Monday, December 10, 2012

Why I made my own "Binder Full of Women" (and you should too)

I was on a plane from Austin to Los Angeles during the second Presidential debate. Within minutes of checking my phone upon my arrival, I knew that I had missed out on something really wonderful, wonderful in the this-just-happened-now-it's-a-million-memes-and-two-parody-twitter-accounts kind of way. I am speaking, of course, on Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment. 

Having no context for the comment, my initial reaction was something like "what the hell?" After watching the clip from the debate, my reaction was more of the same. But then, soon after, I got this tingling in the arts and crafts center of my uterus, you know, that thing that sends the signal to your ovaries that says, "I really want to glue stuff to other stuff right now!"

So, that's basically what I did. 

I pulled out the binder where I keep my rent contract and the warranty on my hair straightener and all that other stuff that says I'm an adult, and I unceremoniously dumped that crap into a drawer. Then, I pulled down the picture of Amy Poehler and Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the Emmy's that I'd clipped from a newspaper and taped on the wall above my desk. I glued it to a piece of yellow construction paper, placed it in a sheet protector, and put it in the binder. It all felt very sacred and overly dramatic, but it also felt kind of right.

Soon, I was ripping an Adele interview out of Rolling Stone, printing off an article about Hillary Clinton, an interview with Maya Angelou, and trying to remember where I'd put the autograph I got from Brandi Chastain when I was ten years old. When I met her, she'd told me to "Go for your dreams." Just a quick Q then, Brandi - when are the tryouts for the women's national soccer team, again? And, also, do you have to be really good at soccer?

I was basically tracking down everything that made me say, "Fuck yeah! I love being a woman!" I can't really explain it, but after I'd spent a solid hour on a Leslie Knope collage, I knew this was important. It's important to have role models, people to point to, people to inspire you. I think, as a woman, it's especially important to have female role models - women who kick ass at what they do, women who get it done.

I'm learning more and more that the additions to my binder come from an infinite variety of sources. I recently ran off a screen grab of Sam Gordon, the 9-year-old football phenom who plays the game better than all the other boys in her league. Sometimes I copy down tweets from my friends that make me laugh because, believe it or not, us women can be funny from time to time. My next project is going to be making playing cards for all the new lady senators elected this year. Trading card protector sheets, for the win! Then I might even get some tab dividers for the section about dudes who are rocking it in the name of ladies. I'm sure there are binders full of these guys who are qualified too... 

For me, this project has become part scrapbook, part dissertation on feminism, part collection of love letters to Tina Fey that I know better than to send, and part thing that resembles evidence the police always find in the home of a serial killer. For anyone else that tackles this project, I think it can be whatever they need it to be as well. I just think, if women are going to be put into binders, it should be for a good reason and for a little bit o' fun.

Totally unrelated, but, like, does anyone have an address for Tina Fey for me to send totally unrelated stuff to?

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