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]