I missed this freakout when it happened because I was writing about the other dumb freakout the left-wing media was engaged in yesterday. Thursday morning, CBS News published a report on the strict dress code which is enforced in the House of Representatives, in particular in an area known as the Speaker’s lobby where reporters often gather.
A young, female reporter recently tried to enter a guarded room known as the Speaker’s lobby outside the House chamber, but her outfit was considered inappropriate because her shoulders weren’t covered. She was wearing a sleeveless dress.
Forced to improvise, she ripped out pages from her notebook and stuffed them into her dress’s shoulder openings to create sleeves, witnesses said. An officer who’s tasked with enforcing rules in the Speaker’s lobby said her creative concoction still was not acceptable.
The CBS story went on to say that men were also held to a standard which mandated a jacket and tie, despite the heat in Washington. It also mentioned an announcement Paul Ryan made a few weeks ago about proper attire. That was enough for many to immediately see it as the Handmaid’s Tale come to life.
This is some Handmaid's Tale shit. https://t.co/4LOjUVlLye
— Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) July 6, 2017
Esquire published a piece with the subhead “What is this, Gilead?” Newsweek’s story was headlined “‘Handmaids’ in the House? Dress code requires (most) women to cover their shoulders.” Vogue’s story on the controversy concluded, “What’s next? A white bonnet and red robe uniform à la The Handmaid’s Tale?” And of course, Jezebel jumped on this as well (though without an explicit Handmaid’s Tale reference):
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) July 6, 2017
The NY Times published a piece linking to the Jezebel story with the title “House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly implements new ‘no sleeveless’ dress code for women.” Almost immediately after this panic set in, women journalists who regularly cover the House pointed out that this is nothing new, i.e. these rules have been in place for many years:
Dress code for Speaker's Lobby isn't new, as headline suggests. But issues arise annually as DC heats up each spring/summer.
— K Tully-McManus (@ktullymcmanus) July 6, 2017
— Kellie Mejdrich (@kelmej) July 6, 2017
1. this rule is 100 percent not new. 2. ive seen congressmen be forced to put jackets on before going to the floor. https://t.co/QiYTLMVzJF
— Kate Nocera (@KateNocera) July 6, 2017
A lot of the stories now have corrections like this one at Jezebel: “The original headline indicated that this policy was “new.” The headline has been updated.” And this one at Raw Story: “Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly suggested that the dress code originated with Speaker Paul Ryan.” And this one at the NY Times: “The headline of this story has been updated to indicate that House Speaker Paul Ryan is enforcing a dress code rule that is not new.”
By definition, it’s not news that a longstanding dress code still exists. Beyond that, what made this fun for the left was the idea that a male Republican (Paul Ryan) was responsible for this “new” policy. They really wanted a chance to break out that Handmaid’s Tale analogy and this, briefly, seemed to be it. But, bottom line, we are still not living through the Handmaid’s Tale and Paul Ryan is not ushering us toward a dystopian future.