Why I laughed at ‘Binders’…

So I watched the presidential debate last night (right, right, call me on saying ‘nails on a chalkboard’) all the way through. Luckily, early on in the debate I grabbed my laptop and logged in to Twitter. Why lucky? Because that made it so much more fun.

Romney made a comment about a lack of qualified female applicants to his cabinet as governor and his response to this lack was “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.”

Partly, it was the way he said it. His tone of voice betrayed an uncertainty in the phrase he was about to use. That made it a bit amusing, though I have to admit my feeling toward his comment was annoyance with a dose of outrage. Momentarily afterward, people I follow on Twitter posted such comments as:

"#Bindersfullofwomen"

I admit I laughed pretty hard at this one, because it was a surprise and the element of surprise is well-known to transform a non-sequitur statement with no humorous value into what people would call a ‘joke’. Also, I find the song ‘Pocket Full of Sunshine’ somewhat annoying, yet undoubtedly upbeat. Romney’s comment was certainly annoying, and suddenly through association, it became upbeat. However, I believe it was made into a joke by people who caught something seriously important and worthy of discussion in the original statement.

Why is the binders comment more than just a laugh? Why did it get so much attention?

For one thing, Romney’s using principles of affirmative action as his plan for how to extend a hand to women seeking employment. That could never be more than a temporary fix. I see nothing wrong with going out of one’s way to find qualified women to hire, however, the answer lies more so in helping women become qualified in the first place.

What does that mean for me as a woman? Maybe I set my sights higher. What does it mean for educators? To ensure fair treatment of all their female students, to avoid discrimination, to encourage women to pursue high-powered careers in politics, science, research, education, and the list goes on and on. What does it mean for hiring managers? Tell women who are not qualified for a job what steps they can take to become so! What does it mean for community enrichment programs? Seek out necessary qualifications for high-wage jobs and develop classes for women that teach those skills, to help us reach our highest potential.

What does it mean that the women Romney found by contacting women’s organizations had not applied for the position(s) in the first place? Does it mean they weren’t aware of the openings? Does it mean they were intimidated? Or does it signify something else?

I’m feeling good about enjoying humor, and getting to the heart of the issue.

Deconstructing Selective Blindness

I read an article today titled ‘The Kissing Sailor, or “The Selective Blindness of Rape Culture“‘ and I am satisfied that the truth is coming to light. The voice of Greta is getting heard.

Let’s analyze the image discussed:

Is it about the kissing, the being kissed, or neither? or both?

Look for a few signs that she does not want to be kissed:

  • Her chin position shows that her mouth is being forced open
  • Her body is stiff and awkward, rather than relaxed
  • Her fist is clenched
  • His left arm is braced around her head, as if to block her from pulling away. How many couples do you know who kiss like that?

A few things to think about if you were to see this scene, even on a crowded street… attend to your first instinct- does this look a little off to you? To me, it always has, especially BEFORE anyone explained or captioned that this was when World War Two was officially over in Japan. To me, it never looked quite right.

The evidence is in the words of Greta, captioned within the article at the above link, that it was not her choice to be kissed, he surprised her and grabbed her in a vise grip (which is certainly what it looks like), and that she was not kissing him- he was kissing her.

What strikes me even more is that the article by cbs news states that the man claiming to be the sailor is trying to prove it’s him in the photo. He seems particularly proud of it. Personally, I’d be quite embarrassed that I’d grabbed a strange woman without her consent. Then again, Greta has attempted to prove that it’s her in the photo, as well. Does that make it ok for a man to force himself on a woman? Not at all, and I’d take the clenched fist in the photo as a warning. Because nothing resulted from this particular grab (other than fame and generally good wishes surrounding this photo) the two don’t seem to mind being recognized for it. This is a rare and strange case, unlike most sexual assault which often harbors consequences of trauma and more.

If you see a couple like this, and something does not look right to you, interrupt and ask for directions. Seriously. You might end up saving someone’s life just by figuring out what is going on.

I’m feeling good about reality rather than romanticizing.

Looking for a few good folks…

…to take a survey!

I am planning a series of posts for the early summer. For these, I need *Anonymous* volunteers. Why anonymous? Because I want my participants to feel totally comfortable answering the questions asked. While some people might not be bothered by answering personal questions in view of the public, some others might. This is why I’m requesting that you volunteer privately, by email. This means that when I post the answers to the interview questions, I will not post the names of anyone who participates.

If you are honestly willing to take part, please email feelinggoodfeminism@gmail.com

Thank you! I (actually) cannot do this without you! 🙂

Women of Busboys (& Poets)

I floated through the Busboys & Poets website today and what did I see? Something fantastic. Daily mini-interviews honoring women, inspired by March being women’s history month.

If you know a woman who is ‘of the Busboys and Poets tribe’ you are encouraged to email events@busboysandpoets.com to recognize her!!

Keep on promoting women, my friends!! We are wonderful! I’m feeling good about increasing opportunities for recognition!