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Doesn’t “binders full of women” remind one of “joy books” in Big Love?

By on October 17, 2012

As a devout fan of HBO’s “Big Love,” the fictional account of a fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah that practices polygamy, the moment I heard Mitt Romney make reference to “whole binders full of women”, I flashbacked to scenes from the show which dealt with “joy books.”

“Joy Books,” as they’re called list the names of girls who are eligible for marriage, most of whom are underage (usually around 14 years old). The “Joy Books” have been talked about by members of the church who have fled their respective compounds, but the assumption was that the books merely listed the names of the girls who were to be married off without warning or consent.

In the books on “Big Love,” we see pictures of young girls’ faces, feet, hands, backs of heads, and backs of knees, as though they are slaves or cattle.

Of course that’s not what Romney was suggesting, but the way he said what he said does speak to a patriarchal — but let’s be clear, NOT misogynistic — worldview that is bound to turn off the Holy Grail of this election: independent, swing-voting women.

The inadvertently funny comment about binders full of women came in response to a question about pay equity for women.  Romney was explaining that as the governor of Massachusetts searching for qualified women to fill cabinet posts, women’s groups brought him ‘binders full of women’ who were good candidates.”

The phrase now has a hilarious Tumblr account, Facebook page and Twitter handle.

More seriously, David Bernstein reports Romney’s account of the “binders full of women” wasn’t even accurate.

Material from the Political Wire was used in this report.