November 1 2012
Lessons from Experience in Sex and Politics
Was it only last week, pre-Sandy, that the Obama campaign ran the generally smutty, unpleasantly manipulative political ad featuring Lena Dunham, called “First Time,” which attempted to conflate a young woman’s first vote with losing her virginity? In addition to the smarmy, smutty tone, the ad was an ugly, desperate attempt to manipulate young women into voting for Obama, on the general grounds that he is “a great guy,” and “cool.” Apart from the fact that neither of those qualities are really at the top of the list of key attributes for boyfriends or leaders of the free world, the ad occasioned disgust because it was a new cultural low. Lower, even than attempting to bribe women with free contraception — or cell phones.
For the record, the ad was disturbing also because it forced normal parents, trying as hard as we can to instill reasonable morality, virtue, and common sense into our teenagers, to confront the ugliness of the hook-up culture which they have to work pretty hard to avoid. Who wants to be reminded that teenage girls now come of age in a culture in which it is common to strategize about how and where to have sex, when really that should be a consideration that comes after love, relationships and commitments? But that is a rant for another time.
At the end of the day, after all the conservative and/or feminist criticism, sometimes it’s best to respond to the culture on its own terms. Which is why you should watch this ad, paid for the the Independent Women’s Voice, from their series called “Boyfriends.” If you’ve confused political leaders with personal relationships — you really have to know how to dump them if they’re unreliable and disappointing. The more women who see it, the better.
— Lisa Schiffren is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, sister organization to IWV.