Who’s Dressing Who?
‘A Political View’ By Sherry Holliman The number of women running for House seats and state governor’s positions during the 2018 midterms has exceeded previous years, yet women still remain the target of unfair and irrelevant clothing reviews.
Put simply, women running for office face more scrutiny than men, not only in what they say or do, but in what they wear.
A man can wear the same suit, really, three days in a row and no one would even care to notice the difference, but if a high-profile woman were to wear the same dress, it would no doubt be noticed by the “fashion police,” and because people will notice, they will start to question her judgment and competency. Some believe working women with a shorter skirt (above the knee) or an unbuttoned shirt are rated as less intelligent and less competent, even when these slight variations still put them in the category of professionally dressed.
Some women use colors to signify to voters that “I am a Republican” or “I am a Democrat,” by wearing particular colors to communicate certain beliefs to their audience. It is believed by some that focusing on what women are wearing is one way of reinstating a gender hierarchy and a way of diminishing women's capabilities, because women are threatening the traditionally male-dominated political profession.
Women of color and those from other traditionally underrepresented groups, like LGBTQ individuals, often face even more wardrobe scrutiny and policing.
If you look at Maxine Waters, a U.S.
Representative for California's 43rd congressional district, to many, her hair looks normal. But to some African Americans, we know that's not her natural hair and that she has it relaxed just to be taken seriously in her line of work. And in order to satisfy the media, that's the same thing many other African American elected officials also have to do.
It's a matter of asking, “Do you care enough about the people you are going to be representing yourself to that you’re willing to conform to expected appearances?”
What clothes are appropriate to wear for candidates in local elections? It may seem like a simple question, but it's one that every local election candidate needs to consider before starting their political campaigns. The appropriate campaigning wardrobe is going to differ depending upon what office you are running for.
In the rural area a city councilman is viewed more of an “everyman” position, and the voters can relate more with a council candidate who come to their door wearing a pair of jeans rather than a dressy outfit, but for a candidate running a political campaign for Congressman, Senate, State Representative, Mayor, or County Judge blue, jeans and sneakers wouldn’t likely be considered appropriate dress.
Voters expect more professional looking candidates in those races.
What women want is for their clothes and hair to be enough — because they are. It is about the policies, foreign affairs, or environment issues, and not about the people that make the dress code the message of the campaign. People should just listen to us because we are smart, want to make changes to improve all lives and we know what we're talking about. Why does it matter who is wearing what?
Should the constituents be allowed to set dress standards for individuals in public positions or should public officials be individualist and express themselves?
Sherry Holliman is a concerned citizen of Crittenden County and has some views on a variety of topics that she wants to share with her neighbors.
‘ A Political View’
By Sherry Holliman