Lena Dunham is no stranger to controversy, and — unsurprisingly — her latest role in an ad for the Obama campaign has critics divided.
Dunham, the 26-year-old creator and star of HBO’s much discussed series Girls, works her wit in a minute-long video in which she discusses her “first time.” Her first time voting, that is.
“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anyone,” Dunham says in mock earnestness to the camera. “You want to do it with a great guy.”
In the extended metaphor, Dunham urges viewers to “do it” with “someone who really cares about and understands women.” Even after revealing the ad’s double entendre, Dunham continues to draw the comparison between casting your first ballot and losing your virginity. She describes her first time voting as “amazing” and says it was the “line in the sand” that transformed her from a girl to a woman.
In an appeal aimed squarely at young voters, Dunham says the next four years are akin to 150 years “in college-age time.”
The actress and auteur, known as much for her frequent onscreen nudity and tendency to create a social-media stir as for her actual work, has been both lauded as the voice of a generation and derided as vulgar.
President Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted the link to the clip on Thursday, writing, “Your first time voting is important. Trust @lenadunham — you are ready.”
Some conservatives, however, are less than thrilled. Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro condemned the video as “astoundingly tasteless.” Erick Erickson, a CNN contributor and editor of the conservative blog Red State, wrote that the ad is “further proof” that Obama has “cheapened the presidency.”
Dunham, who attended Oberlin College in the swing state of Ohio, is keeping her postvideo commentary on message, tweeting, “The video may be light but the message is serious: vote for women’s rights.”