I guess the Republicans are going to win the Ladies’ Vote now

How can they not be dazzled by this ad?

I shouldn’t have even shown it to you — now the women who read Pharyngula will abandon the place, swayed by the hip appeal of conservative values. You’re all thinking about wedding dresses all the time, aren’t you? The Republicans think it’s so potent that they’ve made six different versions, just changing the name of the candidate. I understand cynicism has lots of sex appeal with the Lady Vote.

Oh, no, I just realized — my daughter is getting married in the spring. She might think the Argument from Wedding Dresses suddenly has currency, leading to Familial Estrangement.


  1. Tigger_the_Wing, asking "Where's the justice?" says

    That is one of the creepiest campaign advertisements I have ever had the misfortune to see.

    Thanks a lot, PZ. Where’s the brain bleach?

  2. says

    I couldn’t watch much of it, but Yechchch!!!

    PZ, we expect you to suffer this sort of stuff for us and reprt back in a restrained manner, isn’t that why you get the big bucks???

  3. Chris J says

    So the big appeal to women is… a glitzy commercial about picking out the right wedding dress just after graduating from college? I mean sure, what else would a woman do with a degree? Have a career? Psh, ha ha ha!

    Don’t even bother discussing any issues, just pick the candidate you thought was “perfect” by looks alone and don’t let your crummy old out-of-touch mother tell you otherwise.

    They were really banking on the second dress looking worse than the first one, so now I’m wondering whether there’s any interesting insight to be gleaned by comparing the two.

  4. dick says

    Of course, it goes without saying, taxes are a bad thing. (To Rick Scott & his ilk, that is.)

  5. says

    Did you also notice how the add never says what Rick Scott alternatives are to the bad stuff they see in the program of their opponent? Probably because they don’t have any alternatives.

  6. says


    I can’t see the video.

    Be grateful. Apparently, the ad is modeled after a reality TV show called ‘Say yes to the dress’.

    It’s modeled after TLC’s popular show Say Yes to the Dress, except it’s called “Say Yes to the Candidate” and the “dresses” in this case are Rick Scott and Charlie Crist.

    “The Rick Scott is perfect,” says our blond and youthful heroine, Brittany, admiring herself in the mirror while wearing a wedding dress, which is a thing Republicans have heard women like to wear. Her friends ooh and aah. But mom, who is of course a harridan because she dared age past 35, has other ideas. “I like the Charlie Crist,” she says, as we see Brittany—an undecided voter, by the way—in a frumpier dress. “It’s expensive and a little outdated, but I know best.” Ominous music.

  7. says

    As for that ad…great flaming balls of shit, that was one of the stupidest things I have seen. Very insulting, too.


    You’re all thinking about wedding dresses all the time, aren’t you?

    Pffft, I didn’t have a wedding dress when I got married.

  8. carlie says

    Do Democrats have an undercover operative at the RNC who suggests this stuff? Because that’s the only thing that makes sense to me. And yes, Republicans, yes. Keep doing what you’re doing. Do it more. Make a Real Housewives spinoff commercial next, comparing Atlanta to LA. DO IT.

  9. marcus says

    Well I guess we might as well roll up the tents and go home. How can we possibly fight such a devastatingly brilliant ad campaign. We’re done.

  10. Moggie says

    It would be interesting to know what research went into these ads. Did they just have the bad luck to ask only women whose poor ladybrains overheated when discussing real issues?

  11. says

    It’s modeled after TLC’s popular show Say Yes to the Dress

    Ah, that kind of explains the… erm… “thinking,” then. So it’s not only patronising as hell (“Politics! It’s a fashion choice! You ladies understand fashion, right?”) but it’s also one of those vicariously embarrassing “politician does pop-culture” things.

  12. 2kittehs says

    I watched the stupid thing with the sound off. If I didn’t know otherwise, I’d have thought Bride’s Mother was the Republican, shoving Bride into the pure-pure-pure dress with sleeves and froufrou and all, instead of that slutty mcslutster strapless number.

  13. methuseus says

    Honestly, I liked the second dress better, personally. It’s beautiful, and has such detail. The other one seems pretty boring and plain. You’d think Republicans would go for the more ornate…

  14. Saad Definite Article Noun, Adverb Gerund Noun says

    Campaign slogan: The nuptial posture is to some degree intrinsically female.

  15. nomadiq says

    We can laugh and mock an ad campaign like this all we want. It certainly deserves it. But I fear we still live in a world where this ad will appeal to many women because of the upbringing and expectations imposed on them. I know a number of women who may very well lap this sort of shit up. Fortunately (???) they are republican or republican leaning anyway.

    So I don’t think the ad is designed to sway voters, it is designed to make sure unenthusiastic republican (or neutral) women go out and vote — for the sexy candidate. The sort of woman who watches “Say yes to the dress” rather than read Michelle Bachman’s latest book or ‘cares’ about Benghazi.

    What I’m saying is, it will win votes.

  16. U Frood says

    Sorry, if we’re supposed to pick our candidates by looks like dresses, I’m going to have to go with Crist.

  17. 2kittehs says

    I didn’t like either dress, but what I would like to see is the candidates having to model them.

