Sleeveless Dresses According to Congress is Not Appropriate Attire
Women reporters and staffers on Capitol Hill are being banned from wearing sleeveless dresses.
Today when GOP congresswoman Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) ended her speech on the house floor she said, “Before I yield back, I want to point out, I’m standing here in my professional attire, which happens to be a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes, With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back.”
According to CBS, a "no sleeveless" dress code is being enforced by the House of Representatives under Speaker Paul Ryan. While the details of this "proper decorum" are vague and not posted anywhere, reports are it is indeed being reinforced and are pretty much determined by the speaker and up to the discretion of security guard. Paul Ryan’s Directive is that, "members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House however brief their appearance on the floor may be." The dress code ban is another one of Republicans arbitrary barrier that limits women's rights, prompting cries of sexism.
There are several accounts of women getting reprimanded for their wardrobe choices. Haley Byrd, a congressional reporter for Independent Journal Review, said she was kicked out of the Speaker's lobby because she was wearing a sleeveless dress. She was simply trying to pass through the said area to get to another hallway, but the journalist was denied access to the lobby and told that her sleeveless dress was "inappropriate" and in violation of the rules. Female reporters who are simply trying to do their job are being denied entry. And since it is extremely hot in D.C. right now, 200 degrees, I don’t see why sleeveless attire is getting the cold shoulder. Fortune's Claire Zillman writes “the idea that women's bare shoulders are somehow unprofessional seems surprisingly old fashioned.”
Women’s fashion has become more modernized over the years, and sleeveless attire has become mainstream, as proven by Michelle Obama and even the current presidential adviser Ivanka Trump who have both worn sleeveless dresses in the House. Perhaps Ryan’s outdated perspective on what qualifies as women’s professional dress, is just another example of powerful men barring women’s progress.