If you've been following the headlines without bothering to click the stories, you've probably heard a lot about this new "war on women." And if you don't know exactly what's going on, you might be wondering why everyone has been talking about some politicians' battle against the unholiest of enemies: the double-X chromosome.
But let's be real: Even if you haven't been keeping up with this oppressive, women-hating rhetoric, you probably don't have time to really delve into it for midterm season. So, North By Northwestern brings you all you need to know about the issue in our favorite format: a YouTube list of the top five "war on women" political ads.
5. In this ad, the group She-PAC, which is dedicated to helping elect "principled, conservative women running for federal office," corrects all those socialist, Obama-loving feminists. "2012 isn't going to be a war on women," it tells viewers. "It will be a war by women."
Um. I'm not totally sure how a war by women is too much better than a war on women, considering it still means a war. That's a little confusing. But I do like the fact the PAC posted the video with the title "NOT FINAL OR FOR DISTRO." Also, it's pretty apt that the ad highlights the true enemies ("GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTHCARE!" and "Obama-Reid's agenda"), not, you know, the slashing of funds for women's preventative healthcare. Thank God they figured that one out for us.
4. In an ad for Tom Barrett, challenger of the much-maligned current Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, the group "Women for Barrett" uses footage of the would-be governor in a compelling speech in which he uses the exclamation "POW!" after almost every sentence. The best part? A woman's face isn't even seen in the ad until the last five seconds. This seems like a counter-intuitive (read: ineffective) way to appeal to the state's women after the sausage fest that has been Governor Walker's administration.
3. This ad attacks Pennsylvania's Republican legislative candidate, Ryan Mackenzie, on the grounds that he would support a bill similar to what was passed in Virginia, in which a woman is forced to watch an ultrasound image before ending a pregnancy. The emotional music underlying the incredibly somber subject matter takes the shitstorm of the last couple months of punditry and condenses it to the viewpoint of a victim of domestic abuse.
Amid some of the more laughable "war on women" TV plugs, this is a pretty effective one that looks at the individual effects of a victim-punishing system.
2. In this gem, which isn't a political ad – it's definitely not coordinating with the Stephen Colbert Super PAC – everyone's favorite late-night political personality declares the beginning of a "beautiful war for women." As per usual, Colbert speaks the capital-T Truth – with a splash of characteristic humor, referencing how each party is "fallopian-it-to-win-it," in perhaps the best political pun ever involving a woman's reproductive organs.
1. In probably the most unsettling political ad this writer has seen — and this one was a doozy — MoveOn.org's "GOP War On Women" ad that came out in March shows a group of women of different ages and races repeating the disturbing statements of Rick Santorum, Rush Limbaugh, et al. This one trumps all the previous ads with its use of women who I like to imagine aren't even professional actresses — they just genuinely seem to share the disgust and backlash that's notably lacking after these talking heads have made their various misogynistic statements.