The woman behind the “Binders Full of Women” meme has been revealed: 23-year-old Veronica De Souza created her Tumblr mocking Mitt Romney’s regrettable phrase just minutes after he uttered it in Tuesday night’s second 2012 presidential debate between President Barack Obama and his GOP challenger.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal spoke to De Souza, a recent graduate of Hofstra University who said she was laid off from her job as a social media manager on Tuesday -- perhaps motivating her to pay extra attention to the question posed by undecided voter Katherine Fenton at the town hall-style debate.
“In what new ways do you intend to rectify inequalities in the workplace?” Fenton asked Romney.
His response contained phrasing and logic that raised a number of eyebrows, but none more so than a self-congratulatory anecdote about his dedicated search to find qualified women to fill cabinet positions as governor of Massachusetts.
“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.”
The remark caught De Souza’s attention right away.
“I thought, ‘Oh, boy,'” she told the Journal.
Almost immediately, she created the Tumblr “Binders Full of Women” and posted its first artwork -- a Trapper Keeper notebook adorned with the phrase “TRAP HER KEEP HER.” After sharing her Tumblr on her personal social media accounts, followers came flooding in, at a rate of more than 5,000 per hour at first. The submissions rolled in, too: She posted 150 images parodying Romney’s binder comments, including one that piggybacked on the popular Summer Olympics meme “McKayla Is Not Impressed” -- and had nearly 2,000 submissions sent to her by Wednesday, according to what she told the Journal.
“It just seemed to catch on. I’m not really even sure why,” she said.
In De Souza’s personal Tumblr, she describes herself as a “community manager/social media pro looking for a job.
“Wanna hire me?” she asks.
People do. The Brooklyn-based De Souza told the Journal she has been contacted by several prospective employers, and while the outreach has been encouraging, she’s going to take a moment to breathe.
“This insane thing that happened overnight might actually save my life right now, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” De Souza told the Journal, adding, “I haven’t actually had time to put my resume together.”
While most of the attention has been positive, there has already been at least one instance of alleged copyright violation.
On Wednesday, De Souza posted a complaint on her Tumblr accusing controversial celebrity blogger Perez Hilton of ripping off one of the posts on her “Binders Full of Women” Tumblr: Not only did he not give her credit, De Souza wrote, Hilton also put his own watermark on the image (which accompanies De Souza’s blog post.)
“Internet goblin Perez Hilton took content from BindersFullOfWomen, put his watermark on it and didn’t link back to my site,” De Souza wrote. “THANKS FOR SUCKING!”
Perez Hilton has not yet tweeted or blogged a response to the charges, and the post in question still remains on his blog PerezHilton.com.
Ellen Killoran is the Media & Culture Editor at IBTimes. She previously contributed to The L Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, and The Daily, and co-produced the HBO...