Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Binders Full of Feminists

Binders full of women.

Yep. What may be one of the greatest rhetorical gaffes in history may have accidentally illustrated just what's wrong with all the politically-correct feminist tripe. The hoops politicians have to jump through to win women voters are getting out of control—and I'm not talking embroidery hoops here.*

THE DEBATE
The glass ceiling can't flatten
our ambition ... or this hair!
See, Romney made the "binders full of women" comment when discussing how he worked to hire women. This is after being asked a bogus glass ceiling question about how women make "72% less" than men for "the same" work. I mean really. Let's party like it's 1989. Or let's ask questions like Hillary Clinton is running (not just taking the fall for Obama's foreign policy failures a couple of weeks too late).

Back to the point at hand, Suzie-Audience-Member wanted to know how *sniff* the workplace *sniff sniff* was still SO UNFAIR *gasp sniff sob* that women made less and how that *humph* dirty capitalist Romney could live with himself. *sniff*

This puts Romney in a position where he has to sound like a jerk to answer the question.

Q: How did you work to get WOMEN good jobs?
A1: I looked through a bunch of qualified women HR compiled for me?
A2: I tried to fill all positions with women?
A3: I didn't, because clearly I hate women so much?

This isn't forced. No really.
None of these answers really sounds great, because when you ask someone what extra steps they went to to hire women, they're going to tell you all the extra steps that hiring women took, which makes it sound like hiring women is this great and inconvenient chore, and may or may not be indicative of actual events. If you ask a sexist question, don't be surprised when the answer sounds sexist.

Next, Romney explained how he worked to give women more flexibility in their hours because they asked for it. Despite the blogosphere's righteous indignation that any woman would possibly want to leave her office and make dinner, this is actually a great policy.

THE ADVENTURE
Just saving the world here.
See, last week I watched my younger siblings because my parents left town, and I'm the only family member around. So, for three and a half days, I pulled "double duty" as a law student and a suburban mom. And guess what? It was hard.

Let's not get carried away. On a full day, I have a whopping 3.4 hours of class. This is a far cry from the eight-hour standard work day. Yes, I also have homework, and no, those class hours aren't all consecutive. But from the start of my first class to the end of my last one is a span of just over six hours. It's a pretty "flexible schedule."

Defenestration: history/vocab
jokes in the making.
I'd then head back across town to beat rush hour, and say hi to my sister, who had gotten a ride home from school. I'd pick up my brother from football practice, we'd eat dinner (which my sister nicely made, even though I like cooking), and I wouldn't do any law school homework, because I'd want to talk to my siblings. We joked about defenestration and denominations and other intellectual things, because my siblings are awesome and hilarious. And guess what? They're not even MY kids.

I'd like to get married and have kids and get to spend time with them. And yes. I'd be willing to sacrifice a few rungs on the legal ladder to do that. And no, it's not because finger-painting is way easier than litigation.


THE FALSE DICHOTOMY
What I've just said would get me all sorts of hate mail from feminist groups if feminists read fashion and economics blogs (don't worry - I lost them at "stilettos"). But let's stop and think about this for a minute.

I don't do nature swings.
I'm a woman. Not to brag, but I'm a pretty smart and driven woman at that. I'm not really into touchy-feely "spend your precious moments on people you love" sentimentality. And I'm not allowed to give up any of my ambition to have kids, because it would be some sort of insult to the feminist movement.

Well guess what? If we're all about empowering women, let's actually empower women, and not just a bunch of angry butch bloggers stuck in some parallel universe where the only way to get hired is to eschew skirts, fight for sex-based quotas, and then be indignant when businessmen look through "binders full of women" to make hiring decisions per your request. Let's quit acting like being a powerhouse in the corporate world is the opposite of being able to whip up a delicious dinner and help your kids with math homework.

Admittedly, I'm happy to have career options open to me as a single 20-something female. But it's insulting to women who broke into industries and gracefully juggled families and career aspirations in much more hostile environments to pretend that my world is full of discrimination. I have lots of opportunities—so instead of complaining that they're not good enough, I'm going to say thank you and take advantage of them. I want kids, I want a career, and I'm willing to sacrifice the latter for the former. So sue me.

Oxymoron? Hardly.
If women can balance a career and a family, but would like more flexible work hours to do so, shouldn't we let them make that choice? Or are we going to pretend that women are only worthwhile if they abandon all family life to throw themselves into a career?

Feminists are putting women in either/or binders. Romney and other capitalists are letting them out.

I drove kids to school and learned the law in:
Black below-the-knee pencil skirt, teal semi-sheer sleeveless button-up blouse, black cami, black blazer, black rhinestone hoop earrings, gold and gunmetal watch, gold geode-inspired ring, and black and cream snakeskin pumps.


Oh, you stitch those flowers girl. 
*For those of you wondering, an embroidery hoop is what ladies (and probably a few men) use to stretch a piece of embroidery out so they can continue beautifying it. They are readily available at craft stores and when Pinterest finds out they exist, it will be a big day. Here's a picture.