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The ‘binders full of women’ effect

How an awkward turn of phrase by candidate Mitt Romney took over the culture.

AP Photo/pool


A Republican Party message from Charles Montgomery Burns.

During the second debate, on October 16, Mitt Romney’s description of his record hiring women veers off course: “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.”

> 23-year-old Veronica De Souza immediately creates a Tumblr site called Binders Full of Women. 3,000 people start following her within half an hour. 11,000 join in over less than 24 hours.

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> pages selling binders are spammed with dozens of mock reviews. One reads: “[L]et me just point out one glaring omission: While this is a lovely, multi-purpose binder, IT DOES NOT COME WITH WOMEN.”

> On November 1, The Simpsons’ evil billionaire, Mr. Burns, his research beside him, endorses Romney.

> Election night sets a social media record with 28.5 million Facebook and Twitter comments (59% are from women and 41% are from men). 261,026 comments per minute are being posted when the election is called.

> When the returns are in, Gallup says Barack Obama wins the female vote by a 12-point margin. The total gender gap is the largest in more than half a century.

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