One Big Binder Full of Bad Bitches…

Last night, after the dust of grants and papers and one year old birthday parties settled, I sat down on the couch to watch the presidential town hall debate.  I would have been satisfied if, at the minimum, Obama demonstrated that they were no longer keeping him sedated.  What I was treated to was much, much better.

I am convinced that the true definition of a gaffe is when you accidentally say some shit that actually shows people your true colors.  Last night our dear Republican contender did just that when he was asked about “women’s issues.”  On the issue of equal pay ole Mittens K. Romners said this:

And while I hope that if you are one of the few that thought Mitt Romney cared about women’s issues, then this clip grabbed you by the vulva and shook some damned sense into you, I find it much more revealing of white d00dly culture.  Allow me to explain.

1) Women are in the trenches, but men will take the credit.  I happened to be living in Mitt’s fair part of the country when he became governor and, as a budding young feminist still trying to light her training bra on fire, I can remember Mitt’s female cabinet appointments and I can assure you that this is not how it went down.  Before Governor Romney was even elected, a bipartisan group of Massachusetts women leaders formed a group called MassGAP (The Massachusetts Government Appointments Project) to address the paucity of women leaders in state government.  This group accumulated a portfolio of names and qualifications (a binder, if you will) and presented it to Governor Romney after his election.

I can remember the talk of MassGAP around that time, but last night Romney employed prime d00d tactic #1.    He took the credit.  Rather, he stripped down, popped that accomplishment in the microwave for 30 seconds to get it nice and warm, poured it all over himself, and expected that America’s women would fall at his feet for the opportunity to lick it gratefully from his spray tanned, pseudo-Latino skin.

The problem is, Governor…

Figure 1:  I’m sorry, Governor, but you didn’t build that.

Not to say that Romney didn’t have to agree to appoint all of those ladiez.  Just, let’s not for an instant delude ourselves into thinking that he sat in his office and thought, “Hey!  Where are all the women?  Why aren’t you folks bringing me any women??!?!!  Find me someone who can get me some women!!!”  Don’t be fooled into thinking that these d00ds are open-minded reformers who realize one day that they should open the door you.  More like, there is a cackle of scrappy bitches on the other side who have been banging on the door, and hacking away at it with axes, to bring about the change these d00ds now take credit for.

Which brings me to my second point…

2) White d00ds think you want what their wives want. I damned near choked on my Pinot when Mitt Romney offered flexible schedules as the solution for working women.  You know, so we can get home and cook dinner and get back to the laundry…

Figure 2: Because this is certainly what it looks like around my house!

This tells us a couple of things about d00d-think.  First, in their eyes, women in the workplace must be mothers and, thus, women must self-select themselves out of the workplace because it interferes with motherhood.  Maybe for the one woman who Mitt used as an example.  Except, there are many women who aren’t mothers, or who have adult children, who still don’t want to make 72 cents on the dollar simply because they have an innie and not an outie. Granted, parents face unique challenges in the workplace, but let’s not pretend that solving the motherhood problem is the holy grail of women’s issues.

We also learn that these d00ds still prescribe heavily to gendered roles in the household.  To a wife that does the dishes, the laundry, cleans the house, and tends to the children.  Instead of simply offering a flexible work schedule (which I am behind), why not consider paying a woman enough so that her husband can work less and tend to the house?  Or, so that a family can afford to hire some help around the house?

3) Finally, d00ds only really know how to help women who look like them.  That is to say, privileged.  Mitt Romney spoke about high level, executive women.  These women are certainly important, but last night as he was speaking I tweeted this:

Figure 4: My brilliance in action…

Inequality in the workplace doesn’t manifest solely in the inability of women to secure high level positions.  That’s certainly a manifestation, but it’s not the sole problem.  For lower-income families, access to contraception and gynecological care can hugely impact a woman’s ability to stay in the workforce. Women can’t control their careers when they can’t even control their reproductive health.  Maintaining funding for Planned Parenthood and laws that require insurers to provide contraceptive coverage for everyone without exception are important steps in maintaining women in the workforce.  Yet, even for women who can afford access to reproductive resources, simply creating a culture where we tell women that women’s health issues are, well, women’s issues and not the concern of government or society creates an environment where no women’s issue is the concern of government or society.    A culture where women are another population not necessarily entitled to the same rights as their male counterparts.  How can we expect that an administration would take the issue of our pay seriously when they don’t take our healthcare seriously?

But let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that Mitt Romney isn’t the poster child for white, male, and privileged.  Or, into thinking that he has any real interest in advancing the interests of “other groups” beyond what is usable for a photo op or a sound byte. Or, that he won’t say anything at this point to get elected, finely peppered with gaffes of truth.  But, oh, if only Mitt Romney had been born Latina.  Better yet, a gay Latina.  Is there a binder for that?

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20 responses to “One Big Binder Full of Bad Bitches…

  1. Thank you!!!

  2. Not to mention that he never answered the question of equal pay for women. He circled the issue and spoke about creating more jobs so women could gain employment but didn’t say that these women would get equal pay for these jobs.

