'Women's Issues': A Dangerous, Insulting, and Sexist Message

Semper Quaerens

1026-Lena-Dunham-ad.jpg_full_600“Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy,” a wide-eyed Lena Dunham tells us in an official ad for the Barack Obama campaign.

Yeah, we heard, Lena: You “did it” for the first time with Barack Obama, who made you feel like a woman.

I'm not surprised many 20-somethings think this campaign Web ad is cool and funny; young people tend to lack wisdom. But the president of the United States, who is also the father of two young daughters? If Barack Obama really does think his ad's messages are cool, he's revealing more about the way he thinks of women than he may realize.

First, it appears that if you say women voters to Obama, the first thing he thinks of is, not workers, students, parents, or people who worry about illegal immigration and high gas prices, but sex. You've probably met men like this—men who, when you discuss the economy, or terrorism, stare at your breasts instead of your face. I mean, we're worried about losing our jobs and borrowing money from China, and Obama responds with a sexually oriented ad, aimed at women, joking about how “doing it” with him is “amazing.”

This attitude goes beyond the Lena Dunham ad. Take a gander at the Obama campaign's “women's issues” page; it's almost entirely about birth control and abortion. Honestly, when a candidate treats me as little more than a collection of reproductive organs, I feel as though he's mentally stuffing me into a bustier, black net stockings, and six-inch Jimmy Choos.

Second, by approving this ad's message, Obama is also approving a dangerous subtext directed at America's daughters: that cool people treat sex as mere recreation, something to engage in without commitment when you're “ready,” whatever that means. You don't need a husband; you just need “a great guy” who “understands women.” Being a virgin is something to be ashamed of because it's “super-uncool.”

This worldview has led to one in four American teenage girls acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (which can lead to cancer and infertility) and 53 percent of all American children being born out of wedlock—kids who are much more likely to live in poverty, commit crimes, do poorly in school, and suffer emotional problems.

This is cool? This is funny?

No, it's not, but it is a reminder that worldviews have consequences. It's ironic that the worldview of Obama, who calls himself a Christian, so closely echoes that of the Playboy Foundation, which, like the president, has always gotten enthusiastically behind free birth control and abortion on demand. We know why Playboy does it—the organization views women as sex objects. Birth control removes the last argument women might offer against pressure to engage in sex with “a great guy” who claims to “understand women.” And abortion turns women into REUSABLE sex objects. But Mr. President—what's your excuse?

I scanned the Romney website, too. I can't tell you how refreshing it is NOT to see a “women's issues” drop-down menu. At last, a presidential candidate who doesn't think I'm from Planet Playtex! He thinks I'm concerned about economic growth and foreign policy and taxes, just like the guys! That's so cool.

You know what else I think is cool? A presidential candidate who thinks sex should be reserved for marriage, in part because it protects women and children, and who believes that vows should last forever. A guy who keeps his own commitment to his wife for 43 years, through five children, multiple sclerosis, and breast cancer.

A “great guy” is one who strives to support his family so well that his wife has the opportunity to take care of her own kids—something many working moms say they wish they could do.

That's why, when I go to the polling station in a few days and pull back the curtain, like Lena Dunham, I'm going to vote for the candidate who really cares about and understands women. News flash: It won't be anyone who views women as sex objects—or sells himself as one.

Anne Morse is a writer for BreakPoint.

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we give up too easily
i work as an ob/gyn nurse and daily treat young women with stds, worrying about whether they are pregnant or not and dealing /w the emotional upset over lost "love". it seems that so many teens go into sexual relationships not aware of the psychological and spiritual consequences.it almost feels that parents are saying "as long as the teens don't get pregnant, well, than what can we do? they're all doing it. times have changed" actually, times have not changed. kids are still not equipped to deal with the fall out of having sex so young. Birth control, and abortion are not remedies to this issue. Obama's ad clearly shows he has not consulted anyone who works in women's health (marketing for PP doesn't count) Excellent article, Anne !
If having control over one's reproductive organs includes the right to harm someone else, does that go for men too? Suppose I said, "You as a woman will never know what it's like to have to choose whether or not to rape someone, so mind your own business and leave that choice to me." I think you might respond that my assertion of such a "right" is leaving someone out of the equation: the victim.
Kat O, I think Anne is making the point that we women are so much more than merely our reproductive parts. And of course every woman has the choice to have sex outside of marriage, a right to birth control, and the privilege to pay for it all themselves: both the cost of the birth control as well as the consequences of intimate encounters without intimate commitment.

Why aren't men's reproductive parts huge campaign issues? They get prostate cancer and need prostate screenings. Why aren't they whining -- uh, campaigning -- for someone else to pay for these screenings and to pay for all the condoms they want?
what. the. flippin. what.
this is a really strange article... it's not like "women's issues" were something Obama made up. my reproductive organs and rights to control them have been debated a lot recently, which is why there SHOULD be a huge push for "women's issues." and they're called "women's issues" because men don't have to worry about getting pregnant or dealing with PMS. the right to have an abortion is A HUGE ISSUE, a women's RIGHTS issues, and there is a candidate threatening to take it away. to dismiss women's right to birth control as a way to encourage sex means you're turning a blind eye to women who make a different decision about sex than you. (not to mention that abstinence-only programs have been proven to be ineffective.) she's incredibly demeaning to women who do choose to have sex before marriage (OH NO!!!). and the FIRST thing i saw when i clicked on her "obama's women's rights issues" link was a video about EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK. and there are parts about expanded healthcare for women to include cervical cancer screenings, and mammograms, which men don't have to worry about, which is why they are called "women's issues." but she doesn't even mention ANY of that. i really find this article ridiculous and as a christian woman, i'm embarrassed of it. i'm not criticizing her decision to pick romney, just that THIS is the way she defends her candidate: belittling women's rights.

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