Lena Dunham, the writer and star of the hit HBO show Girls, just released a video for President Obama’s campaign. The video, called “Your First Time,” is full of innuendo and has sparked some harsh criticisms from the right. As a member of the target audience, however, I loved it.
“The first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy… Someone who really cares about and understands women. A guy who cares whether you get health insurance and specifically whether you get birth control. You want to do it with a guy who brought the troops out of Iraq. You don’t want a guy who says, ‘Oh hey, I’m at the library studying,’ when really he’s out not signing the Lilly Ledbetter act.”
The criticisms of the ad are absurd. Kelly Fenton, the deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, went on Twitter to voice her disgust with the ad, comparing it to one of Putin’s ads and saying, “They must share the same advisor: #Satan” (Yes, she really did hashtag Satan). Well, Ms. Fenton, what does that say about Ronald Reagan who also made a voting/sex joke shortly before he was elected president?
Ronald Reagan joked: “I know what it’s like to pull the Republican lever for the first time, because I used to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great.”
A blogger for Red State wrote that: “There seems to be no low to which President Obama will sink in his desperate attempt to win reelection… First he asked for your wedding gifts, then your yard sales and now he has asked for your daughters… He may not win reelection, but he most certainly has won the award for degrading what should be the highest office in the country.” Really? Not a tie with Reagan?
Lauren Thompson, a research analyst for the Media Research Center, said that the ad “shows how completely out of touch the Obama campaign is with young women” and that “The Obama administration has devolved women to nothing more than a set of reproductive organs with needy, government dependency.” I also find this hilarious, seeing as both sides have been focusing on women’s reproductive rights, just in divergent ways. President Obama and the Democrats are trying to protect women’s reproductive freedom by expanding access to birth control, preventative care and preserving a woman’s right to choose (as well as fighting for equality in the workplace and elsewhere). Meanwhile, Republicans seem absolutely fixated on women’s reproductive organs and how to restrict and limit reproductive rights.
Lena Dunham’s ad “devolved women”? What about Representative Terry England (R-Ga), who when arguing for a bill to criminalize abortions after 20 weeks even if the fetus is not expected to survive to term, compared women carrying stillborn fetuses to the animals on his farm, saying, “Life gives us many experiences… I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive. Delivering pigs, dead or alive. It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.” The “women as livestock” bill just passed the Georgia Senate and is expected to be signed into law. Which party is really out of touch with women? The one telling women to open their eyes and see that their rights are at stake? Or the one taking away those rights, and limiting their opportunities at every opportunity? Viagra can be covered by health insurance, birth control shouldn’t be. Your employer should be able to decide whether or not you receive a plan that includes birth control (for the record, Mitt Romney said that he didn’t approve of this when Obama called him out on it during a debate, but he has in fact said he fully supports the Blunt Amendment which would do exactly that). Planned Parenthood, which provides life-saving treatment and preventative services to women across the nation, should be defunded. Which party is out of touch with women?
We see Republican men trying to redefine rape or justify forcing a woman to carry her rapist’s child to term because “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Who is out of touch with women? It is not President Obama. It is the Todd Akins, the Richard Mourdocks, the Rick Santorums, the Paul Ryans, the Terry Englands, the Mitt Romneys of the world.
These are the people who are dehumanizing women and taking away their rights. In this election, we stand on a precipice. We can go forward with President Obama to a future bright with hope for equality for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion. Or we can go back to, as the President so accurately put it in the final debate, “the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.”