After a discussion that Democrats derided as a worthless diversion from the challenges facing the state, the women who serve in the Missouri House will be subject to a stricter dress code when they return to the floor this week. Democrats criticized the debate for being a waste of time.
According to the new regulations, female legislators and staff members are required to wear a jacket, whether a cardigan or a blazer. The Republican member who proposed the amendment explained that it was done to maintain decorum and act as a reflection of the dress code for men. The Democratic Party ridiculed the idea, arguing that women shouldn’t have to answer to anyone for the clothing they choose to wear.
Rep. Ann Kelley, a Republican, stated that the amendment clarifies language in the existing House rules so that the clothing code for women will be identical to the dress code for males. Kelley was the one who sponsored the proposal.
During the debate on the House floor on Wednesday, she stated: “It is vital to always preserve a formal and professional tone on the House floor. And to ensure this happens, I have felt obligated to present this amendment.”
The first version of her proposal said that women would be obliged to wear business attire, more precisely, a “jacket,” the definition of which would include “blazers and knit blazers.” Following a heated discussion, the constitution approved a revised amendment to explain that one may also wear a cardigan.
Gentlemen serving in the Missouri House of Representatives were required to dress formally by donning a jacket, shirt, and tie. The prior dress code required women to wear “dresses or skirts or slacks worn with a blazer or sweater and appropriate dress shoes or boots.” Men were expected to wear “slacks or appropriate dress shoes or boots.” It was not necessary to wear a second layer of clothing.
Kelley stated that maintaining decorum was one of the primary motivations behind her proposal, which was an idea that Democrats jumped on. During her two years serving in the House of Representatives, Democratic Representative Ashley Aune said, “I’ve seen a lot of lack of decorum in this room, and not once has that lack of decorum been driven from someone’s blazer or lack thereof.” “There are many ways in which we could violate the etiquette of this place. However, no matter what she wears, a lady looks silly.
Aune continued by saying that she had been individually questioned about her attire, despite dressing appropriately and without breaking any rules. “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 acceptable or not?” she asked him. “Do you know what it feels like to have a bunch of women in this room looking at your top, trying to determine if it’s appropriate
According to Virginia Ramseyer Winter, an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Health Professions and the director of the Center for Body Image Research and Policy, lawmakers shouldn’t have even debated this topic because it unnecessarily puts the focus on the way women look rather than the issues themselves.
She said, “I think it reinforces the idea that we value women more for their appearance above other more important things like their intelligence and contributions.” “I think it reinforces the idea that we value women more for their appearance above other more important things like their appearance,”
Ramseyer Winter and other opponents of the proposal stated that the argument was similar to the one that took place over the abortion limits that lawmakers adopted the previous summer after the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case.
She remarked, “I think it sends the message that we need to police women’s bodies.” “I do think that it conveys the message that we need to police women’s bodies.”
Before the word “cardigan” was added to the amendment, Democratic Representative Raychel Proudie voiced opposition to the proposed change. She pointed out that it would be difficult for pregnant women to comply with the regulation, citing that “they don’t create jackets or blazers for women who are pregnant.” That might be exceedingly awkward, especially in a state that advocates for the sanctity of human life.
The dress code was one of many laws ultimately passed by the state legislature on Wednesday, and it was just a tiny portion of the package.
“There are some very significant things that are included in this regulation package that I think we should be debating, but instead, we are fighting, again, for a woman’s freedom to select something,” she said. “I think we should be debating these things.” However, this time, it is about how she conceals herself,” Proudie added.
Lawmakers in several other states have spoken out against dress code regulations, arguing that they are discriminatory and insensitive to local cultures. A conflict erupted in 2017 over the long-standing prohibition on sleeveless tops and open-toed shoes in Congress, which led to the regulations’ eventual revision.
The criticism of the clothing code voiced by Republicans in Missouri was claimed to be exaggerated when all the guidelines did was define what was expected.
Doug Richey, a Republican state representative, claimed that “it’s a regular process for any company about a professional work environment.” [Citation needed] “We just so happen to have a political context that we have to manage, and because of that, it is ripe for certain members to grandstand and tries to make it into something that it’s not,” the speaker said. “We just happen to have a political context that we must navigate.”
Despite this, Democratic Representative Peter Merideth chose not to participate in the vote on the proposed amendment to the dress code because he was unwilling to risk expressing his opinion on the clothing that women should or should not wear. There are 116 males and 43 women serving as representatives in the House.
He remarked that the situation was laughable. “Our people put us here to enact laws… not quarrel over mandates and rules on women’s dress,” she said. “Our people sent us here to pass laws.”
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