Apparently, House Speaker Paul Ryan has been watching a little too much Handmaid’s Tale (because we know he doesn’t read). CBS News reports that female reporters have been prevented from doing their jobs because they decided to wear sleeveless clothing in the sweltering summer heat.
One reporter, Independent Journal Review‘s Haley Byrd, says that the day the House voted to pass the GOP’s disaster of a healthcare bill in early May, she was removed from the Speaker’s Lobby because Republicans don’t think she has the right to bare her arms.
“When I was kicked out that day, I was just trying to pass through the area to reach another hallway, but I was told I was violating the rules. They offered to find a sweater for me to put on, so it wasn’t some tyrannical end of free press, but I opted to just go around instead. But recently they’ve been cracking down on the code, like with open-toed shoes,” she says of being booted for wearing a sleeveless dress.
Why a sweater, especially during the summer?
In the Speaker’s lobby, men are expected to wear suits and ties and women are expected to plan their entire wardrobe around ridiculous rules that prohibit them from wearing open-toed shoes and even blouses and dresses whose sleeves aren’t long enough for…Jesus maybe?
The rules don’t actually prohibit these things specifically, but instead state that “appropriate attire” should be worn at all times. Apparently, Republicans have chosen to go with rules very similar to those of an Evangelical Christian private school’s prom.
“These rules are far from clear cut and there are no visible signs defining them,” CBS notes in their report.
Byrd isn’t the only woman who has had this problem:
This is real. Fellow female reporters barred from Speaker’s lobby for wearing sleeveless dresses while doing their jobs. (It’s hot in DC) 🙃 https://t.co/8evY6wQmA8
— K Tully McManus (@ktullymcmanus) July 6, 2017
Can confirm I was warned the next time I would be removed https://t.co/M0BTcFYchO
— Kellie Mejdrich (@kelmej) July 6, 2017
Here is an example of “appropriate attire”:
One female reporter attempted to improvise by tearing out pages from her notebook to fashion “sleeves,” but she was still turned away after she technically complied.
“All House Floor rules made for Members of Congress and their staff apply to the Speaker’s Lobby,” Paul Ryan’s spokeswoman says of the decision to impose ridiculous rules on women.
Naturally, people — especially women who don’t feel that they should have to dance around the delicate sensibilities of people who think the length of sleeves matters — are not happy about this:
This is ridiculous. They practically only sell sleeveless dresses these days. (Much to my middle-aged chagrin.)
— Jennifer Petitt (@JenPetitt) July 6, 2017
— kate (@katelcasas) July 7, 2017
— Chronic Crocheter (@DesignerNails) July 6, 2017
But you can squat like a dog on the Presidents White House sofa…
— Carolyn A. (@cravenknowledge) July 6, 2017
But it’s OK for 1st lady to be sleeveless while meeting foreign leaders?
Also – only OK for Melania, when it was Michelle they had a fit
— 305 Pirate ☮☠ (@305Pirate) July 6, 2017
So you think Ryan told Ivanka to put on a jacket? pic.twitter.com/3yxJIl7lF8
— karyncorn (@karyncorn) July 7, 2017
And these are the same people who criticize Muslims for Sharia Law?
— Steve Seidler (@GrayShadowTech) July 7, 2017
To be fair, the same vague rules that do not mention sleeve length at all have existed for quite some time, though they are not always enforced. The rules specify that men must wear coats and ties, but only says that women should wear “appropriate” attire. The Speaker of the House — in this case, Paul Ryan — is left to determine what is “appropriate.”
It’s good to know that there are no more pressing concerns facing the nation than whether or not females’ sleeve length is pleasing to the Stupid Party.
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