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A Brief History Of Political Gestures At the Met Gala

The Biggest Fashion Event On the Planet Has Also Seen A Variety Of Political Gestures Throughout Its History.

Amanda Gorman and Lena Waithe

In order to recall American culture, we were able to see inspirations from authentic icons of American culture. Photos: IG-amandascgorman, IG-lenawaithe

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: Breve historia de los gestos políticos en la Met Gala

The MET Gala of 2021 is the fashion event of the year. Unlike other editions, where it occurred on the first Monday in May, this time it was held on September 13, due to the pandemic. In charge of the fashion agenda of Anna Wintour, director of the prestigious Vogue magazine, the objective of this celebration is to raise funds for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

This year's motto was based on the country's own culture. "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" was the motto, that is, it seeks to celebrate North American fashion on the 75th anniversary of the Institute of Costume, with the aim of analyzing the aesthetic and stylistic identity of Americans. In addition, this celebration will have a second part next year.

However, in the current edition, we could already see some disruptive looks. In order to recall American culture, we were able to see inspirations from authentic icons of American culture. For example, the famous Statue of Liberty, the Matrix film franchise or technological innovation with robots.

It is important to consider that this is a true elite event, so that the main figures of the planet show off their glamor in the room. For example, among others, Billie Eilish, Timothée Chamalet, Naomi Osaka, Amanda Gorman, Camila Cabello, Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Frank Ocean or Maisie Williams appeared.

Therefore, the fact that there is a presence of upper-class celebrities at an elitist event also attracts the public's attention… and that is why politics was also present. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most popular congresswomen from the Democratic Party in recent times, decided to send a strong message against big fortunes.

In her first time at this gala, the 31-year-old politician appeared in a white dress, which had a statement emblazoned on the back. With letters in red, the proposal was clear: “Tax the Rich”. In other words, she expressed her political position in relation to the possible increase in taxes on the richest in the United States.

When she spoke to reporters at the event, which was attended by many of Hollywood's wealthiest families, she revealed that she decided to wear that dress because America needs to have a "fair tax code." For this reason, in her social networks, AOC shared a photo of the gala saying that “the medium is the message”, since it is necessary to increase taxes on the rich to improve the health system, the environment and the well-being of children. It had a great impact. For example, on Instagram, the publication has almost 2 million likes.

It should be noted that it is not the first time that gestures with political intentions have been made within the event. For example, in the 2018 edition, the actress and activist Lena Waihte wore a cape with the LGTB flag at an event where the theme was Catholicism. In other words, it was a symbol that was interpreted as an attack against the Church.

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However, it can also happen the other way around. At the 2015 Met gala the theme was Chinese culture. Therefore, on social networks, complaints were made about "cultural appropriation", repetition of stereotypes and even some racial issues in some styles. Therefore, there the political message was given in reverse.

The fact that social criticism is introduced in an elite event can make problems visible and platform different points of view. However, this does not mean that they become real policies. These symbols go viral for a couple of days, but they won't always be channeled into government decisions.

It could be said this is functional for the system itself. Therefore, it is worth asking why in each gala a small space is provided to allow these appearances.

Let us remember that this event was divided into two parts. The continuation will open on May 5, 2022 (usual date of this event) and will close on September 5. The theme will be “In America: An Athology of Fashion”, where the history of fashion will be examined through race and gender. Hence, it is expected that there will also be political statements.