There is obviously something very threatening about women baring arms that seems to result in institutions of state formulating dress codes that prohibit women wearing sleeveless garments in their hallowed halls! This came up in the USA last week. It wasn’t a case of sleeveless in Seattle, but rather a case of sleeveless in Washington DC, in the Speaker’s Lobby in the US House of Representatives.
A journalist was told her sleeveless dress on a hot Washington day was not appropriate and her attempt to create “sleeves” with pages from her notebook didn’t work either. Eventually a California Congresswoman declared a Sleeveless Friday and she and a number of women turned up “inappropriately” dressed.Subsequently, Speaker Paul Ryan said that there would be a move to modernise the dress code, having initially reminded women of the need to be “appropriately” dressed.
We have our sleeveless prohibition here too, not only in Gordon House, but in a number of Ministries and other government agencies. I wrote about it in a blog post last year, sparked by an instance in which a woman fashioned “sleeves” out of two scandal bags and was then allowed inside. You Have Got To Be Kidding! (Those Sleeveless Rules Again…)
Those bare arms are inimical to good order and the efficient conduct of government business and simply cannot be allowed. (We will not talk today about the dangers of bare heads, knees and toes.) Senator Longmore wore a sleeveless dress in the Senate recently, but kept it covered with a shawl throughout the debate. What chaos might otherwise have ensued in the Chamber!
And then there is this photo…. Maybe the prohibition hasn’t always existed, or maybe some people are exempt from the regular rules.
You think if I wore a sleeveless frock, but also wore long gloves and a tiara, they’d let me into the Gallery at Parliament?