Debate Sparks #BindersFullofWomen Meme

An anecdote Romney shared about gender equality sparked the latest internet trend

By Emily Feldman
|  Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012  |  Updated 10:58 AM EDT
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Debate Sparks #BindersFullofWomen Meme

AP

#Bindersfullofwomen was trending worldwide on Twitter after Romney's remark.

It was Katherine Fenton, the fourth undecided voter to raise a question at Tuesday night's town hall-style presidential debate, who provided the spark for the latest social media meme of the election season—Binders Full of Women.

In response to Fenton's query about what each candidate would do to rectify inequalities in the workplace, "specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn," Gov. Mitt Romney recalled his success in increasing gender diversity in his Massachusetts cabinet.

"We took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet," Romney said. "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."

Before the night was through, the URL BindersFullofWomen.com was off the market, Bindersfullofwomen.net was leading to a faux Romney campaign page, this Tumblr account was churning out pictorial interpretations of Romney's comment and this new Facebook group had more than 175,000 likes.

It continued. Mitt's Women signed up for a Twitter account; Romney's Binder did too. Hillary Clinton's texting meme was resurrected for the occasion, as was the "McKayla Maroney is not amused" Photoshop trend, which exploded during the summer Olympics. The satirical Big Bird accounts conceived during the recent vice presidential debate also joined the conversation and word combinations like "trapper keepers" and "three-ring binders" were dusted off and thrust back into the world.

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