The power and politics of clothing in the Dr Christine Blasey Ford case.

The brave testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh is a story which has gripped the world. A year on from #MeToo, the devastating outcome saw Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court with a Senate vote of 50 to 48. The world watched Ford’s testimony and so many stood with and supported her and she stood to represent survivors. Yet the evidence and the result of the insufficient FBI investigation that followed were dismissed. But beyond her powerful words, people came to believe that Dr. Ford was making a statement with her choice of outfit as she stood to testify against the man she accused of raping her.

During her testimony, Ford wore an all blue suit in a move that has seen her compared with Anita Hill, who in 1991, stood up to testify against her former-boss Clarence Thomas. Much like in the Kavanaugh case, Thomas was nominated as an Associate Supreme Court Justice when Hill stepped forward in front of the Judiciary Committee to testify that she had been sexually harassed by Thomas at her place of work in the Department of Education. In both of these cases, the women did not get the outcome they deserved. In both of these cases, Kavanaugh and Thomas were appointed by the Supreme Court. In both of these cases, the men accused went on to sit on the Supreme Court bench where they both remain today.

2018 Vs. 1991. Image: Elle

So, it seems imperative to look at the blue suit as a symbol of solidarity between the women. Anita Hill was an outspoken survivor, as is Dr. Ford. Ford is willing to share her story, despite the fact that those in power (including President Trump) have dismissed her. Although Kavanaugh remains unaffected by this story, the solidarity between these two women, between Hill and Ford and between survivors of sexual assault, shows that there is a growing resistance. The #MeToo movement proved that there is strength in numbers, as well as power in clothes. Where influential women wore black to show their solidarity, in this case it seems Dr. Ford, nearly thirty years later, wore blue to show hers.

By Harriet Timmins