This week, for our Election Day episode, we’re talking about a woman who’s all but certain to win her race: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old from the Bronx who surprised everyone with her congressional primary victory back in June. How does she represent something new in American politics?
We spoke to some of the women who helped shape her campaign, from voters and door-knockers to the designer behind her posters and the filmmaker behind her viral video. And we also dug into some of the things that make her stand out as a candidate. For one thing: She’s a socialist. And for another: She’s beautiful. Here’s Stella Bugbee on beauty as a political tool:
STELLA: Who has historically used their own beauty? In a complicated and interesting way, to advance, let’s say, their social agenda? And I couldn’t find any female politicians, per se. I don’t really think that Sarah Palin counts.
MOLLY: Why not?
STELLA: I just don’t think she was in control. And I don’t think she had a legitimate social agenda to further with her good looks. Like, I think she just was a pawn. It was just in a larger situation. So then I thought, Yeah, well, JFK makes, like, a pretty good parallel, because he was obviously glamorous and he knew it, and he kind of leaned into his own glamour. He didn’t let it overshadow him — but it nearly overshadowed him, you know. But then I thought, Well, maybe it’s Gloria Steinem, who famously was a Playboy bunny — to expose the injustices, and further her cause of feminism. I think she’s an interesting character to look at, in terms of being very beautiful knowing that that was probably a way that she dealt with a lot of men who would have been otherwise unreceptive to the cause. And yet it didn’t define her. She used it as a tool in her arsenal.
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