Lena Dunham's Rachel Antonoff Commercial Imagines a Girl President


There are lots of recommendable things about Vote Audrey, a short film directed by Lena Dunham to promote fashion designer Rachel Antonoff’s collaboration with & Other Stories. It’s bright, it’s bubbly, it features our very own Collier Meyerson. The story of a young politico (Zoe Kazan) who, despite discouragement, fantasizes about becoming president, the short is the perfect marriage (or—let’s be cool here—domestic partnership) of feminism lite and commerce. Throw on a tennis skirt, wear a boxy, pastel crop top, and you too can do anything!

We can recognize that there’s a positive message behind Vote Audrey, but that doesn’t make it any less weak. This, if anything, is the updated version of the Spice Girls’ “girl power!” brand of feminism from the ‘90s—flashy, fashionable, and so unchallenging that it’s easy to sell. Audrey, when voted into office, makes her mom the First Lady, talks about how “awesome” it is to live in the White House, and spends her time with an all-female Supreme Court, advocating for small animals. To me, these things seem like very good reasons to vote against Audrey, but maybe that’s just because I think the president would have more important things in mind than (admittedly adorable) dresses with pointed-flat collars and (admittedly adorable) bunny rabbits. You know, nuclear codes and public policy stuff.

But honestly, who cares if this imagination of a female presidency is a little condescending. This is fantasy. This is a commercial. (Yes! Remember that! This is an advertisement!) Whether or not this now-popular brand of commercialized feminism is beneficial, I don’t know and I have mixed feelings regarding it (on the positive side, it accesses more people, but—whoops—it’s also ideologically empty), but I am sure that there’s far more damaging stuff out there (stuff that doesn’t even try to feature Collier), so it seems fair to take Ask Audrey for exactly what it is—a pretty and creative ad full of cute girls in cute clothes.

But, whatever you do, please don’t actually vote for Audrey. There are plenty of women who would make great presidents. She is not one of them.

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