Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 4 August, 2021

Eh, so the US Congress hates women's shoulders, apparently

Open toed are also deemed “inappropriate”

THIS IS MICK Wallace’s fault, isn’t it?

download Mick Wallace speaking in the Dáil Source: OireachtasTV

Apparently, bare shoulders can be extremely distracting when writing legislation, particularly women’s ones.

So much so, that House of Representatives dress code means women can’t wear “sleeveless blouses or dresses, sneakers or open-toed shoes”.

Members should periodically rededicate themselves to the core principles of proper parliamentary practice that are so essential to maintaining order and deliberacy here in the House.”

Ok then.

It comes after it was reported that a young, female reporter tried to enter the Speaker’s lobby outside the House chamber, but she was refused because of the dress she was wearing.

This prompted her to rip out pages from her notebook and stuff them into the openings of her dress to make ‘sleeves’. However, this was also deemed inappropriate.

Another reporter told CBS that she was kicked out of the Speaker’s lobby in May for wearing a sleeveless dress.

Other reporters took to Twitter to share their experiences.

And others just took to Twitter to say – wtf?

This is unbelievably unfair, for several reasons

Let’s start with the obvious one, while we’re not exactly #blessed with the weather right now, it is hot AF in the States right now.

Let a gal (or guy, or however you identify) breathe. It must be tricky enough reporting on the shitshow that is American politics right now without also being forced to drown in your own sweat.

source (1)

The dress code can also be interpreted whatever way the House pleases, according to reports

The only written rule simply states that women should wear “appropriate attire,” and leaves the interpretation of that phrase, as well as its enforcement, to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

So, basically, if this man doesn’t find your outfit agreeable, you may as well just go home.

If bare shoulders and toes distract you from doing your job, should you even be doing it in the first place?

Now obviously, in certain work environments, dress codes and uniforms are important. They can make everyone feel equal, or provide protection.

There are limited circumstances where wearing a bikini or lingerie to work is appropriate – unless you are a Victoria Secret’s model or something. But for the most part, that’s not because of the risk of distraction you may pose to men. It’s just wholly impractical.

And let’s be honest here, it’s not as if shoulders and toes are particularly distracting as body pars go.

You’re responsible for your own work – if you can’t do your job competently because of somebody else’s bare shoulders, I’d be looking up the classifieds ASAP.

The Dáil have had their own debates about dress codes

Last October, former Ceann Comhairle Seán O’Fearghaíl told the Dail Committee that the attire of parliamentarians is a source of constant complaint from members of the public.

“What someone likes or chooses to wear is subjective. There are hundreds of parliaments around the world. For example, in Papua New Guinea’s parliament, they hardly wear anything,” said committee member and Solidarity TD Bríd Smith at the time.

Citing a then-mooted report on such codes in other countries, Smith said that to research what other parliamentarians wear around the world would serve no purpose, and that the dress code in some countries would not be the same as in western Europe. “It’s ridiculous, it’s entirely subjective,” she added.

Currently, Dáil rules specify merely that deputies attending should “dress in a manner which reflects the dignity and decorum of the House”.

Bottom line – a guy or gal should be allowed wear what they want

… So long as it doesn’t directly affect another person or their work. How it would though is beyond me.


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