The Republican Party has a long history of putting its foot in its collective mouth when it comes to basically any issue concerning women. So, it’s pretty troubling that the leader of their young people is already calling dibs on that problem — especially since that leader happens to be a woman.
Last week, the College Republican National Committee launched a $1 million digital ad campaign in 16 states aimed at young, obviously female, voters. The group’s chairwoman, Alex Smith, calls them “culturally relevant,” but I think we can agree they are pretty stupid.
The ads are modeled off TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress,” and feature the same scene over and over again with different Republican candidates’ names patched in. The bride to be can choose between a stylish dress, named after the Republican candidate, and a frumpy dress named after the Democratic candidate (like, OMG! Get it?!?!?).
“It might appear to be silly on the surface, but there’s absolutely a deeper meaning that will resonate with young voters,” Smith told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s representative of how Democrats treat young voters – they take them for granted.”
Sorry, Smith. There is a definite line between “silly” and straight up sexist. These ads fall on the wrong side of it.
The ads feature a pouty bride intent upon finding her perfect dress, and a mother, who is eccentric and bitter and likely a fresh recipient of divorce papers. According to the ads, voting is just like choosing between an obviously pretty dress and a clearly hideous alternative — because that’s easier to understand than actual policy, right ladies? Women don’t want to know things! They want to try on pretty dresses!
To top it all off, the six candidates they’ve made these ads for are all male. Every one of them.
Since you probably (definitely) don’t want to watch these ads and take in all of their complete absurdity, I’ve copied down the script for every single one of the six wedding-related ads they’ve made so far (and will presumably continue to make):
Open on Brittany, a recent college grad who is getting ready for her big day. “Budget is a big deal for me now that I’ve graduated from college,” she says.
Cut to happy Brittany, wearing her perfect dress. “The [INSERT REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE NAME HERE] is perfect,” she says. “[INSERT REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE NAME HERE] is becoming a trusted brand. He has new ideas that don’t break your budget.”
Says narrator, “But mom has other ideas.” Cut to scene of tired-looking woman likely on anti-depressants with frizzy red hair and a frantic scowl. “I like the [INSERT NAME OF DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE HERE]. It’s overpriced and a little outdated, but I know best!” she squawks at the camera.
Enter horrified bride-to-be in a frumpy dress and a massive veil.
“And don’t forget,” says the salesperson, “the [INSERT NAME OF DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE HERE] comes with additional costs. There’s [INSERT BASIC LIST OF BAD THINGS SPECIFIC TO DISTRICT HERE].”
“But I’ll be paying this off for the rest of my life!” whines the bride. Foot stomp.
“We cannot let her walk out of the voting booth like that!” says the maid of honor, Tiffani (with an I), sassily to the camera.
Cut back to the bride in the frumpy dress, who is finally confronting her mother: “Mom, this is my decision. And I see a better future with [INSERT REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE NAME HERE].” Cue triumphant, dress selection music.
And the narrator closes us out with, “Sometimes it’s hard to let go of old styles, but it all worked out in the end, because Brittany said yes to [INSERT REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE NAME HERE].”
The silver lining here is that College Republicans is being hammered on all sides for this. Time Magazine called it “The Most Sexist Ad of the Year,” and Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder — who had this ad made for him without his permission — even called it “dumb and offensive.” Snyder may be pretty behind when it comes to women’s health issues, but hey, at least he recognizes how sexist that commercial is.