Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proves that women can be interested in politics and skincare

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Moya Crockett
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The youngest woman in the US Congress just shared her beauty regime on Instagram – because why not? 

Ever since she beat her establishment Democrat opponent in a primary election in June 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has shown that she’s not afraid to shake things up. At 29, the progressive politician from the Bronx is the youngest woman ever to serve in the US Congress, and has boldly called for new policies including free universal healthcare, guaranteed family leave for parents and a radical approach to climate change.

Why has Ocasio-Cortez become such a political superstar in such a short space of time? It’s largely down to her principled, empathetic policies, of course, which seem appealing in the age of Trump’s self-motivated dishonesty (the man is still denying climate change, for crying out loud). But it’s also because she doesn’t seem to care much about what her opponents think of her.

When Republicans sneered at a viral video of her dancing at university, she made them the butt of the joke. When a male politician dismissed her as “this girl… or whatever she is”, she shot back. And she sees absolutely no contradiction in being a dedicated politician who’s also interested in beauty, revealing in June that her signature statement red lip is Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in ‘Beso’. In a world where women politicians are expected to avoid overt femininity and always, always be ‘likeable’ (that hard-to-define quality rarely possessed by successful male politicians), Ocasio-Cortez only seems interested in being herself. 

For anyone still doubting that intelligent, political women can also have a passion for beauty, Ocasio-Cortez revealed her skincare regime this week. In response to a question from one of her Instagram followers about how she treats her skin, the congresswoman posted a lengthy Instagram story.

“Skincare is a straight-up hobby of mine,” she wrote. “I’m a science nerd and I truly enjoy the science of it, reading about compounds and studies, etc.”

As far as her daily routine goes, Ocasio-Cortez said she begins by double-cleansing with a balm or oil to remove make-up, before turning to a traditional face wash.

She then tones and layers on serums containing ingredients such as vitamin C and retinol. Finally, she applies a moisturiser tailored to her skin and sunscreen.  

Ocasio-Cortez described her approach as “a blend between K-beauty and scientific consensus,” noting that she was trying to cut down on dairy, which can sometimes prompt acne flare-ups.

“I do indulge [in skin care] a little since I don’t buy a lot of make-up beyond my staples,” she said, adding: “I straight-up don’t wear make-up some days and everyone just has to deal with it.”

It’s not hard to imagine another female politician being pilloried and dismissed as an airhead for discussing her skincare regime in such detail. Many people still believe that women’s interest in make-up and skincare is inherently frivolous and silly – a gendered take that conveniently ignores the ultimate meaninglessness of many traditionally male passions, such as video games and sports.

But Ocasio-Cortez shows that you can’t shame a woman for her femininity, or a love of skincare, if she refuses to behave as though it’s something to be ashamed of. Smart, political women can wear red lipstick. Smart, political women can be obsessed with vitamin C serums. Case – blessedly – closed.

Images: Getty Images