Target: Mark Blasdel, Montana Speaker of the House of Representatives
Goal: Repeal discriminatory new dress code for lawmakers that requires women to be ‘sensitive to skirt length and necklines’
A new dress code passed in the Montana House of Representatives unfairly targets women. The code requires women to be ‘sensitive to skirt length and necklines,’ a demand that is outdated and unfairly focuses on women and not men. In addition, the Minority Whip Jenny Eck (D) said that the Democratic caucus was not consulted about the changes. Please join us in calling on the Montana House of Representatives and asking them to repeal this discriminatory dress code.
The issue of unfair dress codes has been gaining attention in institutions such as high schools, where female students are often disproportionately targeted by dress rules. Focusing on women’s clothes, the length of their skirts, and the shape of their neckline instead of on their work only perpetuates gender stereotypes and inequality. This is especially enraging when it happens in a legislative institution, where a woman’s appearance should be completely irrelevant.
Eck was also quoted saying, ‘My big problem is that women are set aside for an admonishment in the document, basically telling us to mind our skirtlines and mind our necklines, and that feels very nineteenth-century to me.’ This dress code is definitely outdated, and belongs in a time when a woman’s appearance was what she was valued by and when the expectations from her way of dressing were different and stricter than those of men. If you think that women should not be singled out for their clothes and should be trusted with dressing themselves without being scolded for the length of their skirts, please let the Montana House of Representatives know.
Dear Mr. Blasdel,
The Montana House of Representatives recently adopted a new dress code, which unfairly targets women and the way they dress. I would expect a legislative body to pay attention to what women say and do instead of what they wear, but this new policy insists on focusing on how women dress. I ask that you immediately repeal this new dress code and avoid any discriminatory policies in the future.
Women are often judged by irrelevant and unfair standards, many of which are focused on their appearance, instead of by their actions and abilities. Policies like the new House of Representatives dress code encourage and perpetuate that instead of fight against it. Women’s work as legislators has nothing to do with their neckline or skirt length, so those should not even be an issue.
Please repeal this dress code immediately for its unfair focus on women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Charles Marion Russell via Wikimedia Commons