Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan was brought in after the House swearing-in to write about fashion -- well, not really. As usual, she used fashion as a subtext for her liberal politics. The new ultraliberal women in the House were all fabulous in their diversity of dress:
At the start of the 116th Congress, fashion was not merely a footnote, it was a rallying cry, a defiant gesture, a point of cultural pride — a glorious, theatrical declaration of self. It was white suits and pink dresses, Native American artistry, a Palestinian thobe, a kente cloth stole, a hijab and a skintight pencil skirt with a fur stole.
Rashida Tlaib wore the thobe, Barbara Lee donned the kente cloth, Ilhan Omar wears a hijab, and Kyrsten Sinema wore the fur (with no PETA rebuttal). "Each of them used fashion to press the point that diversity is essential to the power dynamic."
Givhan championed the "phoenixlike rise" of Speaker Pelosi, in bright pink: "Alas, despite an influx of women — a record 102 in the House — men still dominate, and those men continue to favor a palette of navy, charcoal and black. Pelosi’s bright fuchsia dress was like the plumage of a brazen bird, one with the audacity not just to fly with the flock but to lead it."
Then came the larger sermon about the subversion of pink:
If there is any color that has ever come close to defining a gender, it’s pink. Culturally, it has long been assigned to girls. And for generations of women who were stereotyped and bullied into polite smiles and reassuring deference, pink was their bane. Over time, pink ribbons came to symbolize serious women’s issues — although typically discussed in soft and fuzzy tones.
But this is the era of pink pussy hats. The color has been reclaimed and redefined. It is not about patience and calm or the kumbaya balm of we-are-all-equal. The new pink is aglow with outrage and the insistent demand that past wrongs be rectified.
Pelosi was dressed to take on the leadership role in the boldest, brightest, I-am-here shade of pink. In a November CNN interview, Pelosi noted that no one is indispensable, “but some of us are just better at our jobs than others.” That wasn’t overconfident swagger. It was honest. But it was the kind of honesty that women mostly don’t offer up about themselves, because that’s not what little girls in powder pink were taught to do. They were taught to whisper with humility.
Givhan also spooned out the goop for bisexual atheist Sen. Sinema as a "truth" teller.
There’s also power in the truth. And sometimes that truth is best delivered in platinum Hollywood curls and a pin-tucked blouse. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) paired her red-carpet hairdo with a form-fitting floral pencil skirt and a dove-gray fur stole for her swearing-in. The ensemble was frothy and lighthearted. It was a little sexy but mostly sassy. It was a rejection of stuffiness. It was the antithesis of gruff, white-haired men in dark suits. And if anyone thought it was inappropriate or silly, well, the only response to that sentiment is that Sinema won the election and her constituents surely knew exactly what they would be getting — which is not their grandma’s senator.
Most conservatives would roll their eyes the hardest at the notion that these incoming socialists (like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pushing 70 percent tax rates) represent "freedom"!
The breadth of it spoke of the idealistic notion of freedom — of the right to simply be. Fashion in this context was not about looking au courant or attractive by some arbitrary standard. Fashion was a statement of intent. What do these women plan to do? Blow off the dust; listen to as many voices as possible; be bold.