Schock Jock: Bare-Chested Congressman Works Double Standard

May 10, 2011

Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., is the model Congressman. Shirt off, abs swelling on the cover of Men’s Health, he’s a glorious display of what fitness and Photoshop can do. Of his “form-fitting Zegna suit and tapered shirt,” the magazine croons, “he looks more like a hit man from a European spy thriller than a boring politician.”

That’s true. But stunts like Schock’s, where fashion and sex merge, only make it harder for women in government to violate D.C.’s prudish dress code — much less look like Bond girls. Think of Hillary’s cleavage on the campaign trail in 2008, or Condoleezza’s foxy stiletto boots. When women alter the uniform slightly, mass hysteria ensues; Schock stripped off the uniform entirely, and earned praise from a fawning Matt Lauer.

Schock’s commitment to fitness is commendable, and so too is his patronage of Italian labels. (Washington men: Take note!) But he should have kept his suit on and pushed the limits quietly like a statesman, not an infomercial model.

Schock is now the sexy, fashionable Congressman, which he can get away with. His female colleagues can’t afford to wear that label.

Katherine Boyle reports on arts, museums and culture for the Style section.
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