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October 30 2012

Cathy Young on Eroticized Politics

Charlotte Hays

Cathy Young, Real Clear Politics columnist, Reason magazine contributing editor, and longtime IWF friend, weighs in on the Obama campaign’s ad featuring Lena Dunham telling first-time voters, “You want to do it with a great guy:”

How to count the ways in which this is wrong? To start with, there’s the innuendo-laced voting-as-sex (or sex-as-voting) metaphor, in which a woman’s exercise of her basic right of citizenship is analogized both to choosing her first lover and to giving her virginity to the man she chooses as leader. It plays like a parody of the sexist clichés that reduce women’s lives to their sexual functions—and women’s politics to eroticized worship for the ultimate alpha male.

This particular alpha male is more sensitive than dominant, but make no mistake: it is still his role to take care of the little woman. It’s almost as if the ad makers wanted to validate conservative claims that the Democrats’ pitch to women is the state as a substitute husband -- Uncle Sam taking over the traditional male role of provider and protector. …

Young female voters, moreover, are portrayed in nakedly stereotypical terms: besides a mention of bringing soldiers home from Iraq and an obscure pay equity reference, they seem to care only about birth control and perfect weddings. Yes, weddings: when Dunham discusses Romney’s opposition to same-sex marriage, she says that he thinks “gay people should never have the kind of beautiful, complicated weddings that we see on Bravo and TLC all the time.”

By the way, the ad was based on a "virgins love Putin" spot made for the Russian presidential "campaign."

Read the entire column here.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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