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  4. Thank you, Dr. Isis!

  5. What you weren’t excited about being able to come home and cook dinner? WTF Dr.Isis, your life doesn’t revolve around your kids and husband? What are you talking about, these unmarried, single women have no workplace issues because they can work till 8pm at 72% of the pay. They have no one to support and they’re just looking for a husband anyway.

    I need to go puke on some shoes.

  6. Exactly! Well said Dr. Isis!

  7. You forgot to mention Robme’s comment that, under his presidency, the economy will be doing SO well that companies will be DESPERATE to hire people for jobs. I mean, so desperate that they would even hire WOMEN!! As for single moms. Well, they are the reason why we have a problem with AK47s. Single moms should just get married. Everybody should get married and then we wouldn’t have this problem with violent crime.
    Genius, eh? I don’t know why anyone thought of that solution before. Yes, puke on shoes. Projectile vomit, in this case.

  8. I really like this analysis, and it’s so true. It wasn’t the “binders full of women” comment that struck me. It was the “get home to make dinner” part that pissed me off. My husband is a father and gets done in time to pick the child up from day care and start dinner. I work late because I’m writing my dissertation, and he understands that. Geeze Romney… stereotype much?

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  10. Romney, could have sooo properly addressed women/human issues if he referred to flexibility in terms of maternity leave, and followed it up with some reference to a need for equal flexibility in terms of paternity leave, but that would be sooo un-Romney. I’m not surprised that he subscribes to, and adjusts women’s work schedules to accomodate, the get-home-and-make-me-a-sammich ideas, though.

    - off topic, but I have to say I was a little disappointed with Obama’s response to the equal pay question as well. He turned it to pell grants, saying that he is working to improve the availability of education to all young folks, which (in my perception – correct me if there was another way to view this) suggested that pay inequality is correlated to men being more educated than women. In light of the recent study of how capable, worthy of money and training, etc. women are perceived to be compared to men with identical applications, we know is NOT the case. Obama is at the half-way mark when it comes to discussing women’s issues, IMHO, but Romney’s not even close.

  11. Well done Isis! You have captured my feelings on the issue exactly. Thanks!

  12. Check the look on the women’s faces, in the audience, around 2:16. You can just feel the warm glow of love for fatherly Mitt, right there.

    Great post, Isis. You nailed the key points, far better than the “pro” pundits.

  13. Brilliant! Thanks for putting it in words while I’m still sputtering.

  14. And David, the dropped jaw look on the guy on the left in the second row.

    He Just Doesn’t Get It, poor thing. Likely never will. Can’t understand why any woman would vote for him, but … I’d best stop there.

    Dee Blastula (love that handle!), have you noticed he’s not good at answering direct questions with any real details, just sleight of hand sppech?

    Anon, yes, I did notice that desperate comment, and wanted to desperate him.

    Thanks, Dr. Isis, I didn’t get to hear, much less watch, the debate. Thank you for keeping me from destroying the TV we haven’t replaced yet in a fit of frsustrated anger.

  15. Ok, I’m a Saffer, not an American, but the thought that Romney might become the US President makes me cringe.

    We also learn that these d00ds still prescribe heavily to gendered roles in the household. To a wife that does the dishes, the laundry, cleans the house, and tends to the children. Instead of simply offering a flexible work schedule (which I am behind), why not consider paying a woman enough so that her husband can work less and tend to the house? Or, so that a family can afford to hire some help around the house?

    I think Romney is totally ignorant of today’s financial realities. I recently read that a two-income household today earns only 85% of what a single-income household earned 50 years ago. Plenty of married women have to go to work just to keep their families afloat (my sister is one of them). That’s not mentioning the women who are widowed or whose partners walked out on them and who have even less choice.
    As to the housework, I live on my own (like many men) and have to do my laundry, mop my floor, wipe my counter tops, wash my dishes and cook my food. I can’t afford a maid. Secondly, I think most people would realise the inherent injustice if the woman had to work a full day, then come home and do all the housework without any help from the man.
    Actually, scratch out the word “financial”. Romney is ignorant of today’s realities full stop.

  16. In addition to the aspects of Romney’s answer that others have already mentioned, I was bothered that his response didn’t include anything about policy (other than making the economy so great that people would hire women). The bulk of his answer consisted of anecdotes along the lines of, “When I was governor, I made it possible for a female staff member to leave at 5ish.” Great, glad you were a reasonable boss. Very nice of you. But as president, what would you do for women other than the ones working for you directly?

  17. I agree with Mac: Brilliant!

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  20. You said it all, and much better than I did. Thanks! I got her via the Grumpies, Nicole and Maggie.

    I esp. like your point about the d00dly maneuver of taking credit for feminist activism, which we all know is pointless and unnecessary and why don’t we western feminists talk about the girls getting shot in the head in Pakistan instead?

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