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AOC’s a True Millennial When It Comes to Marriage and Kids

The congresswoman’s mother wants her to wed her long-time partner, but marriage just isn’t all that for millennials

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been making waves since the newly appointed millennial congresswoman representing the 14th district of New York was sworn in, from her Green New Deal to her playing “bad guy” when calling out government corruption to her spot-on questioning of former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen to a video that caught her dancing barefoot in college. What are we to make of a feisty, smart, independent 29-year-old Latina? Well, we’re probably going to wonder about her romantic love life.

Enter AOC’s mother, Blanca, an Evangelical Christian, who must have asked by a reporter about her thoughts about her daughter’s marriage plans. As the Daily Mail tells us, “As a mother she hopes Alexandria will soon marry her longtime boyfriend, social media consultant Riley Roberts.”

Because of course all mothers of feisty, smart, independent women who have just been elected to Congress are hoping for the most important, accomplishment — marriage. As Blanca says of Roberts,

Bless Blanca’s heart; I don’t fault her for wanting her daughter to have a happy marriage as she may have had before she was widowed. Plus mothers are notoriously good at embarrassing their kids. I know; I am one, just ask my boys.

I again question why a single person’s romantic status matters so much. Especially since millennials don’t see marriage as their biggest priority

Not just millennials

OK, it’s not just millennials who face marital scrutiny when it comes to politics.

We worry about 49-year-old Sen. Corey Booker’s chances as a president because he’s single (and sigh a bit of relief because at least he has a partner) although no one to my knowledge has asked Booker’s mother, Carolyn, also a widow, who was by his side when he signed the paperwork declaring his candidacy for president, about her romantic wishes for her son and reported on it.

“As a mother,” Carolyn, I’m sure, has some thoughts about that …

And U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bachelorhood didn’t go unnoticed when he ran for president in 2016.

Still, as AOC says in tweet that called out the GOP and the media for going after her partner’s family in hopes of getting some juicy stories about her, “Women in leadership face more scrutiny. Period.”

Addressing matrimania

Yes they do, and that’s something men just don’t get. Plus women, much more than men, are subject to what singles advocate Bella DePaulo calls matrimania, our “over-the-top hyping of marriage and coupling,” and what philosopher Elizabeth Brake calls amatonormativity, “the widespread assumption that everyone is better off in an exclusive, romantic, long-term coupled relationship.”

No matter what Blanca may wish for her daughter, the 29-year-old AOC, like many millennials, is happily cohabiting and is most likely in no hurry to get married — if she even wants to wed, that is. And like many millennials, she’s also questioning if it’s OK to have kids in a world whose climate is rapidly changing. If I were her age, I’d be questioning it, too.

Millennials may have “killed” lots of things — dinner dates, hotels, credit cards, diamonds, cruises and homeownership among others — but I have faith that when it comes to creating policies that no longer privilege just those who marry and have children, but also support the unmarried and childfree among us, AOC and her fellow progressive millennial politicians are going to, well, kill it.

Getting married to make your mom happy? Individualize your marriage by reading The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels (Seal Press). You can support your local indie bookstore or order it on Amazon.

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Award-winning journalist, coauthor of “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels,” mom, changing the narrative about older women

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