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They Brought Him Binders Full of Memes: Romney's Inadvertent Internet Craze

Mere moments after presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s "binders full of women" gaffe, there were already parody accounts and a Tumblr.

Around 9:38 p.m. on October 16th, the Internet exploded. During the second presidential debate, in response to a question about equal opportunities for women, candidate Mitt Romney said that aides brought him "binders full of women" to fill cabinet positions when he was governor of Massachusetts. Most people watching didn’t hear the rest of the candidate’s answer.

Aside from the fact that some are questioning the story’s validity, and Romney would go on to earn more valid criticism with the argument that women needed more flexibility in the workplace because they had to be home at 5 p.m. to cook dinner, simply, the phrase "binders full of women" is inherently, almost objectively funny. Active Twitter users who were spending their evening doing something besides watching the debate likely had to seek out the meaning of this phrase that was suddenly crawling all over their feeds. Whether he’d intended to or not, and it’s a pretty sure bet that he did not, Mitt Romney gave birth to the latest insta-craze.

Within minutes of the gaffe, the Twitter account @RomneyBinders had thousands of followers (it is currently up to 33,000), your Facebook wall got clogged with binder jokes, and the Binders Full of Women Tumblr went live. This last outlet for parody has already amassed an impressive collection of variations on the meme, featuring all manner of pop culture references and visual gags involving women inside of high school stationery. Look through the slide show above for some of the best examples.

[Main Binder image: Flickr user Ashish]

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  • Hugh J

    Although the phrasing was unfortunate it has at least reopened the fact that 0bama treats the women in the white house staff more like cattle than real employees.

    There, as soon as they find out you're a women, the pay goes down. At least the women in Romney's "binders" are paid based on value and skill, and not less just because they're women like 0bama does.

    If even the old 'Huff-Po" folks note it, it's pretty glaringly offensive.

  • HiThere

    I'm not American so I don't really like either party, but I find the way this meme has blown up a little troubling. Romney actively sought out ways to raise the number of women he hired by using "binders full of women" which were provided by a woman's rights group (can't remember the name of the group off the top of my head and too lazy to google, sorry) that actively promotes the hiring of women by compiling databases of qualified candidates.

    The meme, while intending to mock a politician, really denigrates the women's group who promote the hiring of qualified women by creating and promoting these "binders full of women". Isn't this the sort of thing we should be celebrating instead of mocking? I dunno, maybe I'm being oversensitive but the meme leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Ubiq

     No it doesn't (denigrate the women's group).

    It mocks Romneys choice of words, which reflect how emancipated he really is(n't). Did you get the gist of what he said on the subject of equality for women? Basically: lets get the economy strong enough so there'll be such a high demand of workers that women can also get good jobs. You know, when we run out of men.

    That's not promoting equality for women.

  • Guest

    Take a good look at some comments from Obama and Jesse Jackson!  Or are those off limits?