A collective of lions is called a pride and a collective of women is known as... a binder? Well it would be, if it were left to Mitt Romney, Republican presidential nominee and former Governor of Massachusetts.
If Mr. Romney’s utterances in the second presidential debate on Tuesday in Hempstead, New York, were anything to go by, he not only continues to be a loyal user of the somewhat outdated filing stationery, he actually uses binders to store women.
Adding to several moments of white-knuckle drama was a rather odd comment from Mr. Romney that came when he was challenged with a question on pay equity for women.
Responding to the audience member about gubernatorial efforts to staff his cabinet in Massachusetts with women Mr. Romney said, “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 brought us whole binders full... of women.”
Social media retribution followed swiftly. The hash-tag #BindersFullOfWomen soon began trending on Twitter. Soon Twitter and Facebook users were lampooning the comment with abandon, one notable graphic on Facebook showing a “Dirty Dancing” still shot of Patrick Swayze captioned, “No one puts baby... in a binder.”
On the online marketplace Amazon, customer reviews for the “Avery Durable View Binder with 2 Inch EZ-Turn Ring” included sarcastic comments such as: “As a wife and mother, I LOVE this binder. It keeps me in my place, allows me to get dinner ready on time, AND only costs 72% of the more masculine version.”
In more worrying developments for the Romney team, however, President Barack Obama wasted little time in capitalising on the gaffe when he said during a post-debate speech at Athens, Ohio, “I don’t know if you were listening last night, but, see, we don’t have to order up some binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women to learn and teach and thrive and start businesses. When these young women graduate, we should make a very simple concept the rule: Equal pay for equal work.”
At stake for Mr. Romney is the high-value women’s vote, especially the support of suburban-dwelling women in swing states such as Colorado and Ohio.
Mr. Romney’s unwillingness to speak more strongly in favour of fair pay for women stood in stark contrast to Mr. Obama’s remarks, in which the President emphasised his efforts to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, adding that Mr. Romney did not voice support for it.