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The Branding of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – By Any Means Necessary [Addendum]

February 15, 2019

 

By Cory Morningstar

 

[ADDENDUM to Volume I, ACT V: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature]

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent series has been written in two volumes.

[Volume I: ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI]

[Volume II: An Object Lesson In SpectacleACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT V] [ACTS VI & VII forthcoming]

 

 

 

Marketing to a key “femographic”, the Green New Deal is both literally and figuratively in Vogue.

The following Teen Vogue makeup tutorial slash Ocasio-Cortez promotional video can only be understood through the lens of today’s incredible infatuation with superficial self-improvement. The makeup tutorial, now a new industry in itself, has been made popular (bordering on obsessive) with teenagers/youth by mainstream pop idols and celebrities, such as Western culture icons Kylie Jenner and music artist Rihanna.

The tutorials further enrich the multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry. [Fortune, July 11, 2018: “How 20-Year-Old Kylie Jenner Built A $900 Million Fortune In Less Than 3 Years”] Rihanna’s net worth in 2018 was a reported 210 million USD having launched her cosmetic line Fenty Beauty with Kendo in 2017. Kendo is a subsidiary of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group. The unprecedented covetousness for cosmetics lauded by celebrity, is also a reflection of unobtainable beauty expectations being marketed to young women.

“According to the report, global cosmetic products market was valued at around USD 532 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach approximately USD 863 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 7% between 2018 and 2024… In the U.S, growing Hispanic population is propelling demand for luxurious personal care brands and will escalate during the forecast years.” — Zion Market Research, June 22, 2018

The following statistic taken from the Ocasio-Cortez campaign team (written by Data for Progress, author of “The Future  of the Party” policy report commissioned by the Justice Democrats) reveals how segments of the Ocasio-Cortez Latinx volunteer base could be effectively exploited to further her popularity with the aforementioned constituency:

“In particular, Latinx voters are especially concerned about global warming compared to non-Latinx voters—78 percent to 56 percent—and think it should be a priority of Congress–70 percent compared to 52 percent. 45 Across the board, Latinx voters appear to take the issue and the response to global warming more seriously.” — Data for Progress, A Green New Deal policy report, September, 2018 [p. 24]

Although media is quick to hype Rihanna’s vast combined fortune, few references are made to the fact she is a minority shareholder in her company. Hence, the astronomical profits (the brand grossed $72 million USD in its first month) go to those who own the majority of her company. By marketing black power and feminism, those that garner the vast amount of wealth garnered by Rihanna are Anglo billionaire men at the top of the pyramid.

Further, although Ocasio-Cortez is presented as the celebrity Latina superstar in the political domain, she too, is placed there, only to serve capital belonging to the power elite. With a documentary film that recounts Ocasio-Cortez’s meteoric rise to stardom having just been purchased by Netflix for a cool ten million, we can expect cosmetic endorsements and cosmetic lines in the not-so-distant future. [February 7, 2019: ” Netflix just bought a film about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It might be the most ever paid for a Sundance documentary.”] In this day and age becoming a brand for corporate merchandise is no longer the death of cool – rather, it is the epitome of cool. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that in the near future one’s bid for presidency may have more to do with who has the best makeover tutorials on social media than anything to do with housing, healthcare, education or the environment.

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MSN, February 7, 2019: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared her skincare routine on social media. Sit with four young Latinx campaign volunteers from her congressional district in the Bronx and Queens as they try her detailed instructions and talk about AOC’s impact in their lives.” [Teen Vogue]

Video: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Campaign Volunteers Try Her Skincare and Beauty Routine | Teen Vogue [5m:48s]:

 

[Further reading: Barclays: Gen Z: Step aside Millennials, November 8, 2018]

 

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

 

2 Comments

  • Richard S on Jun 12, 2019

    How does Bernard Arnault, the Frenchman who has done a deal with Rihanna and is supposedly Europe’s richest man, segue into “Anglo billionaire men at the top of the pyramid” taking most of the money from this deal?

    • Wrong Kind of Green on Jul 01, 2019

      Arnault is the typical Western industrial capitalist that has been at the top of the global hierarchy for centuries now. In this particular instance, whatever amount of celebrity Rihanna may possess and the amount of income she has been able to generate from celebrity pales in comparison to that of the ones who actually own “the means of production”. Hence, Rihanna owns no factories, no distribution centers, no mass media institutions or any of the other resources which are utilized to sell commercial products such as this. Ultimately, Rihanna is just an employee. As she is a minority shareholder in the company, the amount Rihanna is allowed to own is a mere pittance and could be acquired or lost with the amount of popularity she has at any given time, which will more than likely wane as she gets older as is done with any celebrity, especially a female one in this patriarchal and misogynist system. Although we will admit that Rihanna is a highly paid employee, she is still an employee nonetheless.

      So, WKOG stands by our characterization as we have hundreds of years of history to back up or claim as to how celebrity money has no power in comparison to institutional, generational wealth, which is based upon ownership in a capitalist system.

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