Mike Pence accused of 'disgraceful misogyny' for 'disrespectful' comment about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Friday 09 October 2020 10:00
news
(Getty/indy)

Nicknames are cute and fun and fresh, right?

Sort of. Maybe.

It seems Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not really here for political opponents using the "AOC" moniker when they're referring to her – and it's easy to see why.

During the vice presidential debate on Wednesday, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris began discussing their respective plans to tackle the climate emergency.

Pence attacked Harris on the basis that the Biden administration would implement strong measures such as banning fracking and "abolishing fossil fuels" – two policies which are not referenced in Biden's climate plan, and which he and Harris have been clear on numerous times after Trump's repeated claims to the contrary.

The issue around banning fracking stems from the Green New Deal, a proposed package of legislation which has been backed by progressive Democrats as a way to combat climate change. While Biden and Harris have embraced elements of the proposal, banning fracking is not on their list, although Harris did support it when she was running for the presidential nomination.

Pence sought to point out that Harris has in the past expressed support of the Green New Deal, although he conveniently forgot to mention that she abstained from voting on it in the Senate.

He claimed that the Biden climate plan is: "Essentially the same plan as you co-sponsored with AOC when [Harris] submitted it in the Senate."

Ocasio-Cortez had thoughts.

The first being that fracking is actually quite bad. She then went on to call out the vice president for the way in which he referred to her.

Lots of people agreed that the use of her nickname suggested (perhaps subconscious) disrespect for the New York representative, who was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress when she won in 2018.

Despite the widespread support, there were of course detractors. Namely those who responded saying they would call her "bartender" in reference to her former profession, which prompted allegations of classism.

Republican Texas senator and former presidential hopeful Ted Cruz then weighed in with a bizarre take of his own, suggesting the vice-president would never refer to a colleague in such a way because they are all on a first-name basis and that Ocasio-Cortez's suggestion was "just silly".

While this may be true in casual settings (we couldn't possibly comment), a debate seems like a pretty formal context, and Pence repeatedly referred to Kamala as "senator", while she addressed him as "vice president". While you could debate whether this is a display of respect or pomposity, it does seem that when it comes to Ocasio-Cortez, there was something of a double standard.

It's yet another reminder that privileged straight white men could always do with a lesson in not letting subconscious bias impact the way they speak about women.

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