We haven’t even gotten through the first month of 2023, yet mind-boggling shenanigans are taking place.
Missouri’s lawmakers, for instance, are enforcing a new dress code – that only affects women – and they are claiming it to be tied to proper professional attire. These lawmakers proposed a dystopian-like political order as part of their new rules package, which requires women to wear a blazer, cardigan, or knit blazer for maximum coverage. In other words, neither shoulders nor arms should be seen in the state’s House. Men are exempt from this package.
Missouri is now battling against ‘Sweater Gate’
Naturally, this has been a source of contention for the past few days in the state known as “The Mother of the West.” Many expressed their disdain at this backward rule, now being called #SweaterGate on Twitter.
Rep. Raychel Proudie (D) was appalled by seeing women’s rights to choose – this time around coming down to their right to express themselves through clothes – and urged lawmakers to vote “no” on the motion.
MO State Rep. Proudie (D) goes after GOP House members pushing a dress code for women — requiring they wear jackets — in a rules bill.
"I spent $1,200 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's inappropriate." pic.twitter.com/uORB2OWTXW
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) January 11, 2023
If I weren't a public official, I might opine that a woman's exposed shoulder is seemingly so sexually stimulating to my higher colleagues in the Missouri Legislature that they had to amend their rules to ban them.
That would be indecorous, though, so I won't say it.
— Ald. Bill Stephens 🏳️🌈 (@BStingSTL) January 14, 2023
— Maggie Nurrenbern (@MaggieforMO) January 14, 2023
Folks can laugh at #MOLeg and #sweatergate and are, but this kind of thinking keeps any work helping people from happening.
The ugly urge for men and patriarchy to dictate behavior for folks who are not men is harmful and ascendant.
— lisa rokusek (@lisarokusek) January 13, 2023
Like Arkansas, Missouri is not placing priority on things that actually matter. According to a study conducted by America’s Top States for Business, Missouri is among the top worst states to live in. They cite voting rights and crime rates as the most pressing issues the state currently faces. Debating women’s dress code should be at the bottom of the list, yet it’s all the way at the top.
What is professional attire?
Professional attire is a concept founded on a backward social construct upheld by those who favor the bearings of elitism and classism. American grassroots organizer-scholars, Tema Okun and Keith Jones, even claim that professional culture is racist. Sure, there are instances where wearing the right outfit is merited, especially in a professional setting, but it’s not as serious as creating a rule around it. After all, what should matter is the quality of your work and your clothes won’t ever aid in this. Unless, of course, you are in the fashion industry.
One thing is for sure: Passing laws to help the everyday folk of a state is in no way impacted by shoulders or uncovered arms.
Missouri needs to do better and let women lawmakers wear whatever they want.