According to Representative Matt Gaetz, body-shaming a teenager to his 1.4 million Twitter followers is behavior befitting a congressman. According to Olivia Julianna, the best way to respond is to use the opportunity to raise $168,000 (and counting) in donations for abortion funds.
At a Turning Point USA Student Action Summit over the weekend, Gaetz questioned, “Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.” But he didn’t stop there: “These people are odious from the inside out. They’re like 5'2", 350 pounds, and they’re like, ‘Give me my abortions or I’ll get up and march and protest.’”
When Julianna saw his fatphobic, misogynistic comments, the Gen-Z for Change abortion-rights activist felt compelled to respond. “I’m actually 5’11. 6’4 in heels,” she tweeted to her almost 190,000 Twitter followers. “I wear them so small men like you are reminded of your place.” Gaetz responded by quote-tweeting an article about his comments “raising the dander of his opponents” with a photo of Olivia along with the words “Dander raised.”
The 19-year-old decided to “flip the script” on the congressman’s “hateful comments,” urging her followers to donate to abortion funds. As of Wednesday, July 27, she’s raised more than $168,000 for abortion funds and gained thousands of new followers across her social accounts. Teen Vogue caught up with Julianna to see what inspired her—and who could be her next target.
Teen Vogue: What was your gut reaction when you saw that a congressman had shared a picture of you in that context?
Olivia Julianna: Honestly, I know it might sound kinda crazy, but I laughed. I was like, This is gonna be good. I knew I would be able to make the best out of the situation because that’s what I do. It’s my job. People hate me because I’m 19 and think I’m a doe-eyed kid, but I’m a political strategist for one of the biggest youth organizations in the country. This was almost like a gift from Matt Gaetz.