As far as meme-worthy flubs go, Mitt Romney’s “Binders Full of Women” moment was pretty much the crème de la crème. Inspiring a multitude of glorious homemade Halloween costumes, not to mention the EPIC Tumblr account, it has unfortunately gathered a bit of dust in the sphere of popular culture. But fear not, for there is plenty of misogyny and covert sexism to fill the binder-shaped void.
If you, as a well-informed and media-savvy BUSTie, tune into any news outlet hosting a panel on a particular social/political/religious topic, you will inevitably notice a pattern- middle-aged, often white, males with varying degrees of expertise on the subjects at hand talking amongst themselves. Now, not to say that these dudes are not experts-unless they of course are NOT actually experts (cough Fox News cough)- but the purpose of a discussion panel is to provide an array of opinions from a variety of people. If all of those in attendance look and think the same, it’s unlikely that the resulting dialogue will represent the entirety of the public. Cue super awesome new Tumblr: All Male Panels.
The site documents, “all male panels, seminars, events, and various other things featuring male experts.” Each of the photos and screenshots is adorned with an appropriately enthusiastic and macho David Hasselhoff thumbs up, or a “Hoffsome” stamp. The Hoff most definitely approves all man-centric stuff. The posted conferences vary on topics, and the panelist’s jobs range from executive directors of institutes, co-founders of websites, CEO’s, and just average guys with official-looking name tags on lanyards.
Now, correct us if we’re wrong, but it seems as though these positions and credits are not restricted to people who’ve got a penis. We’ve heard there are even lady presidents of companies, and that some of them enjoy the title of president, sans the lady part. If the rumors are true, then there are actually numerous (although still not enough) women who are employed and have garnered expertise in their particular field, enough so that they might be tapped to dispense said knowledge to other people.
While humorous in its depiction of male-dominated panels, this Tumblr is making a very real statement about the undervaluation of women in the professional world. Too often, women have taken the lone seat-if one at all- at the table for discussing policies, distributing knowledge, and debating procedures that affect and influence half of the world’s population. We do not exist as a token in society, so why do we continue to perch quietly at the edge of the discussion while men speak often and loudly?
The images on All Male Panels are an all-too-real paradigm of what is really happening in the world of tech, geopolitics, business and more. A woman must stake her claim in the field of her choice and demand equal opportunity and representation in conferences and other events that so proudly display male experts. We all have something to say, and damn it if you’ve got a PhD, or founded a billion-dollar company at 26, then it seems likely that someone out there is going to want to learn how the hell you did it and what secrets you’ve got to share. Gender does not make you less of an expert (unless it’s like a, how-to-manscape-without-scraping-your-bits panel) and it’s time that conferences recognize this disparity in their line-ups. So hats off to All Male Panels for drawing our attention to this trend, and more importantly, to The Hoff. You’re challenging sexism one thumbs-up at a time.
images c/o: Allmalepanels.tumblr. com