News & Politics

AOC: 'Patriarchy Has No Gender'

AOC: 'Patriarchy Has No Gender'
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks at the final event for the Road to the Green New Deal Tour at Howard University in Washington, Monday, May 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

On Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) declared, “Patriarchy has no gender.” This statement, absurd on its face, makes some sense in the right context. However, Ocasio-Cortez was accusing President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway of sexism over her use of the term “catfight.”

Conway had mocked the dispute between Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Ocasio-Cortez and three other freshman Democratic lawmakers disagreed with Pelosi over a border spending bill, and the spat between Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi continues to heat up.

Conway mocked that this spat was a “major meow moment” and a “huge catfight.”

“‘Catfight’ is the sexist term Republicans use when two adult women happen to disagree with each other,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “The reason they find it so novel &exciting is bc the GOP haven’t elected enough women themselves to see that it can, in fact, be a normal occurrence in a functioning democracy.”

Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe shot back, “Yes, Kellyanne is sexist towards women. That makes total sense.”

At this point, Ocasio-Cortez made the ridiculous statement. “Just when you think all hope is lost, we get a Fox News contributor to realize that patriarchy has no gender,” she tweeted, sharing Boothe’s tweet.

“Patriarchy by definition is gender based,” Boothe shot back.

Technically, patriarchy involves the rule of fathers and the legal dependence of wives upon them. This is not the current situation in America. Since patriarchy is a social organization, the claim that gender is a social construct not necessarily connected to biology does not enable feminists to claim that patriarchy has nothing to do with socially-constructed gender.

Ocasio-Cortez was using the word broadly, referring to sexism in general rather than the social organization where fathers have total control. She later explained, “Being a woman does not mean you’re immune from being bad to women or genderqueer people. Just like being a man doesn’t mean you don’t have a role in the movement for gender equity! We are all in this together.”

The congresswoman is correct that being a woman does not prevent a woman from being prejudiced against women, but her description of this as “patriarchy has no gender” is absurd on its face.

Conway’s description of the Pelosi-AOC feud as a “catfight” may be insulting. It may even be borderline sexist. But it does not prove the nonsense claim that “patriarchy has no gender.”

An aside: In an instance some have described as racist, Ocasio-Cortez defended Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) nicknaming Conway “distraction Becky.”

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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