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House Dress Code Reportedly Bans Sleeveless Shirts, Because Of Course It Does

CBS News recently reported that several women reporters claim they've been barred from entering the Speaker's Lobby in the House of Representatives — and others have been reportedly warned — for wearing “inappropriate” attire. That attire? Sleeveless dresses and blouses.

One reporter even claimed to have “ripped out pages from her notebook” and made improvised sleeves, but was still denied entry.

The dress code has been around for quite some time, but Speaker Paul Ryan recently made an announcement on the House floor that it was time to reinvigorate the rules:

Men on the Hill are not immune from the dress code, either. Reporters who forget their ties are reportedly offered “ties of shame.”

But while the dress code is there for both men and women, it's more strictly enforced for women — with several reporters alleging that they've been removed from the Lobby for not adhering to the code.

In fact, before Speaker Ryan's June announcement that the dress code would be more strictly enforced, Independent Journal Review's Haley Byrd was allegedly kicked out of the Speaker's Lobby for wearing a sleeveless dress on the day the House voted to pass the health care bill.

And the lopsided dress code is, perhaps unsurprisingly, determined by Speaker Ryan. (Elite Daily reached out to the Speaker for comment but had not heard back from him at time of publication.)

Oh, Paul Ryan. Anti-abortion, anti-maternity leave, anti-equal pay Paul Ryan. Scared of women's shoulders.

How many times have we been over this?

Women are people, OK? People who work in public, and people who often becomes journalists and work on the Hill. People who you have to see out and about, in their bodies and everything.

So this whole dress code thing? Not OK.

That Ryan is hiding behind “appropriateness” is nothing new. Dress codes and sexism have gone hand in hand for ages, and using the term “appropriate” is a coded manner of shaming women into hiding their bodies.

Aside from the fact that dress codes are often sexist and promote rape culture — targeting women for showing too much skin, as if the sight of a clavicle will send men into fits of ecstasy — there's a practical problem with this so-called “appropriateness.” Just look at some of the clothes that are sold as business attire.

See?

 

nordstrom business attire

Nordstrom.com

Shoulders!

express business attire

Express.com

 

Curves.

 

nordstrom dress form fitting

Nordstrom.com

Gasp, even knees!

 

express business dress

Express.com

And while there is such a thing as women's blazers, the fact of the matter is that dress standards for men and women in places of business are and have been built on wildly different expectations for years. What women wear often affects how people view us professionallyPants are still controversial workplace attire for women, and apparently women are deemed more professional and successful if they wear skirts and more form-fitting clothing.

There's really no winning here, so I'm not about to dress for the comfort of some dude who is afraid of my shoulders, to the detriment of my own career.

Nor are other are people having it: many took to Twitter to express their disdain for the strict interpretation of the dress code.

So, god damn it, if it's hot — which it is in the literal swamp that DC is built upon — let a lady rock some shoulder. I swear it's not gonna kill you.

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Lisa Dunn

Staff Writer

Lisa is a news writer based in Portland, Oregon. She is currently researching and writing about abortion for her MFA in Creative Nonfiction.
Lisa is a news writer based in Portland, Oregon. She is currently researching and writing about abortion for her MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

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