Whatever you think of Lena Dunham, or the actual efficacy of the playful voter turnout ad she cut for President Obama in which she compares voting for the first time to losing your virginity—which, if you’re a civics nerd, may be a more valid comparison than even she intended—it really is kind of amazing to watch Erik Erikson lament that “If you need any further proof we live in a fallen world destined for hell fire, consider the number of people who have no problem with the President of the United States, via a campaign ad, ridiculing virgins and comparing sex to voting.” Or to see Minnesota Republican deputy chairman Kelly Fenton declare that the ad is proof that President Obama and Vladimir Putin share Satan as an adviser. Not to mention the sadly predictable comments raining down on Dunham’s appearance and weight.
I just hope someday we live in a world where Dunham and company can someday extol the virtues of having your first time with a great guy or girl. Someone who might have something to say about that is Lesley Gore, who after years of making teen pop songs about heterosexual romance in 2004 revealed that she’d been with her partner since the early 1980s.
I don’t know if it’s scarier to be fighting the same battles that were on the table in the 1960s, or the fact that we still don’t have a national Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Either way, the prospect of losing ground on either women’s issues or gay rights in this election is pretty horrifying. For those of us who see the potential for concrete losses in our future, it’s not so unreasonable to see the person who will guide the country for the next four years as just as important as the first person you have awkward, first-time sex with.