In an apparent effort to establish "appropriate business attire," House of Representatives under Speaker Paul Ryan is enforcing a dress code in the Speaker's Lobby—a space adjacent to the front of the House chamber—that bans women from showing their shoulders.
Several female reporters have already been kicked out of the lobby for wearing sleeveless dresses.
Yesterday Republican Congressperson Martha McSally, a former fighter pilot and the first woman in American history to fly into combat, ended her speech in the well of Congress by saying, “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.”
Some (mostly stupid white men) complained that with all the problems facing America today, dress codes should not be a priority.
But here is the thing:
Paul Ryan and his male dominated Republican caucus have decided to enforce this arbitrary dress code. Republicans like Ryan have also demonstrated an obsession with policing women's bodies, and this policing is highly relevant to many of their GOP positions. These are positions that impact economic policy, healthcare, civil rights, and the criminal justice system.
When a man in power has creepy ideas about what women should be wearing and the freedoms they should be permitted to enjoy, it has far reaching consequences.
Yes, it's a dress code, but it represents a whole lot more, and in the battle for women to have control of their bodies and their destinies, not one inch should ever be surrendered.