News & Politics

'Just Like Catcalling': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shuts Down Ben Shapiro's Pathetic Attempt to Get Her Attention

Her response was pitch-perfect.

Photo Credit: MSNBC

Conservative and notorious racist Ben Shapiro is apparently, like many right-wing commentators, obsessed with New York Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and so he decided this week to offer a $10,000 donation to her campaign in exchange for having a debate.

On Thursday night, Ocasio-Cortez shut down the gimmicky cry for attention with a simple — yet powerful — tweet.

"Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions," she said of the demands that she debate Shapiro. "And also like catcalling, for some reason they feel entitled to one."

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The brief comment exposed a lot about the reaction to Ocasio-Cortez's candidacy. Since she won her district primary race in a stunning upset, Ocasio-Cortez has drawn extensive criticism from the right — completely out of proportion to the attention paid to the hundreds of other congressional candidates across the country.

The tweet points out the gendered dimension of this attention. As a young woman candidate for national office, many people expect her to earn her place in a way that older, more established (and usually male) candidates are never expected to. There seems to be a misogynistic assumption that, because she's a woman, she needs to justify her candidacy in some special way — especially when it's a man who is making the demand.

And in Shapiro's case, there's also a blatant and shameless effort to leverage her fame and success to promote his own brand of irreverent and puerile conservatism.

But as the tweet makes clear, she's not interested.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.