October 26 2012
Christian Science Monitor: Lena Dunham's sexy Obama ad: Youthfully alluring or bad taste?
Love it or hate it, one thing is certain about Lena “Girls” Dunham’s suggestive new ad for the Obama campaign: She has created buzz.
And buzz is good when you’re president of the United States and relying on young voters to pay attention to the fact that the election is less than two weeks away.
If you don’t know who Ms. Dunham is, the ad is clearly not meant for you. But in certain circles, she’s a rock star. Or at least an edgy, indie TV star, creator and lead character of the HBO series “Girls.”
“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody,” Dunham says to the camera in a giving-advice-to-a-girlfriend tone. “You want to do it with a great guy.”
She’s talking, it turns out, about her first time voting, not, um, something else. But for a full minute, she’s all about what the “first time” should be like – doing it with “someone who really cares about and understands women,” someone who cares about birth control and who brought the troops out of Iraq.
OK, so maybe it’s clear pretty soon into the one-minute video that Dunham is talking about voting for President Obama, but still. To people of a certain age – as in, people old enough to have a kid her age (like, maybe, this correspondent) – there’s a certain “ick” factor. As of 2 p.m. on Friday, the day after the ad was posted onYouTube, it had more than 275,000 views, with 5,014 “likes” and 6,807 “dislikes.”
The comments went back and forth.
“As if American women don’t already have enough disrespectful, perverted men in the form of classmates, colleagues, bosses, journalists, musicians, entertainers, film and TV writers and producers, and men we encounter anywhere we go, talking to and about? us as if we were the slutty bimbos they wish us to be, we now have to hear it from the president of the United States, as well?” writes gtgirl197.
“This creeps me? out in so many levels,” writes grizzlyadam26.
“Fabulous lady!? Haters step aside,” writes Fishburgesa.
The conservative Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) reacted with disdain.
"This ad simply proves that the Obama campaign only knows how to speak to one specific type of woman,” writes Hadley Heath, senior policy analyst at the IWF. “And I’m proud to say I am not that type of woman.”
Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, Ms. Dobrev is Canadian. But she has almost 3 million Twitter followers.
Even if a lot of people are put off by the ad, what’s the down side? It's not going to dissuade a possibly creeped-out Obama supporter from voting for him; young conservatives weren't going to vote for him anyway. And if it plants the voting idea with a few young adults in key swing states, then it will have been worth it.