Who Knew “A Girl Who Struggles” Is a Total Lewk?

Just another day in the life of women wearing clothes

Ishani Nath
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez laughs and has her eyes clothes and her hand raised to her face while sitting behind a desk on a TV set

(Photo: Getty Images)

Ladies, listen up. I know the latest trends have been all about teddy coats and boundless fury, but thanks to a sexist U.S. journalist, we now know this season’s ‘it’ look: “a girl who struggles.”

It’s all thanks to Washington Examiner reporter Eddie Scarry, who coined the fashion category on November 15, after being sent a creep shot of 29-year-old Wonder Woman politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s backside as she walked in the hall on Capitol Hill.

As the BBC noted, the picture is of the newly-elected representative for New York’s 14th district wearing clothes. Scarry then tweeted the photo with the caption: “Hill staffer sent me this pic of Ocasio-Cortez they took just now. I’ll tell you something: that jacket and coat don’t look like a girl who struggles.”

A Tweet from journalist Eddie Scarry of a photo of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez walking the halls in Congress wearing a black coat and holding another coat. The caption reads: Hill staffer sent me this pic of Ocasio-Cortez they took just now. I’ll tell you something: that jacket and coat don’t look like a girl who struggles.

(Photo: Twitter)

Scarry later deleted the tweet and posted that what he meant to say was that “the incoming congresswoman looked well put together—ELEGANT even—despite suggestions she’s struggled.”

The conservative reporter seems to have expected Ocasio-Cortez’s professional attire to more closely resemble a potato sack because of her comments about what it *actually* took for her to make it to Washington. Details like the fact that a year before she became the youngest women ever elected to Congress, Ocasio-Cortez was working as a bartender without health insurance. Or that she just bought her first couch at the beginning of November (treat yo’ self!). Or that she recently told The New York Times that until her salary kicks in as an official member of Congress, she has no income and paying her rent in Washington D.C. is a challenge.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Sure, she has broken new ground by speaking up about the realities faced by working-class people of colour—but we need to see that to believe it. I mean, anyone who isn’t secretly wealthy clearly cannot own a coat and jacket. It doesn’t matter if she saved up to buy these items, borrowed them or got them off the sale rack. Her ensemble basically proves that she has a hidden vault of gold that she rolls around in like that miser from Duck Tales. (Secret riches which, as The Cut notes, Republicans have been accusing her of having since the primaries.)

A GIF of the duck from Duck Tales diving into piles of riches

(Photo: GIPHY)

Seriously though, let’s not forget that it’s never enough for women to speak about our struggles—after all, our voices seem to often register outside of the frequency range that many men can hear. If you experience hardship, you better also look the part, and clearly, Ocasio-Cortez’s professional black jacket and coat is a total miss. I mean, how else are people supposed to know who has been historically favoured and who has been systematically oppressed?

So, what does “a girl who struggles” look like you ask? Well, as per usual, Twitter users shared their insights.

Oh, and let’s also take a moment to acknowledge the fact that in the same, now-deleted tweet, Scarry also made sure to accessorize his effortless undermining of a history-making politician by also referring to her as a “girl.”

While the hallways of Capitol Hill may be a way for men to get to and from their meetings, for women, they’re also apparently viewed as a runway. Whether it’s baring arms or wearing pants (a fashion pick that only became acceptable for women in the U.S. Senate in 1993), what women wear still prompts a lot of misguided discussion about who they are. And while Ocasio-Cortez ensemble wasn’t the statement piece that Scarry was expecting, the congresswoman elect spent her first day making strong statements of her own, joining a climate change protest outside of Nancy Pelosi’s office.

So no, Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t look “a girl who struggles.” She looks like a woman who deserves some damn respect.

Related: 

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The Future Is (Way More) Female After the U.S. Midterm Election
Everything Doug Ford Has Cancelled So Far—Including Rent Control in New Buildings

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