‘Women tend to be made responsible for every man in the room. I am not.’
You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, especially in recent months. The US Democratic politician was made Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district in January this year but the millennial is nothing like her predecessors.
The activist known best by her initials, AOC, wears Zara, serves up razor-sharp comebacks and until recently worked in a bar while launching her campaign. Oh and did we mention that she’s 29 years old?
Yes, AOC is one huge breath of fresh air, and with a political system in desperate need of a shake up – she couldn’t have come at a better time.
It’s no wonder that she is the main focus of new Netflix documentary, Knock Down The House.
The documentary, directed by Rachel Lears, reports on 2018’s surge in female political candidates with a record 529 women running for congress. The film follows the campaigns of just four candidates, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Amy Vilela (Nevada), Cori Bush (Missouri) and Paula Jean Swearengin (West Virginia).
While coming from different backgrounds, they all have only their communities in mind, having personal reasons behind running, from Paula Jean Swearengin's first hand experience of the environmental effects of the fossil fuel industry and Cori Bush's witnessing of police brutality against unarmed black men, to Amy Vilela's daughter's death opening her eyes to the broken healthcare system.
All four campaigns were uphill battles, challenging current Democrats for their Congressional seats, and while they weren't all successful, they were all inspirational.
Here were some of the most empowering quotes...
1. ‘For one of us to make it through, 100 of us have to try.’ AOC to Amy Vilela
2. 'The person I’m running against is complacent, but I’m not.' Cori Bush
3. ‘Nobody owns you yet. You don’t owe anybody anything yet. So, run.’ Rev. Darryl Gray to AOC
4. ‘Women tend to be made responsible for every man in the room. I am not.’ AOC
5. 'It’s time for ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Let’s raise some hell and take our lives back.' Paula Jean Swearengin
6. 'I am experienced enough to do this. I am knowledgeable enough to do this. I am prepared enough to do this. I am mature enough to do this. I am brave enough to do this.' AOC
7. 'Each and every one of us, we have a place at the table.' Amy Vilela
8. 'We have to have the courage to say, we can do better'' AOC
9. 'Being a woman of colour, our image is really scrutinised. You have to speak like this, you have to dress like this, I decided that ‘Yea, I don’t care.’ Basically, you deal with it.' Cori Bush
10. 'The fundamental question, in the beginning, is, "Why you?" The reason why was cause nobody else would. So literally anybody could, right? Because the alternative is no one.' AOC
11. 'We're coming out of the belly of the beast kicking and screaming.' Paula Jean Swearengin
Knock Down The House is available on Netflix.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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