The openly bisexual Senator from Arizona being sworn in on the Constitution clearly made our evangelical, homophobic Vice President a little nervous. And it ruled.
Ash Griffith | January 9, 2019
Femme is no longer frail. Femme is power, and femme is powerful. Femme is also terrifying as hell if you are Mike Pence.
This past week, Kyrsten Sinema was sworn in to Congress as not only the first openly bisexual senator, but the first Democrat in Arizona since 1988. Also, in a deeply satisfying power move, Sinema was not only sworn in on a law book that contained both the United States and Arizona constitutions, according to AZ Central, but by doing so, became the only openly religiously-unaffiliated person in the Senate.
The best part was that she made Vice President and noted homophobe Mike Pence visibly uncomfortable in the process as he swore her in. That booming, throaty cackle you heard in the middle of the night was me, just for the record.
Sinema’s swearing in was so important for so many reasons. The biggest one, which is important to me on a personal level, is the fact that coverage of her campaign continuously reiterated that she is bisexual. This further drills in the necessary representation for the bisexual community. Sinema is a cisgender woman who dresses very feminine. The go-to assumption is that she’s heterosexual.
Bisexuals have to be so much louder than our gay and lesbian counterparts just to get in the door, let alone be heard in the room. Sinema stressed both her bisexual identity and her femininity at the same time, because visibility is so crucial for us, and she knew just how important it was for her to represent. Somewhere someone who is both bisexual and has a femme presentation is seeing her and realizing that they exist, and that they can do both.
You can exist in this world exactly how you want to, and you don’t anyone a damn thing.
I admit, it feels a little backwards to be focusing so hard on Sinema’s appearance, but in this case it’s actually pretty damn important. Sinema came out in the most magically vintage and cute ensemble, one that could have also been an outfit for a cosplayer for Effie Trinket from Hunger Games. Effie Trinket toned down, of course, but Effie nonetheless.
Our society drills into our heads that femininity is frail, that it is unprofessional, that it is all show and no substance. If you are a woman in a position of power, you have to adhere to a certain wardrobe: as masculine as possible. And that is just to be allowed in the building, let alone to do the job at hand.
Sinema came in to that room looking like the poster child for a vintage makeup ad, and she made an oath to take care of the citizens of Arizona. She did both of those things simultaneously because surprise: those things are not mutually exclusive. You can dress super-feminine and still do your job — and do it better than the rest of your colleagues. This whole moment was such a power move, and Sinema did it with grace, with poise, and with a smile plastered on her face. Because she’s got this.
Carry on, Senator. Carry on.