With a little more than a month before the midterm election, Republicans seem to be worried their party's message might not be resonating with young, female voters. In an ill-advised move, they're using reality shows and wedding dresses as bait for their attention — because women are simple creatures who require difficult things like "politics" to be explained to us in ways that are familiar.
I don’t need feminises what do women want? nobody knows! do they want spaghetti? do they want equality? do they want koalas? nobody can know— WomanAgainstFeminism (@NoToFeminism) October 1, 2014
Paid for by the College Republican National Committee, the one-minute ad, part of a nearly $1 million campaign launched in 16 states, features girls doing what apparently the GOP believes all girls do: trying on wedding dresses, with "hysterical" moms fretting in the background and a "sassy black friend" around to offer serious advice.
Watch out, ladies, this might go from being a Say Yes to the Dress to Girlfriend Intervention.
The twist is each dress — and stay with me, ladies because I know the metaphor is a tough one — represents a political candidate. In the ad, the young, white recent college student is looking for a wedding dress, while also evoking the gubernatorial race in Florida. The bride-to-be tries on Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, but "see[s] a better future with Rick Scott," the Republican incumbent.
"The Rick Scott is perfect," she exclaims while looking at herself in the mirror. "Rick Scott is becoming a trusted brand. He has new ideas that don't break your budget."
College Republican National Committee chairman Alex Smith told the Wall Street Journal that the intent behind the ad is to "reach the generation that has their earbuds in and their minds turned off to traditional advertising."
The GOP knows what women want, and what they want is TLC!
Image Credit: YouTube
"It's our goal to start the conversation by presenting ourselves in a culturally relevant way," Smith said. "It might appear to be silly on the surface, but there's absolutely a deeper meaning that will resonate with young voters. It's representative of how Democrats treat young voters — they take them for granted."
Not surprisingly, the ad has quickly become a laughingstock, garnering similarly negative reviews to the recent "Dating Ad" campaign, which compared President Barack Obama to an abusive boyfriend. This is bad news for Scott — the most recent polls numbers show him slightly trailing his Democratic rival — but it's part of a larger trend in terms of Republican attempts to woo a key demographic.
Indeed, ThinkProgress reports that "a recent poll commissioned by Republican groups found that most women think of the party as 'stuck in the past' and 'intolerant,'" something that may likely have contributed to the party's losses in the 2012 elections.
This ad is not going to help, unfortunately.
"If Republicans want their 'woman problem' to go away, they need to stop being such a problem for women," Jessica Valenti wrote in the Guardian. "Stop the ongoing attacks on our bodies and health. Stop the stupid comments about rape. Stop questioning our ability to cast a vote. Actually … just stop."