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Social Justice Takes the Stage: Feminist Recap of the 2021 Met Gala

The 2021 Met Gala took place Monday evening, showcasing several attendees who used their time on the red carpet to advocate for social justice issues.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) was joined by fellow New York Congresswoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in using the Met Gala’s theme of “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” to make political statements through their fashion choices.

Rep. Ocasio Cortez wore a white gown with the slogan “Tax the Rich” plastered on the back in large red letters. The dress was designed by Canadian designer Aurora James.

“It’s really about having a real conversation about fairness and equity in our system,” Rep. Ocasio Cortez said in an interview on the red carpet. “I think that this conversation is particularly relevant as we debate the budget reconciliation bill. We’re talking about providing working families with child care, health care, meeting the climate crisis at the scale that it deserves.”

Rep. Maloney used the moment to honor the women’s suffrage movement in the United States and advocate for the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. Her white, gold, and purple dress used the colors of the women’s suffrage movement and featured flowing sashes with words “Equal Rights for Women” written on them. The green skirt of Rep. Maloney’s gown had the letters “ERA” written in bold capital letters, and she also carried a circular bag with the words “ERA YES.”

 Many stars took wore pieces to honor and advocate for LGBT+ issues. Nikkie de Jager, a transgender makeup artist on YouTube, wore a turquoise gown that featured a sash with the phrase “pay it no mind” to honor transgender activist and LGBT+ rights icon Marsha P. Johnson. Megan Rapinoe, a world-renowned American soccer player, wore a red, white, and blue suit while carrying a clutch with the words “In Gay We Trust.” Finally, actor and comedian Dan Levy wore a top that showcased two men kissing, writing on Instagram that the goal was “to celebrate queer love and visibility.”

Celebrities also used the Gala’s theme to speak on the Black experience in America. Writer and director Ava DuVernay wore a black gown with puffed sleeves, writing on Instagram, “my interpretation of the theme is to pay homage to ‘Black Excellence.’ It comes in many forms. From our everyday activities to our special moments. From our survival to our joy to everything in between.” In addition, rapper Saweetie wore a dress showcasing both the Black American heritage flag and the Filipino flag to represent her heritage. “That’s what makes me an American girl,” she said to E! News.

Several stars wore outfits from esteemed Black designers. Some of these attendees included Rep. Ocasio Cortez, Sha’Carri Richardson, Megan Rapinoe, and Keke Palmer, who wore outfits from designers Aurora James, Theophilio, and Sergio Hudson, respectively.

Unfortunately, there was a noticeable lack of Indigenous designers represented on the red carpet, despite this year’s theme being “In America.” However, Indigenous model Quannah Chasinghorse was praised as one of the most well-dressed attendees. She wore a long gold gown with traditional Navajo silver and turquoise jewelry.

Sources: Axios 9/14/21; AP 9/13/21; E! News 9/13/21; Popsugar 9/13/21; Pedestrian 9/14/21; The Guardian 9/13/21

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