Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Media Moment, "Mitt Romney 'Binders Full of Women' "
(You can skip to about 00:58 to hear Mitt Romney speak).

I'm chiming in on this topic a little later than I would have liked to but seeing as no one brought it up, I wanted to spotlight Governor Mitt Romney's responses towards the subject of women in the second presidential debate. I'm sure I was just one of many to be taken aback, but not surprised, by Romney's callous handling of the subject. I think it was one of, if not, his most egregious moment in the debate where his slick talking faltered and the mask slipped. But I don't want to make this into a super partisan, political issue.

From a more objective standpoint, Romney came across as insensitive to women and their roles and rights in the modern day workplace and home life. He seems to be stuck in a different era of thinking, one that believes that women should be constricted to the home, to cook,clean, and wait for her children and husband, the breadwinner, who comes home and provides a salary to live off of. In boasting about his and his colleagues' "concerted" efforts to find prospective female workers for the company, he suggested that it was a difficult task of epic proportions. He made it sound as though there was a dearth of qualified women in the field and that to compensate for such, he and his colleagues had to actively pursue and search for female candidates. That rigorous search subsequently yielded "binders full of women" - a pretty bizarre and perplexing phrase that almost instantly galvanized a torrent of social media reactions (Facebook groups, Twitter trending words/hashtags). But more importantly, Romney's phrase seems to itemize women as though they were consumer goods or stocks (the likes of which he would invest in and trade while hedgefunding for Bain Capital).

He also stressed the need for allowing women in the workplace more lenient schedules so that they can get home early by "5 so they can make dinner" for their kids. Because of course, as the logic follows, it is a woman who has to prepare dinner .Romney's line of thinking removes the possibility that a woman can be single, or not have children, or that, even if she does, maybe it's the father who cooks dinner.  These quotes reveal how deeply ingrained Romney's sexist and old-fashioned views are.

How do you think the balance of women to men in the workplace has changed since the women's rights movement, circa the 1970s? Do you believe workplaces still discriminate based on gender and hire more men than women on average? Which industries in particular do you think are more (in)conspicuously male-dominated?

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