As we round the corner into year two of These Unprecedented Times, the boundaries of weeks and months feel like they have less meaning than ever. Though it feels like Joe Biden became President ages ago, it’s actually only been like, six weeks since Inauguration Day, and I’ve still been thinking about it a lot. Do I need to get a hobby? Maybe, but that’s a topic for another day. From Bernie’s mittens to J-Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud” reference in “This Land Is Your Land,” Inauguration Day was amazing, but it also solidified something that I’ve been thinking about even more this week, now that we’ve entered Women’s History Month: we need to have a discussion about the way we talk about female elected and public officials.
Considering the unreal outfits on Inauguration Day, I totally understand how easy it is to direct our attention to clothes and miss some of the important and substantive moments. Inauguration Day was a historic moment that symbolized huge progress for women and feminism, but even with that in mind, so much of the conversation focused on clothes and other superficial things, totally missing the mark. While nothing can take away the strides we’ve made in terms of feminism, it isn’t helpful when we fall into sexist tropes of reducing women to their appearances, even if we aren’t doing it intentionally.
This article from Today that covered what the Vice President’s family was wearing on Inauguration Day is a prime example of reducing women to their clothing and appearances. It goes as far as mentioning Ella Emhoff and Meena Harris’ outfits, without even referencing either of the women’s incredible backgrounds. Emhoff, Harris’ stepdaughter, is a student, model, and designer. Meena Harris, our VP’s niece, is an activist, author, and the founder of the Phenomenal Women Action Campaign. The one-dimensional coverage of these women who are honestly really f*cking cool does a huge disservice to not only Ella and Meena, but to the people who are just now learning about them.
This post from Insider does a better job of covering the inauguration looks, as it does reference some of the meaning behind the outfits, but it still places significantly more emphasis on the looks themselves than the greater significance. There were countless articles, viral tweets, and posts that covered the inauguration outfits without discussing the political context of the day, what the outfit symbolized, or where it came from, and we all have to start being better.
Fashion is often inherently political, and there are so many interesting ways to talk about outfits without reducing the people wearing them to just their clothing. I’m not saying that we can’t talk about the incredible outfits that political figures wear, but we need to be thoughtful of how we’re doing it to avoid falling into sexist or reductive traps. Honestly, this is super difficult to do, so I came up with a few important rules of thumb for talking about the outfits worn by any female political figure.
Look For Meanings In Clothes
A lot of the time, the clothing prominent figures choose to wear publicly sends important messages, but they aren’t all as obvious as Melania Trump’s infamous “I really don’t care. Do u?” jacket. You probably noticed all of the iconic women wearing jewel tones, and most prominently wearing purple. Purple can represent royalty, bi-partisianship, and unity, but like the color white, purple also has a long history of being tied to the Suffragette movement.
Whether it’s tasteless words on the back of a jacket, a mask that says “censored” on the floor of the House of Representatives, or a more subtle color choice, clothes say something. In addition to just saying how incredible Dr. Biden or Vice President Harris looked at a given event, it’s worth thinking about the deeper meaning of their outfits.
Think About Who Designed It Or Where It Came From
Dr. Jill Biden’s Inauguration Day outfit came from Markarian, a brand that emphasizes sustainability and waste-reduction in design. Climate concerns and sustainability are key priorities for the Biden administration, and choosing a designer who shares that commitment sends a message. And, as we all know, on Inauguration Day, Vice President Kamala Harris looked unreal in a matching purple dress and coat from Christopher John Rogers, an up-and-coming Black designer who is known for vibrant color choices in his designs.
Obviously, not every event calls for custom designed outfits or even high-end pieces, and not every member of Congress can afford to fill their closets with designer suits. Expecting congressional officials to consistently wear designer and high-end clothing can perpetuate the high financial barriers of entry to Congress that prevent more diverse representation. Representatives and Senators, especially new ones, have a ton of financial burdens, and clothing is only one of them.
Representative Cori Bush has spoken publicly about thrifting her clothes looking for affordable and sustainable ways to meet the incredibly high standards set for women in Congress. This choice to support local thrift stores sends so many important messages, from ones about sustainability to ones about the prohibitive cost of being a woman in a professional environment.
Hold Men And Women To Similar Standards
This one can be hard, because we live in a sexist world and, in general, men and women aren’t held to the same standards in terms of clothing. TBH, the typical male politician doesn’t dress as interestingly as women do. However, if we’re going to talk about the outfits women are wearing, we should at least try to hold men to the same standard. For example: I have no problem sh*tting as much on Marjorie Taylor Greene for wearing a mask that says “censored” while speaking at a podium in the House of Representatives as I do on Jim Jordan for basically refusing to wear a jacket.
This also applies for positive commentary. As hot as I think Georgia’s new Senator, Jon Ossoff, is, I am also aware that he is much more than his looks. If a comment about appearance is problematic when applied to a woman, chances are that it is equally as problematic when applied to a man, and vice versa. As a rule, we have to stop objectifying people and reducing them to their looks, it’s just not it.
