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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Internet outraged over Trump’s White House dress code

Composite by Courtney Talak

The hashtag #DressLikeAWoman exploded on Twitter this weekend over an Axios article that attributed the claim to the President’s dress code guidelines. 

The phrase refers to Trump’s specific demands for the appearance of his staff. Women, who should be in dresses, and men who should dress in solid colors and be well groomed. This is more than an emphasis on professional attire, which should already be expected from people who have the credibility to work in the White House, it’s an emphasis on specific rules based on gender. This is an instance of Trump’s obsession with optics and unwillingness to let go of his own outdated definitions of how people should live, behave and look. 

The article emphasizes the value the President places on appearance, and the importance of how things are perceived by the public. It features specific distinctions between how women and men are ‘supposed’ to dress, according to rules that are set by those in power, not by the people who are actually wearing the clothes.

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It was met with major retaliation online, as it should be.

 Women all over the world retaliated by uploading pictures showing that women should dress in whichever way they want to. They showed that there is no specific role or dress code for women in today’s society, because women are as engrained to society as men, accomplishing far beyond typical gendered restrictions. 

Women are not restricted to wearing dresses, they can wear suits, uniforms or anything they like. We should be past this conservative way of thinking about ourselves, about how we dress, about how we behave. Refusing to accept this, and specifically defining what one should look like is just another attempt to control and censoring the public. 

This is just another way of enforcing rules that aren’t effective at being inclusive and open-minded. While uploading pictures doesn’t do much to directly affect change, it does create a united front against these assumptions about what women are supposed to look or dress like. It shows that dresses are great, but that a women’s arsenal of clothing and abilities can consist of much more.

While I was not surprised about the out-dated gendered dress code prevalent in this President’s administration, I was astonished about the branding that Trump insists upon. These definitions, classifications and requirements on how people should look, dress, behave or how they should speak, have been adapted by Trump throughout his years as a celebrity. His time as President seems to be a continuation of these same rules and guidelines. 

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Although he has been in power for less than a month, it’s clear that the President is willing to undermine, ignore and disregard in order to confuse or manipulate our nation’s people. He is willing to unjustly define rules based on his perception, not the country’s. 

He wants people to dress according to his definition of how they should dress. He wants to set specific rules on how people behave, or live, based on his own perception and experiences. Is he unwilling to listen to the public? Is he unwilling to adapt to the changing country, to the evolving nature of this country’s people? What era of America’s ‘greatness’ is he trying to drag us back to?

We’re living in a time that focuses more on appearances and public perception than on facts. Reality is twisted. Apparently, if people look the part and speak confidently, as TV personalities and celebrities have learned to do, audiences won’t pick up on the lies they are spreading or of the oppressive, restrictive guidelines they are trying to impose as the norm. 

Alternative facts are the new approach. Tweets shoot out into our phones, almost like public announcements, to further divide and cause fear. And we’re becoming accustomed to this. When controversies are the norm, they lose their power to rile people up and encourage change.

Follow Julian Cardenas on Twitter.

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