“Your 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.” – Lena Dunham
This week marks an especially repugnant page in President Obama’s catalog of attempts to woo young female voters. In an online ad titled “Your First Time,” featuring actress Lena Dunham, the President’s campaign drew an offensive and distasteful parallel between losing one’s virginity and the “awesome” experience of voting for Mr. Obama.
Explaining that it’s “super uncool” to abstain from the election, Miss Dunham says she became a woman when she voted for the President, and was honored to “do it” with a guy who cares about her right to taxpayer-funded birth control.
Until very recently, it would have been unthinkable for any politician, let alone the President of the United States, to endorse an ad that so trivializes sex and demeans the importance of a chaste lifestyle. Mr. Obama apparently thinks he speaks for women by endlessly insisting on their right to taxpayer-funded birth control and abortions.
But in fact, Gallup polls show that social issues and birth control rank among the least important issues in this election cycle. The economy, which voters deem as their greatest concern, has plagued women during Obama’s presidency. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment among women has risen from 7 percent to 8.1 percent and from 12.5 percent to 14.4 among young women during his administration. Women have regressed during the last four years, and many are now supporting Governor Romney.
President Obama enjoys indicting his opponents as propagators of a “war on women.” But what is truly demeaning is to suggest that the womanhood of female voters depends on his reelection, and a few newly minted goodies that will make it easier to have uncommitted sex without regard for the sanctity of life.
Just as insulting is the packaging of these views in an ad that hyper-sexualizes women and treats chastity as a quaint concept. Many Americans continue to see the value of abstaining from sex until marriage, and believe young women should not be peer-pressured into losing their virginity—just like they should not be peer-pressured to vote for a morally bankrupt President.
The sole silver lining of this revolting ad is that it represents a small step forward from the Clinton administration, for whose female supporters becoming a woman with the President was occasionally more than a metaphor.
This year will be My First Time voting. It will be nothing like Lena Dunham’s First Time.
Luciana E. Milano ’14 is President of The Harvard College Anscombe Society, a student organization at Harvard that endorses premarital abstinence and sexual integrity, upholds the institution of marriage and the family, and advocates for true feminism.