Put Substance Over Style
The women who serve our country are expected to sustain an incredible amount of emotional labor, and the physical expectations that they are held to only add to that. While it is important to recognize the symbolic meanings of their outfits, what they wear is a tiny fraction of the work that they do.
A way to make sure you’re putting substance over style is to pay attention to the context outfits are being worn in. What was the Vice President talking about while wearing that amazing dress? If you’re posting about how AOC’s makeup looked really good when she was on camera, make sure you know what she’s advocating for.
All that said, it’s important that outfits aren’t the only thing we talk about when our elected officials make a public appearance. Yeah, I’ll be the first person to say that Vice President Harris always looks f*cking amazing, but, I also have to remind myself to look at the substance, because that’s obviously what matters the most.
Images: Christos S / Shutterstock.com
With inauguration day looming over the nation like the smoke and ash spewing from the top of a soon-to-erupt volcano, sometimes it seems like there’s nothing we can do but despair. But never fear, rising from the ashes is the parody Twitter account we need. Sure, our PEOTUS might be Prince of Darkness, Lord of Lies, but @BridgetTrumpsDiary is here to remind us that even the Dark Lord himself has fat days and gets starry-eyed and tongue-tied when his crush is nearby.
The parody Twitter account gives readers a glimpse into the everyday thoughts and dreams of America’s favorite Third-Reich-billionaire-next-door, filled with all the self-absorption that we’ve come to adore from both loveable fictional Brit Bridget Jones and deplorable real-life limp sack of Velveeta Donald Trump. Tweets such as “Ugh. Accidentally tweeted wrong person this morning. Worried I may get fired from super important new job! Will flirtatiously shrug it off” help to humanize our future Disaster in Chief. Tbh, the account’s diary style reads like any betch’s teenage journal entries after one too many vodka sodas. Just add sociopathy and a hard-on for Vladimir Putin!
January -An exceptionally bad start
Drunk tweeted Assange
Calories consumed -6,000 but mainly the hopes & dreams of the poor
— BRIDGETTRUMPSDIARY (@BRIDGETTRUMPSD1) January 8, 2017
Bridget Trump’s Diary even provides a helpful outline for ways readers might be able to improve our own journaling routines. That Putin-lovin’ cutie uses the Twitter diary to keep track of important information. Her tweets show mindful monitoring of budgeting (see: “I WILL NOT Waste money on: unaffordable health care, tax, planned parenthood, moving to Washington or exotic underwear”), careful calorie counting (“Bday lunch w/ Eric 3,000 cals (Tiger meat v calorific)”), and celebrating times her S.O. has made her smile (“Hurrah! Vlad agreed to recite a poem at inauguration, he said it is more of a ‘limerick’ about a girl from Ealing. Am popular sex goddess!”).
I WILL NOT bitch about anyone behind their backs will instead be positive about everyone*
*Apart from Vile Baldwin & SNL cast – OVERRATED
— BRIDGETTRUMPSDIARY (@BRIDGETTRUMPSD1) January 19, 2017
So, as you’re pounding back shots and ignoring the inauguration this weekend, let @BridgetTrumpsDiary be the beacon of light that distracts you from your terror and misery. Assuming Vladimir Putin’s cute butt isn’t distracting enough.
Donald Trump’s inauguration is tomorrow. It’s happening. And while much of the buzz over the past few weeks has been about who is and isn’t performing at the ceremony, there’s been lots and lots of bullshit politics going on. We don’t miss anything, so we’ve put together your comprehensive list of all our favorite topics that Donald has lied about in the past few weeks. See you in four years, Betches, until then we’ll be hiding out somewhere in the Caribbean where they have free health insurance and bottomless mimosas.
The conflicts of interest with Trump’s business haven’t gotten any better. If you’ll recall, normally, the President is supposed to put their business assets in a blind trust while they’re in office, which means they aren’t in control of anything in order to reduce potential conflicts of interest. Now he’s officially given control of the family company to his sons, but he will not divest his personal interests in the company. Also, we all know that his sons are basically just robots that he controls. Aka get ready for Trump hotels on every corner by 2019 (that foreign diplomats may or may not be lining up to stay in); don’t say we didn’t warn you.
We’ve been over the fact that Mexico isn’t paying for any damn wall. Trump is still spewing some bullshit that Mexico will pay for it later, but we all know that’s never going to happen. So like, enjoy the raise on your taxes. Just like that time you helped your shady ex make his rent, you’re never seeing this money ever again.
Earlier this week, Trump told Fox News that he really doesn’t like using Twitter. This might not be a direct lie, but he certainly could’ve fooled us. If we don’t feel like tweeting about Rosie O’Donnell at 3am, we just don’t fucking do it, so … ???
Trump has still been unbelievably wishy-washy on the involvement of Russia in the Presidential election (we wonder why). After the US intelligence agencies issued a report that Russia was definitely involved, Trump chose to focus only on the fact that the actual election result probably wasn’t affected. Like, just because Putin himself wasn’t stuffing a ballot box doesn’t mean nothing was wrong with the situation. Tbh it’s comical how much he’s had to lie about Russia in the last month.
