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ObamaCare's pajama hipster ad is weak. But the backlash is much worse.
Exploiting hipster stereotypes is one thing. Devolving into homophobic attacks is another.
 
Not a great look for ObamaCare.
Not a great look for ObamaCare. (Barack Obama Twitter account)

There's nothing like the holiday season to bring out the best in people. And by best, I mean the exploitation of millennial stereotypes for political gains, and the subsequent slew of horrible homophobic attacks. Truly, this is Obama's America.

A Christmas Card-looking ad featuring a twenty-something male clad in pajamas has become the latest face of the Obama administration's pitch to millennials on health care. Less than 24 hours after the president's account (@BarackObama) tweeted the image out, it has also managed to launch a mini-battle over modern-day conceptions of gender and sexuality.

ObamaCare supporters have been assiduously courting millennials through a variety of misguided and awkward ads. In comparison, this one isn't so bad. Sure, the flannel and somewhat smug look on his face is a painfully obvious attempt to create a hipster aesthetic without realizing that: 1) most millennials aren't hipsters; 2) many millennials despise hipsters and being stereotyped as such; and 3) hipsters aren't the millennials Obama needs to worry about (that is, if we broadly define hipsters as being tech-savvy, left-leaning folks who are painfully aware of their own mortality at the age of 25).

Also, the idea that millennials are going to get cozy around the fireplace to discuss health care is pretty lame — like Dad-joke lame. You can wrap ObamaCare in a bow and dip it in spiked eggnog, but discussing health care is not going to be a new holiday tradition.

But for all the ad's glaring faults, some ObamaCare opponents decided to attack the ad with low blows. Many of the attacks mocked "Pajama Boy" for not being sufficiently masculine or sexually appealing to women.

Fox's Andrea Tantaros tweeted:


Conservative pundit Dana Loesch tweeted:


This was also a representative tweet, from Jimmy Simpson @informedblackmn:

And then there's this lovely parody of the ad telling the pajama-clad man to "butch it the fuck up, Sally."

The attacks have come under criticism for their subtle and not-so-subtle homophobia. Philip Bump at The Wire discusses how "the tweet turned into a big mish-mash of gay and weak and Obama and ObamaCare" by combining a bunch of sophomoric attacks with a homophobic mentality.

See, he's gay, this guy in pajamas, because if you like pajamas and hot chocolate, you are gay. When you portray the American male in this way, you are saying American males are weak. Whereas American men used to be portrayed as fighting men marching off to war now "government propaganda" consists of dudes in pajamas talking about girlie things like health insurance. [The Wire]

And as despicable as these homophobic slurs are, the more general attacks on millennials as unemployed, spoiled, and incompetent brats are also offensive.

Like this parody tweeted by @OrwellForce:


Or this one with the hashtag #GetOutOfMomsHouse:

But before conservatives get too giddy, it should be noted that 67 percent of younger Americans came out and voted for Obama in 2012. This is a demographic that is also overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage. Indeed, some pundits have warned that the GOP could lose an entire generation of voters who wind up identifying with the Democratic Party.

So laugh now. With that kind of alienating attitude, Obama's supporters can peddle as many crummy ads as they want.

 
Emily Shire is chief researcher for The Week magazine. She has written about pop culture, religion, and women and gender issues at publications including Slate, The Forward, and Jewcy.

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