Challenging the clothing police

Last week former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell caused a reaction when she tweeted that female newscasters who go sleeveless lack credibility and “gravitas.”

According to the Toronto Star, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Advanced Education Minister Mitzie Hunter responded by removing their blazers during an official function to reveal their arms with sleeveless tops.

Kim Campbell responded to the twitter backlash by saying people should check the research.

The research may well show that women who show their arms are taken less seriously. But should we let it go at that? I mean, everyone wants to police women’s clothing choices and bodies. What the research actually shows is that women can’t win. They have to work extra hard to be taken seriously and even the slightest most harmless thing can work against them.

Rather than accept the research we would do better to engage in acts of resistance like Premier Wynne. By doing it anyway, we stand a chance of undermining ridiculous social norms and expectations. But then again Kim Campbell was a conservative politician so her uncritical acceptance of the status quo is not surprising.

2 thoughts on “Challenging the clothing police

  1. Making the social norms the bar to meet, to me, is de-valuing. I am more than that.
    It wasn’t long ago we couldn’t vote or own property.
    It’s sad that a woman instigated the above noted discourse.


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