Katherine Fenton, the Woman Who Started it All

by Genevieve Bleidner

By now, everyone and their grandmother has seen or at least heard of the “binders full of women” jokes stemming from a comment made during the second debate by Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. What few people have talked about, however, is the young woman who asked the question that prompted his reply.

Katherine Fenton, a 24-year-old schoolteacher who doesn’t belong to a particular party, got up and asked the candidates a question that seemed innocuous enough. She wanted to know how the candidates plan on closing the gender inequality gap in the workplace, stating the 72% difference in pay that women receive as opposed to men.

That simple question has landed her an excessive amount of criticism by people who are calling her a “feminazi.” They attack her using the same women-shaming techniques seen in sexist violence around the globe: attempting to demean her by calling her a slut, and alluding to her drinking and sexual history as if those were the only measures of her character.


Screenshot Cred. Mediamatters.org 

Hold up: why the hell is there this backlash? She asked a simple enough question, and suddenly she has people jumping down her throat, willing to burn her credibility to the ground for a question that shouldn’t even have to be asked in 2012. It sounds like the Rush Limbaugh attacks on Sandra Fluke all over again; have we really not learned?


An article written in the conservative publication Free Beacon, titled “Party Girl Debate Questioner Loves Joose, Hates Cops and Women who Watch Sports,” smears Fenton for tweets she posted months ago. The funny thing is, her affinity for the alcoholic drink “Joose,” and her use of sexual innuendos in conversation with friends has NOTHING to do with what she asked during the debate.

Screenshot via Free Beacon

Rant over. But seriously? If a man had gotten up and asked that same thing, I highly doubt he would be attacked quite as viciously as Ms. Fenton has been. Why the hell do people still think it’s ok to slut-shame a woman because she stood up and said something about her rights and equality? 

Images via Salon.com.

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