New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, criticized Republican West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin after he failed to use her official title and referred to her as a "young lady" in an interview.
Writing on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez said Manchin's remarks are emblematic of the sexism she has faced as a member of Congress.
"In Washington, I usually know my questions of power are getting somewhere when the powerful stop referring to me as 'Congresswoman' and start referring to me as 'young lady' instead."
"Imagine if every time someone referred to someone as 'young lady' they were ask responded to by being addressed with their age and gender?"
"They'd be pretty upset if one responded with 'the old man,' right?"
"Why this kind of weird, patronizing behavior is so accepted is beyond me!"
Imagine if every time someone referred to someone as “young lady” they were ask responded to by being addressed wit… https://t.co/5bb7kyVI5k— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1631496947.0
Ocasio-Cortez never referred to Manchin by name, but she didn't have to.
Her comments referred to remarks Manchin made during an interview with CNN after he was asked to respond to criticisms from Ocasio-Cortez he is beholden to energy companies.
Ocasio-Cortez had accused Manchin of holding up passage of a $3.5 trillion spending bill Democrats are looking to pass this fall as part of an effort to codify President Joe Biden's economic agenda.
Manchin called Ocasio-Cortez's remarks "totally false."
Then he referred to her as "young lady" rather than "Congresswoman."
"Those type of superlatives, it's just awful. Continue to divide, divide, divide. I don't know the young lady that well."
"I met her one time, between sets here, but that's it. We have not had any conversations."
"She is just speculating and saying things because she wants to."
Many women concurred with Ocasio-Cortez and her assessment, saying they experienced similar patronizing behavior while at work.
@AOC I had an old coworker who habitually mispronounced my first name, I must have corrected him 100 times. Finally… https://t.co/28MUHEg3bt— Zbrosmom v. 2.0 (@Zbrosmom v. 2.0) 1631497666.0
@AOC I do this on a regular basis. Whenever a man calls me “Honey,” I respond by calling him “Cupcake.” If they… https://t.co/Pu1pO84KA6— Mojo Rising (@Mojo Rising) 1631497385.0
@AOC Had an old lawyer call me “honey” in the courtroom once. I referred back to him as “sweetie pie”. The look on… https://t.co/Vb4yTu7OQI— Paradox81 (@Paradox81) 1631554158.0
@AOC @Politidope Older women also get patronized & addressed as "young lady" - or "dear". It happens to me - and I'm in my 70s.— Margaret Nielsen, PhD (@Margaret Nielsen, PhD) 1631501483.0
@AOC @TomDuell Whenever I’ve heard that term in my long life, it was never intended as a kind phrase, it was always… https://t.co/gziTbbmJKW— Wendy Goodman (@Wendy Goodman) 1631512852.0
@AOC I was 30 y/o when a fellow we were negotiating with called me “little miss”. Our team walked out of the meetin… https://t.co/uU4PHxM2xB— Janine Hron (@Janine Hron) 1631501378.0
@AOC I find it very offensive and they know it and that’s why they say it. I’ve never once appreciated anyone addr… https://t.co/OPNJuH9lbO— It’s All Political (@It’s All Political) 1631580827.0
@AOC Agreed! During the 1970’s, I was called “little girl” by my boss back when I was in my 20’s at Sony Corp. We c… https://t.co/BQP9oOERAL— RadiantLyfe (@RadiantLyfe) 1631616103.0
@AOC When I worked at Starbucks in Boston, a customer called me ‘young lady’ and I responded by calling him ‘old ma… https://t.co/kvff7kjV43— del Campo (@del Campo) 1631596002.0
Ocasio-Cortez has been very open about her efforts to work in what she says is a profoundly sexist institution.
She made national headlines in July 2020 after she took to the House floor to enter into the Congressional record a sexist vulgarity said to her by Florida Republican Representative Ted Yoho.
At the time, she said:
"In front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote: 'A f'king bitch.'"
She went on to add incidents like the one she described "happen every day," and included a thinly-veiled criticism of former President Donald Trump, who was still in office at the time.
"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 to hurting women and using this language against all of us."
Representative Yoho denied saying the slur.