Let’s Celebrate Representation Without Putting Politicians on a Pedestal

Seeing ourselves reflected is important, but there’s more work to be done

Nicole Froio
ZORA
Published in
5 min readNov 16, 2020

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing a face mask.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) looks out towards a crowd during a food distribution event on October 27, 2020 in New York City. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks out against those who have insulted her or underestimated her, my heart flutters and I feel less alone in the world as a Latina woman. Her unwavering capability to call out what’s wrong and argue for what’s right — however unpopular her peers deem her ideas to be — is an inspiration to me. Her response to Rep. Ted Yoho calling her a “fucking bitch” gave me goosebumps because I am often insulted in a similar way, and rarely have the strength or the space to respond the way she did. But despite the fact her incredible presence in American politics keeps tugging at my heartstrings, I am careful not to put Ocasio-Cortez on a pedestal of representation, especially during a time where political parties are all too aware of the PR power of outward-facing diversity and inclusion.

In the current political and cultural landscape, there are many examples of co-optations of identity politics, a framework that was initially developed by the Black feminist Combahee River Collective and explicitly rejects “pedestals, queenhood, and walking 10 paces behind,” and demands Black women be “recognized as human, levelly human.” In many ways, this original…

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Nicole Froio
ZORA
Writer for

Columnist, reporter, researcher, feminist. Views my own. #Latina. Tip jar: paypal.me/NHernandezFroio