Lena Dunham, the precocious creator and star of the hit HBO show Girls, has taken an unconventional route to encourage young people to vote in the 2012 presidential election. In keeping with her character's preoccupation with relationships and sex, she starts out her clever new online ad, titled "Your First Time," with some suggestive lines that make you think she's talking to girls about how they should lose their virginity--specifically, with what kind of guy.
"Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody," she begins. "You wanna do it with a great guy." But soon enough it's clear that the guy she's referring to is President Barack Obama, and what she's talking about doing for the first time is voting. She quickly runs down some of the key issues that have separated Obama from his opponent in this campaign and that have made him the right choice for young women: health care, birth control, same-sex marriage, equal pay for equal work.
Despite the tongue-in-cheek approach, it's a serious, heartfelt message she's trying to get across: Young people can make a difference in this election by voting. And they should care enough about the issues that affect their own lives to take action and vote for the candidate who's going to stand up for the things their generation believes in.
And who better to reach those young voters than Lena Dunham, a 26-year-old woman who's become a darling of the twentysomething hipster set? They're exactly the kind of people whose fashionable cynicism often makes them feel like there's no point in voting. Hopefully Dunham's popularity and wit will make them change their minds. The video already has more than 275,000 hits on YouTube, so maybe it will. Pretty cool.
Pass it on!