WATCH: AOC Speaks Up Against Misogyny In Congress And America

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Jul. 24 2020, Published 2:47 p.m. ET

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There are 101 women in the current U.S. House of Representatives or about 24% of the total number of representatives.

One of those women, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known by her initials AOC, is the youngest to serve in the United States Congress. Earlier this week, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez came forward publicly to denounce the sexist remarks she claims were directed to her by Representative Ted Yoho of Minnesota.

Her powerful speech on the House floor, which aired on C-Span, went viral. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) later tweeted about the incident.

“I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday. Believe it or not, I usually get along fine with my GOP colleagues. We know how to check our legislative sparring at the committee door. But hey, “b*tches” get stuff done.”

Yoho’s Attempt At An Apology Falls Flat

After being called a “f*cking bitch” by Rep. Yoho, AOC took the podium at the Capitol for her hour of allotted time to address a “question of personal privilege” – this incident of abuse by Republican Representative Ted Yoho.

The Republican congressman gave an “apology” that revealed no remorse or fault. “I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York,” Yoho began.

“The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were constructed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding… I cannot apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family, and my country.”

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AOC Accepts That Apologies Won’t Come

AOC responded to Yoho at the podium on July 23, 2020.  Her eloquent and thoughtful response addressed the incident, the attitude behind the abuse, and the need for change.

Toward the end of her speech, AOC said, “And I do not need representative Yoho to apologize to me. Clearly, he does not want to. Clearly, when given the opportunity he will not. And I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women. But what I do have issue with is using women, wives, and daughters as shields and excuses for poor behavior.”

Not Raised To Accept Abuse

It is not new to hear the defense of “oh but I have a wife, and daughters” from a man who inflicted harm on a woman. But it’s old and tired. As AOC further points out:

“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. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter,” she shares.

“My mother got to see Mr. Yoho’s disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television and I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.”

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“My mother got to see Mr. Yoho’s disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television and I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.”

A Mixed Response

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Responses across both media and social media has been mixed. Folks in the conservative ring are adding to the name-calling and outright condemnation of AOC’s willingness to speak up against a mindset that harms women across the world.

Many of the male-dominated media outlets haven’t helped, either. Words like “fiery” and worse, “disruptive” have been thrown onto AOC’s speech, reinforcing the sexist, racist mentality that perpetuates this very abuse.

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This rancid tweet from @TheFlyLawyer316 sums up these bigoted thoughts from many of the far-Right: “@AOC needs to toughen up or get out of office. She has played as significant a role in the divisiveness of this Country as just about any Politician. She is a hypocrite and her patent disdain for the Country she is meant to represent is accepted because the idea is ‘on trend’.”

Where Gratitude Belongs

AOC thanked Rep. Yoho: “Lastly, what I want to express to Mr. Yoho is gratitude. I want to thank him for showing the world that you can be a powerful man and accost women…You can take photos and project an image to the world of being a family man and accost women without remorse and with a sense of impunity. It happens every day in this country. It happened here on the steps of our nation’s Capitol. It happens when individuals who hold the highest office in this land admit, admit to hurting women, and using this language against all of us.”

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We contend, however, that gratitude is not owed to our abusers for showing the world anything. Instead, we want to thank Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for standing up, as she has done so consistently, to speak out against the wrongs being done to marginalized people.

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By: Rita Pike

Rita Juanita Pike is the granddaughter of Jerrie Mock, the first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theater, podcasting, and novel writing. She now writes about travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves a very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

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