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Binders of women

October 17, 2012

I didn’t catch the presidential debate. (I have had gastroenteritis since Saturday and am laid up in bed. I probably shouldn’t be typing this now but my muses won’t let me rest until it’s written.) But I did hear that one of the two rich men going for the job of ‘most powerful person in the world’ said something about having ‘binders of women’.

Oh yes, Mitt, yes you have. But not the ones you think you have.

Of this things that are offensive about this, there’s the jokey obvious, ‘Mitt, those were prostitutes, who are a very small sub-section of all women’ thing. This is, however, probably not what he was talking about, and is a whole other post in and of itself, so I’ll not explore this further.

I think the thing that most gets me is that, in his mind, those binders (by which I assume he was hoping to mean these and not these) contain all he needs to know about the women of the US, and therefore, to all intents and purposes, in his mind they are women. But oh wow is that dangerous thinking. 

Because a woman is not her image on a sheet of paper. A woman is not the words wrested from her by a pollster on a street corner. Women are not the statistics around our lives. A woman is not the letter she writes to a politician. 

She is all of these things, and things that cannot be captured by any of these or any other measures.

Which brings us back to Mediocre Dave’s superb post from earlier this week on the modern forms of the scold’s bridle. (Yes, I’ve linked to it twice in one post. Deal with it, he’s brilliant.) Re-reading this post in the light of Mitt Romney’s casual dehumanisation of women is enlightening and points us to where the true ‘binders of women’ exist in modern society.

(And now that the noisy muse in the corner of my brain has been sated, I’m going back to sleep.)

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