Lena Dunham Makes Sex Joke, Conservatives Hysteria Ensues

What Women Really Think
Oct. 26 2012 10:53 AM

Lena Dunham Ad Brings Out the Crazies

Amanda Marcotte Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

Lena Dunham has done an ad for the Obama campaign aimed at young female voters in which she cheekily explains that your "first time" should be with Obama, because he actually supports your rights. She means first time voting, but of course the joke is that it sounds like she's talking about your first time having sex. Dunham's considerable charm drives the joke home.

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But really, what makes this entire thing so funny is the unhinged, crazy reaction it's gotten from the right. It's as if the Obama team is the ultimate troll, expertly goosing conservative anxieties about the growing ranks of young single women with ambitions outside of getting married. Not that it's hard to figure out how to push their buttons: Throw up an accomplished single woman who doesn't blush at the mention of sex, and watch the frothing begin.

First up: Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review, whose reaction has a nice dose of "nuh-uh, my mom says that the real cool kids are the ones who don't do it" to it:

Beyond awkward. I’ll borrow her “super uncool” and raise it. Of course, in its way it is totally appropriate for the administration that thinks all women care about is mandated birth control, abortion, and sterilization coverage and that those of us with moral objections are bitterly clinging to an outdated understanding of what’s healthy, for democracy (religious liberty), in our lives.

Reading conservative responses to this ad, I realized how similar grown adults in this country can be to middle school Twilight fans as they picture losing one's virginity with the same combination of fear and cheesy romanticism. Take, for instance, Ben Shapiro of Big Government

So she chose to do it for the first time with Barack Obama, since he “cares about and understands women.” In fact, he understands them so well that he exploits them for insane commercials comparing losing your virginity with voting. Obama has young daughters. But that didn't stop him from releasing this commercial. Because this is what Obama thinks of your daughters. This is Obama's official campaign ad. Paid for with his campaign money. Distributed by his campaign. If this ad were any more demeaning to women—who apparently care only about having sex, if you listen to Lena “You Want To Do It” Dunham—it would be produced by Bill Maher and star Bill Clinton.

Are we talking about politics now, or is this yet another instance of a khaki pants-loving weenie announcing that women are broken because they pick the sexy guys over the "nice" guys that will respect you into a life with four kids and no orgasms?

My favorite reaction, however, came from this diarist at Red State, who characterizes Dunham as having been raised in an "over-sexualized household" and whose post neatly sums up why this sort of trolling-with-single-women works every time. 

There seems to be no low to which President Obama will sink in his desperate attempt to win reelection. One has to wonder, is there any point at which the main stream media and the public get some self-respect and toss out this loser? First he asked for your wedding gifts, then your yard sales and now he has asked for your daughters.

Your daughters. What more is there to say? Sexy young white women are the rightful property of Republican men, and Obama is stealing them from you and filling their heads with this ridiculous notion that they own themselves. Of course, the cause and effect process is being reversed here. The truth is that women already have heads full of their own notions. The Obama campaign is simply following their lead and, as you do in politics, giving the voters what they want.

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