“Why are we still talking about women’s right to pants?”
This is a question Nora Caplan-Bricker poses in her latest piece for Slate. Who knew pants had such a fraught history and their style sidelined by early feminists out of worry that it would detract from their message?
Smart, leading, and creative ladies such as Coco Chanel, Katherine Hepburn, and Hillary Clinton have all popularized pants. Politics, however, has been behind fashion and society in changing the standard. Not until 1993 could women in Congress wear pants in the chamber; it would be a “distraction.”
This begs the question: A distraction to whom? Obviously not to women, as they claimed to be more comfortable while wearing pants. More than anything, this seems to be a men-feeling-threatened or men-distracted-by-women issue. It should hardly have been news in 1993 for the Senate, or this year for flight attendants, to be considered equal both intellectually and sartorially.
Perhaps the focus should be less on what women are doing and more on how men are responding. Or why men aren’t trying something different like wearing skirts, as the article states.