Wearing what you want is a privilege, not a right — and lately, people have been abusing it.
Last week, guards barred a reporter from entering the Speaker’s Lobby, a room outside the House of Representatives chamber where reporters grab short interviews with politicians. She wasn’t armed or anything — just bare-armed. Sleeveless dresses are against the Speaker’s Lobby dress code.
The outcry is beyond ridiculous — and misguided. Congressional rules are far from draconian. The Speaker’s Lobby is the only room on Capitol Hill that requires reporters to suit up so formally. As for the sexism claim, men are held to a high sartorial standard there, too: They’re required to wear jackets and ties, which are arguably more stifling than dresses with sleeves.
Plus, who knows if Congress would have bothered enforcing this rule if reporters stuck to professional sheath dresses (as Michelle Obama routinely did)? Instead, journalists have been waltzing into the Speaker’s Lobby wearing breezy summer dresses and Birkenstocks — not exactly proper business attire. Can you really blame the House for trying to uphold a sense of decorum?