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Missouri Republicans Strike Down Right To Bare Arms
Just for female legislators, of course.
Dress codes are stupid, miserable rules traditionally imposed upon one group of people by another group of people who do not share the same sartorial concerns. It is fine to say "No shirt, no shoes, no service," to request that people not walk around naked in public areas, or that they not come to the office dressed like they are about to wow their high school bully with their new career as an adult entertainer on The Jenny Jones Show, circa 2002. It is certainly fair to request that one not sport a beard of bees or any other facial hair statement that could potentially injure someone.
But once we go beyond the common sense basics, they usually tend to be pretty sexist, racist, classist and heightist (which, it turns out, is an actual word ). Such is the case with some new rules imposed upon women working in Missouri's state Legislature.
On its opening day, Wednesday, state Republicans decided to kick off the legislative session by instituting a more strict dress code — for female legislators only. Said changes were pushed by Republican Rep. Ann Kelley. Rep. Kelley, oddly enough, seems to have also chosen that particular morning to get dressed in the dark.
That's not power clashing.
Initially, the dress code for women was simply "Proper attire for women shall be dresses or skirts or slacks worn with ablazer or sweater and appropriate dress shoes or boots," which was fairly reasonable. However, Rep. Kelley wanted to amend it to read:
"Proper attire for women shall be business attire, including jackets worn with dresses [
or], skirts, or slacks [ worn with ablazer or sweater], and [ appropriate] dress shoes or boots. For the purposes of this rule, 'jacket' shall include blazers and knit blazers. This rule shall apply to all."
What she wanted was to require women to always wear jackets on the floor because that is what she considers "professional," though some might say that a person who is sloppily pairing cobalt blue pants with an ill-fitting black shirt and a taupe blazer is not someone who should be weighing in on what looks professional or appropriate.
Impeccably dressed state Rep. Raychel Proudie (D) — whom I will now die for — delivered a searing monologue on the floor decrying the absolute stupidity of debating this at all.
I want you all to pay particular attention, because there's going to be times on this floor where there are things that should not require debate and comment. I contend that these are one of these things. There are times to have your name said, to be recognized, to be called upon. This is not one of those things. There are some very serious things that are in this rule package that I think we should be debating, but instead, we are fighting again for women's right to choose something. And this time is how she covers herself and the interpretation of someone who has no background in fashion, because – again, this isn't a shot – it's inappropriate to wear sequins before five o'clock telling me that I can't wear a crispy, good St. John sweater if it has too many buttons. I spend $1200 on a suit, and I can't wear it in the People's House because someone who doesn't have the range tells me that it's inappropriate.
That's not why any of us were elected, Mr. Speaker. None of us. I urge us to vote no on this because it's ridiculous. And also, congratulations. I'll keep that to myself. To any of us who may be with child, you surely don't have enough or have the money off the salary that we make to go buy a bunch of new clothes or tailored clothes. And I hope that you're able to continue to wear your cardigan and vote on behalf of the people who sent you here.
Now, I would personally argue that daytime business sequins have been a thing since 2008 when Jenna Lyons took over as creative director for J. Crew, but as I did not see the sequin bodice Rep. Kelley reportedly wore, I would defer to her judgment on this matter.
“In response to MO State Rep. Ashley Aune (D) questioning the need for the dress code amendment, sponsor Rep. Ann Kelley (R) says, "You would think that all you would have to do is say, 'dress professionally' and women could handle it!"”
— Heartland Signal (@Heartland Signal) 1673477291
State Rep. Ashley Aune (D) also weighed in on the inappropriateness of men determining whether or not a woman's top is appropriate or not.
You know what it feels like to have a bunch of men in this room looking at your top trying to decide whether it's appropriate or not? Are we going to have [ Chief Clerk and House Administrator ] Dana [Rademan Miller] be checking our tags for whether it's a knit blend or a polyester blend or the silk count? I mean, this is, this is ridiculous.
She, too, dragged Rep. Kelley for wearing "sequins and velveteen" on the House floor while thinking she had any business telling other women what to wear.
Via the Washington Post:
“Why did you bring it up?” Aune asked, according to video posted by Heartland Signal , a website for the liberal radio station WCPT in Chicago.
“Why should we talk about something like this?” Kelley replied. “It is absolutely ridiculous.”
“You would think, you would think, that all you would have to do is, say, dress professionally, and women could handle it,” Kelley said. “You would think elected officials could handle that.”
Aune pointed out Kelley was wearing a sequin top of her own while trying to make the argument of a tougher dress code for just the female legislators.
“But we’re walking around here in sequins and velveteens for the lady’s point,” the Democrat said. “So, what is appropriate, and why do you get to decide?”
Kelley replied, “We need to get over the sequins. That’s ridiculous.”
Ultimately, the House approved a modified version of Kelley's proposal that allowed for women to wear cardigans as well as blazers, so long as their arms were fully covered — because, as we all know, only slovenly whores have elbows.
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