Congresswoman Ends Her Speech With A Mic Drop-Worthy Nod To The House Dress Code

"I'm standing here in my professional attire."

Rep. Martha McSally thinks women on Capitol Hill should be able to show their arms and still be professional, and she spoke up about it this week during a speech on the House floor.

The issue has become a hot topic in recent days, after CBS News reported that female journalists have been denied access to the Speaker's lobby (the room near the House chamber where reporters interview lawmakers) for wearing sleeveless dresses. This specific dress code, which also applies to lawmakers on the House floor, is apparently unofficial, and only enforced on the House side of Congress. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan seems to take it seriously, as he recently said members of the House "should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House however brief their appearance on the floor may be."

Some argue that banning sleeveless attire is sexist and outdated, while others point to the related expectation that men wear jackets and ties, as well as the fact that the rules reportedly also existed under Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In McSally's opinion, sleeveless dresses should be just fine. In fact, she wore one on the House floor on Wednesday, and made a point of mentioning it. McSally, a Republican from Arizona, made a speech about first responders in her state. In closing, she took a moment to talk about her outfit.

"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," she said. "With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back."

As Glamour points out, this isn't the first time McSally has stood up against a dress code. Before she was elected to Congress in 2015, she was a fighter pilot in the Air Force, and the first American woman to fly in combat. In 2002, McSally won a lawsuit against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in which she challenged a military policy requiring women to wear an abaya when traveling off base in Saudi Arabia.

McSally later told the New York Times that Rumsfeld donated to her campaign for Congress: "I kicked his butt. I won. And then he wrote me a check, saying, 'Hey, we need that kind of leadership in Congress.' So I shouldn't say that I kicked his butt, but I just did."

At a time when many schools enforce stricter and stricter dress codes which punish girls for "inappropriate" or "distracting" attire, the sight of powerful women such as McSally speaking out on the issue sets an important example.

(H/T: CNN)


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