At his cringeworthy press conference last week, one of the worst moments was when he yelled at a CNN reporter and called the network “fake news.” This isn’t just a stupid thing to say, it’s just plain wrong. Fake news has become a huge problem in the digital age, but CNN isn’t anything close to fake news. Just because a media outlet doesn’t crawl up his ass like Fox doesn’t mean they are blatantly making up stories and passing them off as news and Trump can completely disregard them. At least, that’s how the Constitution is supposed to work. He also said in an interview that he “hadn’t thought of” how mistreating the media could cause him problems in the future, which is terrifying, if not an outright lie.
Some unverified reports published last week claim that Trump is into golden showers. SNL obviously had a field day with this. We have no idea if this is true or not, we just think it’s hilarious and wanted an excuse to talk about it again.
After those reports came out, Trump met with the Director of National Intelligence about them. It’s a matter of public record that the “intelligence agencies made no judgment about the reliability of the allegations,” but that didn’t stop Trump from tweeting that the Director assured him the reports were false. Like, we literally know for a fact that this never happened.
One of Trump’s favorite claims is that he easily won the election, or that it was a landslide victory. Um, not
really at all. Hillary won the popular vote by a pretty huge margin—a month after the election, sources were putting it at over 2 million votes—and the three states that decided the electoral college could’ve been flipped with only a few thousand votes. Chill out, we know you won (ugh), just stop exaggerating.
Trump has repeatedly said that he’s committed to making sure that every American has access to health insurance, but has never actually said how he’ll make this happen. It’s a nice idea, but the Republicans’ rapid progress toward repealing the Affordable Care Act suggests otherwise. He and the Republicans in Congress keep saying they’ll “repeal and replace,” but we’ll believe that shit when we see it. This is not an outright lie per se (yet); we’re just extremely skeptical.
Politics are important, but Meryl Streep is a fucking American treasure. We’re definitely still not over Trump calling her “over-rated” on Twitter. So fucking false. You messed with the wrong feminist icon/goddess. He also still won’t admit that he made fun of that disabled reporter, which is probably one of his most pathetic lies of all. THERE IS LITERALLY VIDEO PROOF. How do you deny something that was caught on video (CC: Taylor Swift)???
Trump loves to talk about bringing jobs back to the US, which we can generally get behind. But he also loves taking credit for shit he had nothing to do with, and this is where the lies come in. This week, Chrysler announced a new billion-dollar investment into production in Michigan and Ohio, and Trump immediately took to Twitter to brag about all the growth he’s bringing to our country. Only problem is, Chrysler originally introduced this plan a full year ago. And none for you Donald, bye.
Apparently there’s a real Bean family behind those boots, and one of them, Linda Bean, is a psycho Trump supporter. Trump took this to mean that the whole company loves him, and he tweeted an endorsement that is actually against White House policy, nbd (while he claims to have no conflicts of interest or ethics concerns at all … K). The rest of the company was subsequently like Jesus fucking Christ Linda what did you do, and now they’re distancing themselves from Trump. Brb, buying more Bean boots.
When Trump was asked in an interview whether lying is ever necessary, he responded by…avoiding the question. What else would you expect? The only person better at pivoting away from a question is Kellyanne Conway, and she’s not always there to spread the bullshit for him. Well, at least he didn’t lie?
HONORABLE MENTION: BETSY DEVOS
Rest assured, Trump hasn’t been the only one lying through his teeth. His nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, was universally ridiculed for her absurd comments on guns in schools during her confirmation hearing this week, but that’s not all. She literally lied to the Senate about not being on the board of her family’s foundation when it made large donations to anti-LGBT groups. Tax records clearly show that she was lying, but she insisted it was nothing more than a clerical error. Sorry Betsy (stupid name anyway), but that’s like paying someone to take the SAT for you then saying they just accidentally showed the wrong ID. Rookie move.
LOL at the fact that Donald Trump is going to be sworn into office as the president of the fucking country in two short weeks. And since this news is honestly so depressing, thank god the good samaritans of the DC Cannabis Coalition are passing out thousands of free joints to numb the pain.
Contrary to my personal and very popular belief, this is not an anti-Trump movement. It’s not even a giant rally to encourage everyone to get lit AF and pretend the world isn’t ending. Rather, our friends at the DC Cannabis Coalition are trying to draw attention to an incredibly important initiative: the federal legalization of marijuana.
“The main message is it’s time to legalize cannabis at the federal level,” said Adam Eidinger, stoner extraordinaire and chief marijuana officer of the group.
And the event is (mostly) legal. The group will be passing out 4,200 joints west of Dupont Circle, where recreational marijuana is legal, and then marching to the National Mall to observe Trump’s inauguration speech. After 4 minutes and 20 seconds (really going heavy on the 420 motif here) of Trump’s probs cringeworthy speech, the group is encouraged to light up. And that part is definitely not legal.
The homie Adam says this part is merely “civil disobedience,” but recipients of this token of good grace are not required to smoke it at that moment. BRB, googling flights to DC ASAP.