Why AOC’s ‘Tax The Rich’ Met Gala Dress Does Not Make Her A Hypocrite

She certainly got her message across!

aoc tax the rich dress aoc / Instagram

In the wake of horse dresses, dementor cosplays, and a lime green robot baby, the 2021 Met Gala saw a lot of extravagant, beautifully crafted, and downright strange outfits and costumes.

The one that might’ve garnered the most attention, however, was congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Met Gala dress — it reads ‘Tax The Rich’ across the back in big red letters.

Yet, still, criticisms towards AOC rolled in.


Why AOC’s ‘Tax The Rich’ Met Gala dress is not hypocritical.

When the US representative appeared at the Met Gala, which is widely known as a luxurious party full of the richest elites of society, people criticized her for rubbing elbows with the same people she’s sending the ‘tax the rich’ message to.

But that is exactly who needed to read it!


People are calling her hypocritical, tone deaf, performative — you name it. But what they’re really trying to say is that they don’t understand how sending a message works or what AOC does behind the scenes.


AOC is certainly not a performative activist. 

The well-known congresswoman has made waves over the years for her democratic socialist views — creating the Green New Deal, constantly advocating for workers rights, believing that tuition should be free and that Medicare should be for all.

The dress was designed by Aurora James, a Black immigrant woman who focuses on sustainability, and turned a lot of heads because, of course — it’s AOC.

As a New York government official, she was invited — along with other NY officials — to the Met Gala because of their “responsibilities in overseeing and supporting the city’s cultural institutions for the public.”

She reportedly did not pay the $33,000 price for a ticket — a price more expensive than the annual salary of more than 25% of U.S. households — in order to go to the charity event.


The Met Gala is the perfect place to lobby the rich. 

What better place to spread the message that we need to tax the rich than a gathering of some of the richest people in the country?

You don’t protest ‘tax the rich’ outside of a small family-owned business. No — you go to where they all gather and where paparazzi can take their photos and get people talking.

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With an ‘American’ theme to the Met Gala, what could possibly be more American than an insane tax gap that can be solved by a ‘tax the rich’ message?

Sometimes you have to play the game in order to win. 


People believe that her dress is tone deaf and that she isn’t really accomplishing anything by going to the Gala in a dress that says ‘Tax the Rich’.

To those people I ask, what would you rather have her do?


If she goes and doesn’t spread the message that is typical for her brand and agenda, everyone would be up in arms. If she declines the invitation, no one would talk about it at all.

Actually, AOC is not quite as rich as a lot of people would seem to think.

With a net worth estimated around $200,000, student loan debts that still need to be paid, and a congressional salary of $174,000 a year, she's not part of the "rich" she is referring to.

Though, if she was, I'm sure she wouldn't mind a tax raise. 

Just this year, she has cosponsored 4 essential bills that would increase taxes on billionaire estates, overpaid CEOs of corporations, and ultra-millionaires, as well as reduce the tax gap that largely exists because of underpayment from the 1% by restructuring the IRS and enforcing tax audits.


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After the Met Gala, President Biden hinted at taxing the rich. 

Joe Biden, whether as a result of AOC’s message or not, tweeted this morning that he would issue tax cuts to the middle class.

“I intend to pass one of the biggest middle class tax cuts ever,” he tweeted, “paid for by making those at the top pay their fair share.”

All press is good press, and since the Met Gala isn’t your typical political debate stage, that’s what makes it the perfect place to send a political message.


The people at home who are watching the Met Gala or even the teenagers who are following the coverage on Tik Tok — a lot of these people probably aren’t invested into politics and will look it up to get an understanding of it.

With the power of President Joe Biden behind her, this political move help AOC make more of an impact than it already has.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice and politics.