Sex is used to peddle all kinds of things from sport cars to perfume; and for the first time in its 223 year history, it’s being used overtly to sell a candidate for presidency. The Obama Campaign’s new ad likening voting to losing one’s virginity is the latest foray in a campaign aimed below the belt.
In the YouTube web video called My First Time, a young woman played by actress Lena Dunham tells viewers, “Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy.”
With a cheeky grin, Dunham mixes sexual innuendo with public policy references: “You want to do it with a guy who brought the troops out of Iraq” and “[Your first time] should be with…a guy who cares whether you get health insurance and specifically whether you get birth control.” She ends with: “My first time voting was amazing…Before I was a girl and now I was woman…I voted for Barak Obama.”
Apprehension about reclaiming the youth vote is no excuse for trivializing the democratic prerogative of voting. While a new low, the use of sex to sell the candidate is nothing new to the Obama campaign. For months, the campaign has attempted to secure the women’s vote by focusing on free birth control.
Sandra Fluke, Georgetown law student and free contraceptive crusader, became one of the most highly-visible Obama surrogates. They’ve cast sexy starlets such as Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria and Beyoncé Knowles to pitch the incumbent. Free birth control figures large in their endorsements.
The presidency isn’t a new brand of liquor or a sleek sedan. It’s the highest political office in the country, the face of the nation, and the head of the free world. Take it seriously. While you’re at it, take us seriously. Treating as women as ditzy coeds who “vote as if their parts depended on it,” to use an Obama Campaign slogan, could not be more demeaning to American women.