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  • Elizabeth Teleisha

Missouri State House of Representatives Women’s Dress Code

A revision has recently been made to the dress code for female members and staff of the Missouri State House of Representatives. It is supposed to “mirror the dress code language for men” by requiring women to wear a jacket such as a blazer or cardigan and “maintain a formal and professional atmosphere” (quotes stated by State Representative Ann Kelley who proposed the new rule).

As the Missouri State House of Representatives holds 116 men and 43 women, many viewed this as an attack on women, especially since the voters included men (which resulted in 105 in favor of the rule to 51 not in favor). Democratic State Representative Ashley Aune summed up her concerns and disapproval by stating, “Do you know what it feels like to have a bunch of men in this room looking at your top trying to determine if it’s appropriate or not?”

Many are also concerned as to why the House of Representatives is focused on seemingly trivial issues like these opposed to more pressing societal issues. Too much time is spent on debating how to further control women opposed to spending time on addressing other issues such as women’s rights and national issues as a whole.

Others are also pointing out that during the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Missouri State House of Representatives was opposed to government mask suggestion or mandated mask wearing. The thought that the government should not be involved in what you wear only applies to masks, which are intended to promote safety, but not in women’s attire- as they are completely fine with the government interference in that area. As stated by Representative Peter Meredith, “How dare the government tell you what you have to wear over your face? Well, I know some governments require women to wear things over their face, but here, oh, it’s OK because we’re just talking about how many layers they have to have over their shoulders.”

Incidents like these make us feel like society has taken a step backwards. When will society involve women only in issues regarding them? When will overarching male power fade? Questions like these help us to realize why feminism is so important.

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