Barack Obama, Lena Dunham, and That Video

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Have you see this video? http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=o6G3nwhPuR4&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Do6G3nwhPuR4

It’s the newest tactic in the US presidency campaign. Generally, I have to admit, I have not been following this, other than to hope desperately that Obama wins, by any means necessary. The thought of Mitt Romney in the White House is terrifying.

Unworthily, I find myself hoping that if Romney wins, that the war he will undoubtedly start will be in a location that is not upwind of the UK; I know we had fallout when Chernobyl exploded, but this will undoubtedly be worse. If someone’s country is going to be covered in radioactive dust I don’t want it to to be mine. No, I’m not proud of that thought.

Note: Please, Mr Putin, if you are reading this blog, remember that you, at least, are a mentally-competent adult. It’s your responsibility to remain calm and think of the future of your country (i.e., that it should have one) and that of the rest of the world (ditto) even under extreme provocation.

Anyway, back to the video. In it, Lena Dunham extols the virtues of voting, saying that a girl’s first time should be with someone special; someone who cares about her as a woman; who cares that she gets health insurance and birth control, etc. She says, not to vote is not cool – who wants to have to admit that they haven’t done it yet? Voting is the watershed between being a girl and being a woman.

OK, three guesses regarding what she is comparing voting to?

OK, only one guess.

Republicans are apparently up in arms about the appalling bad taste of equating voting for the first time with losing your virginity. Personally, I think there are two real reasons why the Republicans don’t like this video:

1. The Democrats thought of it first. I mean, watch it. It’s clever. It’s funny. And it’s very, very accurate. And it’s a Democrat video.

2. The video portrays a woman’s body, and her sexuality, as her own possessions, which she can share with the man of her choice, or not, as she decides.

Lena Dunham gets to choose who to vote for, and she votes for a man she respects and admires. The implication is that when it comes to virginity, a woman also has the right to choose with whom she will lose it. She has the right to say no; she has the right to examine her available partner-options and select the one she feels is the best. And not for any trivial reasons, either. Lena is thinking long-term; she wants a man who will treat her as a person to be valued, not as a sex object. Voting, and having sex with someone, is not a decision to be made lightly or for the wrong reasons. Both are rites of passage in a young woman’s life, changing her from a girl (whose parents make decisions on her behalf) to a woman, in command of her own fate, including that of her country.

Why is this bad? Why do the Republicans think treating voting, and sex, as important decisions is somehow wrong? Is it, perhaps, that they think that women should not be free to choose their sexual partners in such a way – a choice between Mr X and Mr Y – and that a woman should give control of her body to her husband, so that her only options are to agree to what he demands of her, or have nothing at all?

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