'Women in Binders' and the Fantasies of the Left

Why has the phrase "binders full of women" captured the progressive imagination more than any other of the hundreds exchanged between Romney and Obama during the second presidential debate?

The townhall event wasn't even over, and already the internet was afire with snarky "women in binders" jokes, parodies, and pictures, prompting a glowing CNN report about "a Twitter hashtag, a series of memes on Tumblr, and a Facebook page with over 100,000 fans." 

Reasonable people are scratching their heads: what is so terribly wrong with this seemingly innocuous, if awkward, way to describe Mitt Romney's efforts to find qualified female applicants? 

The confusion is understandable: the cultural divide in this country has reached a point where both sides might as well need binders full of interpreters to help them communicate.  As a one-time professional interpreter, let me give it a shot and translate into normal language what "binders full of women" mean to a modern American progressive.

Remember the word "Teabaggers"?  It was with the same carnivorous enthusiasm that the progressive TV anchors popularized this insulting term, while deriving gloating pleasure from the fact that most of the wholesome and innocent Tea Party goers had no clue what it meant.

As it turned out, elite progressive thinkers and high society in general had long been linking the word "teabag" to male genitalia and certain ways of using it in homosexual practices.  How the knowledge of this obscure intimate activity became so widespread in progressive quarters is still a mystery.  It is apparent, however, that the term had caused such a deafening ringing of their mental bells that they missed the small voice of reason telling them not to give away too much information about their personal mindset.

The phrase "binders full of women" falls into the same category: it speaks to the progressive psyche in ways that the non-initiated can't possibly understand.  Once again, the progressives are letting their primal fantasies choose their battles for them.

All traditionally progressive activities -- from the fashion industry to modern art to comic books to pornography -- rotate, like planets in a solar system, around the ultimate collective fantasy of a bound woman.  Bondage in all its various manifestations -- economic bondage included -- may indeed be the only thing that holds together the otherwise incoherent elements of the eclectic progressive subculture.


Bondage & photo by Luke Degré

Deep down in the warped labyrinth of the progressive mind, even as they self-righteously deride Mitt Romney's "binder" comment, there's likely to be found a sub-cellar full of imaginary bound women: nude and wrapped in chains; some tied to a bed or a pole, others hanging from rings in the ceiling; crouching in the center of a Middle Eastern slave market or in a Planned Parenthood clinic; all set up to be used, tortured, raped -- or, if the master so desires, saved and cuddled.

Wherever that fantasy takes them, these women are never imagined as fully equal individuals or informed professionals with equal pay for equal work, let alone members of NOW.  They are primarily sexual objects with no intellect, self-awareness, spirit, ambitions, or plans for the future.  They are walking sexual organs whose only purpose is to satisfy male (and, in certain cases, female) lewd fantasies.  Their education or expertise has no value; the only requirements are a young, voluptuous body, soft silky skin, a vagina, and two large breasts -- three if it's a sci-fi setting.

Beneath the pious facade of equality and social justice, it is this subliminal primal fantasy that drives a generic activist in Mom's basement to post multiple blogs and comments designed to raise our awareness about the need to save the oppressed fair maiden from Republican shackles.


New York Times Magazine fashion spread, 2007. 
Photograph by Sam Taylor-Wood.  Styled by Charlotte Stockdale.

But suppose the maiden is saved.  Then what?

While the answer is omitted, rules of the genre allow us to reconstruct the formulaic ending: the "liberated woman" leaves the Republican dungeon for her savior's Democratic basement where she, out of eternal gratitude, forever remains his sex slave cum housemaid in a fantasy sequel called "family."  Living happily thereafter is an effortless bliss for as long as their political activism keeps free abortions on demand available as a means to alleviate threats to such "happiness."

More and more often, these deep-seated fantasies come to the surface in a continued effort to establish themselves as the new norm, working through art exhibits, fashion shows, films, comic books, or political campaigns that reveal more about their authors than most people would share in a polite company.

In this sense, the entire "war on women" is an alternative fantasy narrative, reimagining women as mindless objects to be moved around, manipulated, threatened, invaded, penetrated, cuddled, appeased, and otherwise played with -- with all the drama, imagination, and subtlety of a porno flick, where conflict, suspense, and character development are replaced with frontal display of "lady parts."


Radical feminists from the leftist group Code Pink protest the
"War on Women" while wearing giant vagina costumes.

Looking through the twisted prism of this "new norm," absurdities abound.  A woman becomes merely a means to an abortion.  Abortion itself becomes not an optional surgical procedure, but an ultimate, self-sufficient goal -- a necessary requirement in the power game played by the new Democratic Party.

The family becomes a repository of wrong ideas, archaic values, violence, perversity, and high-cholesterol cooking.  Children become objects of correct progressive conditioning, while parents become the scum of history and must be immediately replaced by Party-approved professionals, whose skill at social engineering will make the family a defunct nightmare.


Models on a New York fashion runway, 2007.

Obviously, "binders full of women" is only an episode in the larger fantasy drama helping to alter the norm as a way to eternalize "progress" in general and certain Democrat politicians in particular.

And now they are being joined by a large influx of immigrants from another fairy-tale land that has similar attitudes towards women and a long and vibrant tradition of bondage.


Oleg Atbashian, a writer and graphic artist from the former USSR, currently lives in Florida.  He is the creator of ThePeoplesCube.com, a satirical website where he writes under the name of Red Square.  He is also the author of Shakedown Socialism.

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