People on Capitol Hill keep mistaking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for a spouse or an intern, and it’s not okay

It’s been a mere 10 days since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but she’s already had to defend herself from ignorant trolls. Her political opponents have consistently mocked her for her working-class background, shamed her for not being able to afford rent in Washington, D.C., and criticized her clothes. On top of all this, the 29-year-old politician has even had people assume that she doesn’t belong in Congress.

In a November 14th tweet, Ocasio-Cortez wrote that people on the Hill “keep giving me directions to the spouse and intern events instead of the ones for members of Congress.” She added a facepalm emoji to her tweet.

But perhaps even more frustrating was the fact that some Twitter users reacted to her experience with skepticism. One user responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet by claiming that a congressman told him there were no intern events scheduled for that day. He even called her a #liar. false

But Ocasio-Cortez was not here for it, promptly backing up her claim—and writing, “Next time try believing women + people of color when they talk about their experiences being a woman or person of color.”

Other congresswomen of color have since come forward and said that they, too, have experienced the same prejudice that Ocasio-Cortez encountered. New York Representative Grace Meng tweeted that people still assume she doesn’t belong in Congress—and CBS News notes that she is the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Ocasio-Cortez’s experience—and the reaction to it—highlights the power imbalance still extremely present in our government. Although CNN reports that a record number of women were elected to the House in the 2018 midterms, women still make up less than a quarter of Congress. And while this year was also a huge year for women of color, Congress remains overwhelmingly white.

Hopefully, as more kickass women like Ocasio-Cortez get elected, this kind of prejudice will become a thing of the past.

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