman, her life was overly interesting. From what I’ve read, heard and seen – she’s always believed in supporting her family, working hard and doing what needs to be done.

When you watch her speech in which she uses the Congress floor to call out sexist behaviour by Rep. Ted Yoho.

This is the piece of the speech that stood out to me. I mean in all fairness that whole speech was articulate, well said and much needed but this is the bit that struck a cord. “I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over…using abusive language towards women, but what I do have issue with is using women — wives and daughters — as shields and excuses for poor behaviour.”

How many people have used their personal lives as a way of excusing their behaviour?

I reflected on this within my own life…I love my partner Jamie, he is a kind and generous man with a heart of gold. I don’t actually have a bad word to say about him (except about his love of sports!). However something struck me the other day…he is marrying me, I’m Indian, a person of colour yet I am the only person of colour in his life (other than the people that I bring into his life), everyone else he knows is white. Does that make him racist? Does it make him anti-racist? If someone challenged his views on racism, could he use me as a shield to defend his views. I know for a fact that Jamie is not racist and I have no fear of that but it’s a question I asked myself, especially because a few months ago, I was told that I shouldn’t complain about racism because my future husband was white. Does my marriage constitute my personal opinions or even the previous or future experiences that I have? It may seem a little odd that I am bringing race into a discussion around sexism… it’s not a comparative point but more an observation about how we as humans can look to use our personal lives or those of others as a shield.

What I took from AOC’s speech is that we’re quite happy to allow excuses to cover up key and salient points. However, our personal lives aren’t an excuse for poor behaviour to the outward world. You can’t be a good person in your home and then act like a completely different person the moment you leave it. The hypocrisy in that is unacceptable.

Then finally this: “Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter too,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Now, what I am here to say is that this harm that Mr. Yoho levied, tried to levy against me, was not just an incident directed at me, but when you do that to any woman, what Mr. Yoho did was give permission to other men to do that to his daughters.

The point here is huge. By acting in a particular way, you give permission for others to do the same to the people you love.

Have a read of these two articles are well. They are really good discussions around the speech:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/28/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-eloquence-republican-abuse-

https://www.vox.com/2020/7/25/21337375/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-speech-misogyny-sexism-congress

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