Kansas Senator to 'Ladies': No Mini-Skirts, Please

Mitch Holmes has implemented a controversial dress code
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2016 1:30 PM CST
Kansas Senator to 'Ladies': No Mini-Skirts, Please
Kansas state senator Mitch Holmes is doing something about the "provocatively" dressed and "distracting" women he sees around the Capitol.   (AP Photo/The Topeka Capital-Journal, Chris Neal)

A Kansas state senator has some people's knickers in a twist after implementing a new dress code that singles out women who wear "skimpy skirts or blouses with plunging necklines," the Topeka Capital-Journal reports. Mitch Holmes is the chairman of the state's ethics and elections committee, and his new dress code applies to those testifying before the committee. The problem, according to critics: It singles out women while having no male-specific rules. “He could have just said that attire is business professional and kept it gender neutral,” state Rep. Stephanie Clayton, a fellow Republican, tells the Kansas City Star. "I’m just appalled anyone would treat taxpaying Kansans with such disdain."

The rule causing the trouble reads, "For ladies, low-cut necklines and mini-skirts are inappropriate." Holmes says he included that because he's seen women around the Capitol dressing "provocatively," which can be a "distraction." He also explains that men don't need additional rules to let them know how to dress appropriately. Other female senators besides Clayton have called Holmes out over the new dress code. “Oh, for crying out loud, what century is this?” Sen. Laura Kelly asks the Capital-Journal. Another senator says people's opinions on bills should be more important than what they're wearing. A blogger at Jezebel translates the code into advice: "Watch out, literally any women who don’t dress exactly like a 54-year-old Midwestern man’s (surely totally neutral) idea of what’s respectable, or who in any other way happen to 'bring eyes.'" (Kansas is not the only state to introduce this kind of code.)

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