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New Yorker upset by binders jokes and misogynist claims

Nov 6th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

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His party has inspired feminist rage and a flood of internet jokes – but one woman is still giving “Mittens” her vote.

Shani Bauminger, a copy editor from Brooklyn, New York, will be voting for Mitt Romney this week, and is undettered by accusations of misogyny and rape apology against the Republican party.

In fact, she told NewsWire via email that such accusations are Democrat supporters and the media taking Romney and his party’s comments out of context.

“There is always the willful misinterpretation of so much of what comes out of the right,” says Ms Bauminger, referring in particular to Romney saying he was brought “binders full of women” while forming his Cabinet.

“They completely ignored the fact that he purposely set out to find women to hire for his cabinet, just because he phrased it poorly.

“He was just speaking literally. He wanted to hire women for his cabinet, he contacted groups who had qualifications and resumes of women, and they sent him the information in binders.”

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Romney’s “binders” comments resulted in a host of internet jokes and “memes”, in which he is often referred to as “Mittens”.

Some have featured Bill and Hilary Clinton, Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, Ryan Gosling, Sean Bean and Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, left.

“I saw a photo on Twitter of some female stars in a ‘binder’ and that was their Halloween costume,” says Ms Bauminger.

“It just makes me angry. Why even try to see it the way he meant it?”

The Republican Party also inspired rage after Indiana Senator Richard Mourdock said pregnancies from rape are what “God intended to happen” – but Ms Bauminger says this was also misinterpreted.

“What he said was, ‘I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen’,” says Ms Bauminger, a Modern Orthodox Jew.

“If you believe that God has a plan for the world and that things happen for a reason, that is how you look at anything.  It is not meant as something insulting or horrific when someone says that when a bad thing happens, it’s God’s will.

“Just because you say God intended it to happen, doesn’t take away from the fact that it was a terrible thing.”

UNDER FIRE: Richard Mourdock inspired anger with his comment about rape and pregnancy.

Ms Bauminger also does not believe that Romney’s planned flexible working hours for women makes him a misogynist or antifeminist.

“Because he talked about flexible working hours for women who have to go home and make dinner for their children, people say that he thinks that women are the ones who have to do the cooking. He’s just talking about how things are.

“All my married friends with children (who work) are always the ones coming home to make dinner, not their husbands. So in that context, they do have to. Not because that’s the place of women, but because their husbands don’t do it and otherwise their kids will starve.”

Miss Bauminger says she will be voting for Romney, because she believes he will overhaul the US economy and will repeal Obama’s Afforable Health Care for America Act, which she does not agree with.

However, she does not consider herself the “typical” conservative female voter, as she supports same-sex marriage and does not believe abortion should be outlawed.

“I wouldn’t not vote for someone because they support abortion just because it’s against my religion, but I tend to be a lot more liberal when it comes to social issues than many religious people.

“I think a candidate who truly thinks like me in terms of social issues will never win the nomination because there is such a large percentage of Republican voters made up by the christian right, and they won’t make someone who supports abortion or gay marriage their candidate.”

She says she does not feel hopeful that Romney will win the election.

“I think the Republicans had an amazing chance to defeat Obama, but they couldn’t put together a candidate good enough.

“Part of it is that most of the people I think are good enough didn’t want to abandon their local offices to run. I do hope that in four years they will feel differently.”

Obama “fear mongering” and “patronising”

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Media outlets in the US have criticised the President’s claims that Romney and the Republican Party have launched a “war on women” by drawing voters’ attention to Romney’s stance on abortion and contraception.

An editorial in the Texas-based publication The Examiner claimed US women are more concerned by the state of the economy than by Obama’s cautioning that the Republican policies on health and workplace equality are “more suited to the 1950s”.

“Informed women pooh-pooh those kinds of fear tactics…because, no matter how sinister Obama makes it sound, he has overlooked their priority this election cycle,” says author Devonia Smith.

Smith noted in the article that Romney’s promises to overhaul the economy are resonating with women voters.

“As the fog of poverty bends women to their knees, Ryan makes five points: 1) Five-and-a-half million women are still struggling for work in this economy. 2) A half-million women more are unemployed today than when President Obama was sworn in. 3) Twenty-six million women are trapped in poverty today. 4) That’s the highest rate in 17 years. 5) we need to get people back to work. We need to get this economy turned around.

Columnist Cathy Young wrote a piece for Long Island Newsday in which she criticised Obama for condescension and sexism in his campaign.

While Young also criticised the Republican Party’s anti-abortion rhetoric, she was particularly scathing of a Democrat advertising campaign in which actress and screen writer Lena Dunham compared first-time voting to first-time sex.

“Dunham tells young women to ‘do it with a great guy’ who ‘understands women’ and ‘cares whether you get health insurance,’ especially birth control,” says Young.

“This video not only echoes cliches that reduce women’s lives to sex and romance, it portrays the president as a surrogate boyfriend/husband, a strong, sensitive man who takes care of the little woman.”

She says women voters concerns in a presidential election are not gender-based, and that women’s job opportunities are aided by economic growth, which Romney is promising.

On the topic of the economy, business publication Forbes ran an article by Independent Women’s Forum managing director Carrie Lukas, who praised Romney’s plans to reduce government spending on women’s “safety nets”.

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“[Women] should [weigh] the benefit of government freebies against the costs they create,” she said.

“Democrats may sell new programs and regulations (such as those that require insurance to make contraception “free” to users) as manna from heaven, but their costs reappear elsewhere,” she said.

Erin Smith left, Republican candidate for the Virginia convention, started the website Single Women for Romney, which slates the Democrats for making women believe “they cannot make it without them and wants to bring [women] backwards towards dependence”.

Ms Smith’s site says “the unique American experiement” of free markets and self-governing makes it possible for women to “pursue a life of happiness and dignity”, and praises Romney for reducing unemployment as Governor of Massachusetts.

LA Times reporter Paul West spoke with women in Virginia, a key battleground state, and several of whom said they would be voting Romney, despite their initial reservations.

Joanie Smerdzinski, of Ashburn, Virginia, is voting for Romney, even though she disagrees with his stance on same-sex marriage.

“I think the economy is the key issue,” she told the LA Times.

“I thought he handled himself well [in the first presdential debate] and seemed to have a better plan to get the economy on track.”

Sue Hathaway told the newspaper she has a college-age daughter and was worried about “how anyone can find a job in this sluggish economy.”

She said she supports Romney’s economic plans, and finds him “presidential and certainly more honest” than Obama.

IMAGE: www.politico.com

 

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is a Whitireia journalism student, most passionate about the arts and social justice issues. Sometimes, she even combines the two.
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