They have a right to bare arms


Something funny kind of fell off the racks in the Missouri legislature this week.

 A GOP woman state representative moved to clarify the state Legislature's dress code by pointing out that women should be wearing jackets or knit jackets while on the floor.

Essentially saying that women should not be showing bare arms on the floor.

Something funny about the U.S. Constititution's right to bear arms comes to mind here as a little ironic from Republicans, but...

I took off last summer about the hillbilly gridlock in Missouri and now this. What's going on in Missouri? This same legislature that saw GOP legislators fight to prevent having to wear a mask during Covid outbreaks to keep everyone safe, has now amended floor rules to mandate women wear sleeves. Don't make us wear masks, but it's okay to make us wear jackets?

By the way, cardigans don't count.

Maybe the funniest, yet most obscure point of the five-minute debate on the floor was a comment from Rep. Anne Kelley, who brought the subject up during a general rules debate.

Kelley, who brought the "bare arms" amendment to the floor said she agreed with Democrats that it was "ridiculous" to be having the conversation on the floor - that professional dress shouldn't have to be policed.

Then she blamed Democrats for wasting time by expanding the  debate.

That's the real travesty. She's saying that Democrats should have accepted the amendment without questioning it. Sit down and do what we say.

This seems to be an M.O. of politics in general lately. We saw it when Democrats had control, and we see it now with Republicans in control.

Telling women what they can do with their bodies specific to health, and now specific to dress, sure paints a murky picture of where the shining beacon on the hill is headed.

Rep. Ashley Aune asked Kelley, during a minute-long back-and-forth how that could even be enforced. Aune said the legislature is 2/3 men, so now men would be looking at how a woman is dressed and trying to determine if it's appropriate.

The most pointed comment came from Rep. Jamie Johnson who asked how it can be justified to add additional barriers to the idea that "anyone can represent the people."

Should the legislature be a place of decorum and formality? I don't know. It's real fun to watch the British Parliament get after it. If you haven't seen that, you should.

Can you say professional dress is required and expect people to not show up in t-shirts. Absolutely, and that should be monitored. But where do you draw the line with women who don't wear a neck tie?

I'm certainly not a fashion guru. It doesn't take long to see I'm a thug and dress that way. Last night I wore Duluth firehouse pants that were the color of gingerbread and a flannel shirt. I don't think I was working it.

We're not idiotic. We can look at a person and say an effort was made and pulled off to look professional and not casual and I don't think that mandates a woman cover her arms.

Don't we rebel against requiring women to cover their hair as being repressive? Yet we slip back to requiring women to cover their arms in America.

The next thing they'll be telling women is to not cross their legs at the ankles. That was not professional for a time as well. At one point it was unacceptable for women to vote... or even speak.

We have so many larger problems facing us. Accountability of self, work ethics, economics, education, poverty, incompetence. We're gonna talk about whether women, duly elected by their peers, have to wear wrist length jackets.

I guess we are... But that's Beside the Point.

Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached at

Beside the Point, Missouri, legislature, dress code, women, jackets, provincial, editorial, opinion, Chuck Vandenberg, Sunday,


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