Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ad-libbed her powerful speech about misogyny in the workplace 1 week ago

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ad-libbed her powerful speech about misogyny in the workplace

"It flowed because every single one of us has lived this silent script."

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said that she ad-libbed her viral speech about misogyny in the workplace.

The US Representative took to the House floor last week to address the criticism and abuse that women are often faced with in male dominated workspaces, following reports that fellow Representative Ted Yoho had called her a "fucking bitch."

"I do not need Rep. Yoho to apologise to me," she said at the time. "Clearly, he does not want to.

"Clearly, when given the opportunity, he will not, and I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse."

Ocasio-Cortez told the House that she took issue with the wives and daughters of men being used "as shields and excuses for poor behaviour."

"Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters," she said. "I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho's youngest daughter. I am someone's daughter too.

"My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho's disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television.

"And I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men."

Ocasio-Cortez's speech soon went viral, with many applauding her for addressing the misogyny that women, even those in high power positions, still experience in the workplace and the consistent abuses of power that still dominate the political sphere.

"Many have asked me if my speech was pre-written. The answer is no," she wrote on Instagram, next to a photo of a series of vague notes she had made beforehand.

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I want to thank everyone for your immense outpouring of personal stories and support for one another after last week’s speech on the violence of misogyny and abuse of power in the workplace. I figured I’d share some behind-the-scenes details of what went into that moment. . Many have asked me if my speech was pre-written. The answer is no. But in some ways, yes. Yes because this speech was a recounting of thoughts that so many women and femme people have carried since the time we were children. It flowed because every single one of us has lived this silent script: stay silent (why?), keep your head down (for whom?), suck it up (to whose benefit?). But my chosen words were largely extemporaneous. I got to the House floor about ten minutes before my speech and scribbled down some quick notes after reflecting on what had transpired over the last few days. Pictured here are all the notes I had, and from there I improvised my composition and spoke live. . The evening before my speech, I did not know what I was going to say. I wrestled with this question: what is there to say to a man who isn’t listening? I couldn’t come up with much, because frankly I didn’t want to diminish myself or waste my breath. It was then that I decided if I couldn’t get through to him, perhaps I could speak directly to the culture, people, and institutions responsible for creating and protecting this violence and violent language. . I also reflected on MY role in all of this - to me, this speech was about holding myself accountable as much as anyone else. Because my first instinct was to let it go. It was my second instinct, too. It was only when sisters like @ayannapressley, @rashidatlaib, @repilhan and friends like @repraskin reminded me how unacceptable this all was that I started to think about what I would have done if this abuse happened to any other person BUT me. That is when I found my voice. Why is it okay to swallow our own abuse, yet stand up for others? I needed to learn that by standing up for ourselves, we break the chain of abuse and stand up for every person after us who would have been subject to more of the same with lack of accountability. . So rise.

A post shared by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@aoc) on

"But in some ways, yes. Yes because this speech was a recounting of thoughts that so many women and femme people have carried since the time we were children.

"It flowed because every single one of us has lived this silent script: stay silent (why?), keep your head down (for whom?), suck it up (to whose benefit?)."

Ocasio-Cortez said that the evening before, she didn't know what she was going to say to Yoho. "What is there to say to a man who isn't listening?" she asked.

"I couldn’t come up with much, because frankly I didn’t want to diminish myself or waste my breath," she said.

"It was then that I decided if I couldn’t get through to this him, perhaps I could speak directly to the culture, people, and institutions responsible for creating and protecting this violence and violent language."

You can watch Ocasio-Cortez's speech in full here: