On Wednesday, a story from a conservative news outlet that shall not be named—nor linked to—attempted to manufacture outrage over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s hair salon bill: There was a reported $80 cut, $180 for lowlights, and pure speculation about a $52 tip, for a grand total of approximately $312. The (pretty deluded) message? How dare a democratic socialist—and someone in the public eye whose appearance very much matters, for better or for worse—get a haircut at market price for a major metropolis?
Other publications have subsequently seized on the invented “controversy,” even if no one seems truly mad about it except for conservative talking heads. On the contrary, much of the outrage online seems to be on AOC’s behalf—that harping on her haircut is gendered (recall Mitt Romney’s comparably priced $70 cut back in 2011, or John Edwards’s $1,250 hair bills in 2007). But leaping to AOC’s defense can feel pretty senseless when, in fact, no one is better at crafting the perfect response to hypocrisy and nonsense than AOC herself.
In today’s edition of AOC supremely owning Twitter, the New York congresswoman noted that if you’re mad about her $80 haircut, which, by the way, she paid for herself, you’re bound to hate vice president Mike Pence’s $600,000 limo bill from his official visit to Ireland last month, which, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Pence billed to taxpayers. You know, the same who should be offended by AOC’s hair-care regimen. Citing State Department contracts, CREW writes that Pence racked up the steep bill because, despite meetings in Dublin, the VP elected to drive four hours away in order to stay at—imagine a patented Coleen Rooney ellipsis here—President Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg.
So why is AOC’s private salon bill up for debate while Pence’s public limo tab flies under the radar? Because there are ceaseless attempts to warp her party affiliation and deploy it against her, including suggestions that she should get her hair cut only at the Capitol Hill barbershop. “40 million Americans live in poverty under today’s extreme inequality, yet the right-wing want you to blame Democratic socialism for their own moral failures,” she tweeted on Thursday.
But, let’s face it, even if AOC got a $20 Dumb and Dumber bowl cut, she’d still be a thorn in the collective conservative side because she is both effective and polished, a fact that only seems to make her feel more threatening to her critics. There is a continued focus on her appearance from Fox News and the like. In the past, her clothes were the “controversy,” from that from-behind photo taken without her consent and tweeted (and later deleted) by Washington Examiner columnist Ed Scarry, who quipped that AOC’s jacket and coat “don’t look like a girl who struggles” to the manufactured “outrage” over the borrowed $3,000 Gabriela Hearst suit she wore, fleetingly, for a photo shoot in Interview magazine. It’s almost as if people don’t think AOC deserves to dress, and look, the part of congresswoman.
Reliably, AOC had the sharpest reply to the latest wave of attention around her appearance. “Our policies, like Medicare for All, advance prosperity for working people,” she tweeted on Thursday of Democratic socialism. As for her critics: “They’re just mad we look good doing it.” Now that’s a hair flip.
Originally Appeared on Vogue