Last week the Obama campaign released an ad by Lena Dunham. It was aimed at young female voters — in the clip, Dunham coquettishly compared voting for the first time to a woman losing her virginity. It was clever and winning. Conservatives immediately went on the attack, appropriating the language of liberals and slamming the Obama campaign for the ad’s purportedly “weirdly paternalistic” undertone.
I loved the ad yet I had to recognize that the right’s attacks on it weren’t completely off-base. Today, there’s a raft of ads, photographs, television shows, films, and T-shirts, which represent young women being defined, but always ironically — with a wink and a nod — by their sexuality and/or bodies. I think we should call this new strand of culture Hipster Sexism.