The Obama campaign has released a sleazy video featuring actress and filmmaker Lena Dunham, likening voting for Obama to having sex for the first time.
Leaning into the camera, using language suggestive of how mass media talk about sex, Dunham says, “Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You wanna do it with a great guy. It should be a guy with a beautiful …. someone who really cares about and understands women.”
By the end of the one minute ad, it’s clear Dunham is appealing to youth to use their first time voting to support Obama.
This ploy reminded me of another attempt to liken a political act to sex. In 2010 a Canadian pro-Israel hasbara campaign called “Size Doesn’t Matter” released a video of a couple in bed.
The man appears to be trying to convince a young woman to engage him in oral sex. “It’s small,” she complains, “I don’t know if I can go there.”
The gag at the end is that he is actually trying to convince her to come with him to Israel.
Another disturbing Israeli hasbara video, “Sex with the Psychologist,” likened criticism of Israel to a sexual assault, while simultaneously presenting the female “victim” in a sexualized manner.
Such ads reduce women from political actors to sexual objects doing men’s bidding, succumbing to the seduction of a powerful politician, supporting an apartheid state. The Obama ad in particular is “creepy,” as @hkubra tweeted, and “demeaning to women by alluding [to] sex as the identifier of transition from ‘girl’ to ‘woman.’”
The “seduction” hides the violence – of Obama’s wars and Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid. Women’s bodies are being used to sell us the candidate responsible for killing so many women, men and children – invisible and unheard. Exposing women’s bodies and exploiting sexuality are his desperate last resort to justify voting for him.