Thursday, October 18, 2012

Romney Did Make Sexist Comments During the Presidential Debates… But They Had Nothing to Do With Binders

Yesterday, my Facebook homepage had more than one strange status concerning binders.

One in particular read: “I bet Romney has binders full of jeggings, too.”

What that meant, I initially had no idea. Sure, like so many other Americans, I had watched the debates the previous night. But I couldn’t remember a single mention of jeggings – or anything even closely related to such atrocious fashion concepts – from either candidate.

It wasn’t until several hours later that I heard someone explain what the big deal was. And while it had nothing do with the unholy union of leggings and jeans, it was hands-down just as stupid.

Apparently, the left is trying to make a big deal out of Mitt Romney’s reference to receiving a binder full of female applicants. Taken by itself, maybe – Maybe! – some deranged lunatic prematurely released from an insane asylum might take that as a sexist statement. Maybe.

(Though personally, I have more faith in the intellectual integrity of deranged lunatics prematurely released from insane asylums. It’s just sad I can’t say the same for liberals.)

But in the larger context of Romney’s speech, it was foolproof-obvious that he was referencing his efforts to include females in his cabinet after becoming governor of Massachusetts.

Now, I have to say, as a woman, I did take issue with Romney’s comments. But since I’m also intelligent, self-respecting and independent, my objection had nothing to do with binders and everything to do with the absurd notion – which he genuinely seemed to believe – that not only are women an absolute necessity in getting a job done, but that we also deserve special treatment.

What Romney Really Said

Here’s what he said, as transcribed by Fox News (Yes, Fox News. Get over it.):

“Thank you. An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.

“And I – and I went to my staff, and I said, ‘How come all the people for these jobs are – are all men?’ They said, ‘Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.’ And I said, ‘Well, gosh, can't we – can't we find some – some women that are also qualified?’

“And – and so we – we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.

“I went to a number of women's groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women. [There’s that innocuous binders comment.]

“I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my Cabinet and my senior staff, that the University of New York in Albany did a survey of all 50 states, and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America.

“Now one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort. But number two, because I recognized that if you're going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school.

“She said, I can't be here until 7 or 8 o'clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o'clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let's have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.

“We're going to have to have employers in the new economy, in the economy I'm going to bring to play, that are going to be so anxious to get good workers they're going to be anxious to hire women. In the in the last [four years] women have lost 580,000 jobs. That's the net of what's happened in the last four years. We're still down 580,000 jobs. I mentioned 3 1/2 million women, more now in poverty than four years ago.

“What we can do to help young women and women of all ages is to have a strong economy, so strong that employers that are looking to find good employees and bringing them into their workforce and adapting to a flexible work schedule that gives women opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to afford.”

Ummmm… Say what, Mr. Romney?

Women Deserve to Be Treated As Equals... Not Charity Cases

I could easily make a brilliant argument for why women should be treated as equals instead of given special accommodations when doing the same exact job as their male counterparts. But instead, I’m just going to give you a fun, little insight into my snarky, non-blogging world.

Below, you’ll find another transcript, this time of my Skype conversation with a friend during the debate. In her defense, she was working on a paper for a post-post-graduate course, and therefore can’t be blamed for any bad grammar or spelling. I on the other, have no such excuse…

Jeannette: Oh now some dumb young female is boo-hooing about the inequality of female work wages, with her question directed at Obama. Has she been alive for the last four years? Does she realize that her gender has suffered equally IF NOT WORSE under this CURRENT president?

CBW: Apparently not when he smiles at her and gazes into her eyes

Jeannette: Apparently not. Also, I'm sorry, but when women are in the top echelons of politics, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, doctors, deans of entire universities, etc., the “plight of the poor oppressed female worker” just isn't the issue that it used to be.

CBW: How 1970's of her

Jeannette: Also, Romney is not answering this question the way that I would prefer him to. Yes, let's go out of our way to find females to fill office positions when no females actually ever applied in the first place, and let's give them special perks because they might be mothers when the men don't get those same special perks even though they might be fathers.

CBW: Ewww. Don't like that

Jeannette: Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama, stupid, over-priveleged, under-intelligent white girl... Women should be treated as equals!

CBW: Otherwise they use their boobs NOT their brains to do work

Jeannette: Precisely! If you want a government job, understand that the work hours might not be 9-5. This is just common sense.

CBW: Come on! Look at Piper Peribo in Covert Affairs

Clearly, my friend has the same sense of humor that I do. (Because I would never willingly associate with anybody who thinks that Covert Affairs should be taken seriously. Other than my brother, who doesn’t count because he’s family and you can’t choose family.)

Yet even in her sarcasm – also like me – she makes a very good point.

It’s straight-up Hollywood-grade fiction to think that women can properly perform demanding jobs that they’re not willing or able to devote additional time to.

If we can’t keep up physically, mentally, emotionally or in any other way while getting equal pay to execute those duties, then we shouldn’t be keeping them… neither the responsibilities nor the perks.

That’s reality. That’s equality.

Deal with it.


  1. The reality is that women who are equally qualified or more qualified to "keep up" still get paid less than their male counterparts. Romney used one story to generalize all women: that women need special privileges so that she can go home and take care of her family. Family ideals are changing; the home is not exclusively a "woman's sphere" anymore. Don't say that's equality when fundamentally the underlying assumptions are based on traditional sexist beliefs.

    1. I've read over your comment five times now, nvrgiv, and I'm afraid to say that I'm genuinely not certain whether you're overall agreeing with me or disagreeing. Care to clarify?