Have you ever had one of those moments when you were watching something and thought “surely, this must be a Saturday Night Live skit?” You know that feeling I am talking about. On some level you are fully aware that the media you are consuming is intended to be serious, but it is so ridiculous that a tiny part of your soul is hoping it is really satirical. If only to restore your faith in humanity…
Well, I had that experience a few weeks ago while visiting my family in Salt Lake City. My dad was watching television and I entered the room just as this commercial was airing:
At first I couldn’t figure out what the ad was for. It was weird and creepy—that much was clear. When it became evident that this was an anti-Obama add (and not some commercial for a new dating website, a PSA for interpersonal violence, nor sadly, an SNL skit) I was disgusted.
The commercial—put out by Americans for Shared Prosperity—basically portrays President Obama as bad romantic partner at best, at worst as a controlling and abusive partner. Which is troubling on so many levels. First, everything about the ad screams of a lack of respect for Barack Obama as president. Second, it undermines work being done to raise awareness about intimate partner violence. Finally, it implies that women don’t know the difference between voting and online dating and the only way they could possibly assess a politician would be to treat them like a potential date.
Really?!? Is this how the GOP thinks they are going to attract women voters?
Just in case you thought it couldn’t get worse—it does.
That’s right. The Rick Scott campaign is trying to capitalize on the popularity (?) of the show “Say Yes to the Dress.” Because everyone knows that choosing a candidate to vote for is SO TOTALLY EXACTLY like picking out a wedding dress, am I right? And since all women LOVE shopping for wedding dresses, this spin is the perfect way to attract women voters, right? What could possibly go wrong?
Other than everything.
TIME Magazine dubbed the “dress” ad the “most sexist republican ad of the year.” If these ads convey what some members of the GOP think about women when they are actively trying to reach out to them, what could they possibly think about women when that they are not saying? Frankly, that thought terrifies me!
There’s a really important election around the corner. The fact that some republicans seem to think that the best way to attract women voters is by using sexist, patronizing, and insulting messages is sad and shows just how out of touch they are. Women care about real issues and make informed and thoughtful decisions about which candidates to support.
If Republicans want to attract more women voters they should start with the basic premise of treating women like people. Just a thought.
Luckily we don't have to just watch this videos and roll our eyes. We can use our political will to send a message about what women really care about. Use your voice. Get out and vote on November 4th.
Britney G Brinkman, Ph.D.
EMPOWERTAINMENT aims to take a critical look at media in regards to how gender and women/girls are portrayed. From popular articles, videos, and websites, to original submissions, we want to not only examine the media and its relation to gender, but help shift it.