Donald Trump is apparently very concerned with physical appearances — and when it comes to female staffers in particular, he mainly prefers that they "dress like women." Women are not amused. And happy to educate him. #DressLikeAWoman has taken off on Twitter.
It is 2017.
That is an apparently necessary reminder for our new president, who was born in 1946 and who may still be mentally residing there.
According to a report at Axios, Donald Trump has carried over to the White House his superficial reality TV worldview when it comes to outward appearances. One of his main metrics for assessing the worth and fitness of a politician or potential cabinet member was whether or not they “looked the part,” evidenced to an absurd degree by his rejection of the odious John Bolton as a Secretary of State candidate because Trump did not like Bolton’s mustache.
And while men continue to also be targeted by Trump’s fixation on “optics, style and TV glam,” his prescriptions for women are far more galling, and ridiculously retrogressive:
Trump likes the women who work for him “to dress like women,” says a source who worked on Trump’s campaign. “Even if you’re in jeans, you need to look neat and orderly.” We hear that women who worked in Trump’s campaign field offices — folks who spend more time knocking on doors than attending glitzy events — felt pressure to wear dresses to impress Trump.
“Neat and orderly” is one thing; it is certainly understandable to want employees to look professional.
But a request for female staffers to “dress like women” is something else entirely. The implication, bolstered by the field office staffers’ sense that Trump preferred them to wear dresses, is that women are expected to look feminine, and to adhere to society’s narrow prescription of what femininity encompasses. And that if one would prefer not to dress within those standards, then she is not being a woman correctly.
This kind of gender essentialism may seem merely amusing or insignificant, but it is a maddening example of just how ingrained the notions of stark gender roles still are in this country, and how limited some people’s concepts are of what it means to do anything “like women.”
But if Trump is confused about that, and if he perhaps thinks he is back on the pageant stage rather than in the Oval Office, there are plenty of women who are happy to educate him. Huffington Post started the round-up of some very pointed and powerful examples of how to #DressLikeAWoman:
— Tara Wildes (@TaraWildes) February 3, 2017
— Gabrielle Birkman (@GabbyBirkman) February 3, 2017
— Charie D. La Marr (@PersiHellecat) February 3, 2017
— emma • BLM (@emmacrowell_) February 3, 2017
— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito) February 3, 2017
— ArtiKaShhhh (@bijilee) February 3, 2017
— 💙🌍BlueHumanity🌍💙 (@BlueHumanity) February 3, 2017
— Dubhthaigh Adams (@lizduffyadams) February 3, 2017
— NARAL (@NARAL) February 3, 2017
— Emily Calandrelli (@TheSpaceGal) February 3, 2017
— Mo Glamourpus (@marymacnp) February 3, 2017
— WhatFreshHellisThis? (@LisaBolekaja) February 3, 2017
What Trump may not understand is that dressing like a woman encompasses every way any and all people who identify as women choose to dress. If a woman is wearing a dress and heels, or jeans and sneakers, or a three piece suit, she is dressing like a woman — because she is dressing like herself.