  18. boyofd says

    I think the criticism of these commercials might be overstated a bit. As mentioned above, these are based upon a relatively popular show where the purpose of the show is to “choose” between a few different dress options to find the one that is the perfect fit. Given that, it is obviously a pretty easy target for parody and use in a campaign ad. I don’t think it was created with the purpose of appealing to stereotypical shallowness in women, but to prey upon the popularity of “hip” new show (actually old enough to predate Obama’s presidency and to have a couple of spin offs and several copy cats).

    Now, Republicans are being pretty tone deaf in choosing a show that plays upon the shallowness of choosing dresses for candidate comparisons, and it is terrible that they have nothing better to appeal to women than to wink and say, “We know about that show you like so much, too.” But those aren’t new revelations.

  19. closeted says

    When the music first started, I thought that, yes, my wife might appreciate this. Then I realized I was watching the car ad before the actual video.

  20. drst says

    nomadiq @19 – I’m dubious that this will be effective at all except to generate mocking. I doubt it would sway any undecided female voter in Florida. I doubt anyone who hasn’t already decided to vote for Rick “Governor Bat Boy” Scott (&copy Charles Pierce) is going to see this and find the message compelling enough to make a choice.

    Possibly I just want to believe that women have a basic level of concern about actual issues, no matter who they vote for, so that this kind of bs would have no impact.

  21. pHred says

    Well that was one of the most offensive ads I have seen in ages. WTF? Certainly brings in a new level of content free political advertising.

    I am with @21 2kittehs Let’s start stuffing the candidates into ballgowns. I am not sure I could handle the swimsuit competition.

    Oh – I got it. They can do one like in Phineas and Ferb where the contestant use the elastic to slingshot the suits across the stage going to distance.


  22. frog says

    I guess the point of these ads is to appeal to the women who’ve already bought into the Republican bullshit to some degree? The women who proudly call themselves “anti-feminist” and think the reason any woman becomes a lesbian is because she’s too ugly to get a man.

    Most advertising isn’t to convince to you buy a product. It’s to convince you you’ve made the right choice to begin with and should stick with the product. The Republicans aren’t trying to win over new support; they’re trying to hang on to the women they have left.

  23. nomadiq says

    drst @ 24

    You could be right. As I’m a liberal male I may very well completely misunderstand how a female swing voter would think. But I still maintain that ads like this may still encourage voting in otherwise apathetic women who lean right and identify with the contents of the ad. And to be honest, it will probably also have an effect on some apathetic men who just need a ‘sexy’ reason to vote too – they have to stop that women going to her wedding in the ugly dress!!! The ad appeals to the most base and juvenile parts of our brains and I suggest the politically apathetic spend more time there than even the active right and conservatives. The right at least (???) use their brains to generate bizarre rationalizations and aren’t swayed by cheap antics. They already have very involved antics going on in their heads.

  24. drst says

    nomadiq @ 27 – I don’t see this ad appealing to even “the most base and juvenile parts of our brains.” Scott Brown’s “the ISIS terrorists are coming to New England!” ads, however ridiculous they are, are an appeal that would go to that part of the brain (“Be afraid and vote for me!” which is pretty much the Republican position on everything), but this? I don’t see any kind of social appeal for belonging (“all the smart/cool people are doing the thing”) going on. It’s advocating rebellion against parents rather than obedience (the ad doesn’t want the daughter doing what her mom tells her to do) so it’s not pulling the family group identification card either. It’s a young, conventionally attractive straight white woman, so there’s no appeal to varied social groups (a constant problem for the GOP).

    From a communications perspective, it’s just not working on any rational line of appeal, except a highly stereotyped and largely irrelevant gender appeal, one that is so artificial and outdated I suspect most women will find it insulting, Republican or not. This is a repeated problem with the GOP outreach to women – they just did this same thing in the “Obama as the abusive boyfriend” ad that showed up last week. Their only concepts of women seem to revolve around 1950s era stereotypes, and they build media strategies based on these things.

  25. twas brillig (stevem) says

    It’s just a silly ripoff of that reality unscripted show: Say Yes to the Dress. It is an attack ad, in that it only says the bad things about Crist and says nothing bout Scott, other than “he looks good”. I see very little to lament here, other than it being a sleezy ripoff. Can we really extrapolate that this commercial implies that the Repubs think all women only watch unscripted girly shows? [yes the Repubs think so. Based on all their other comments about women]
    ugh, were was I going? Those girls in the dress shop so distracted me… ^_^

  26. 2kittehs says

    pHred @25

    I am with @21 2kittehs Let’s start stuffing the candidates into ballgowns. I am not sure I could handle the swimsuit competition.

    Gods no. Bad enough with Putin running around topless or Abbott running around in budgie-smugglers. There’s only so much horror the human mind can take.

    nomadiq @27

    As I’m a liberal male I may very well completely misunderstand how a female swing voter would think.

    Not like the sort of fluff-brained stereotypes the Republicans think of, anyway. I’ve been a swing voter – at least torn between which party was less vile – here in Oz, and any party that tried that shit on me would be getting a lot of angry and insulting emails for their trouble, as well as losing any chance of my vote forever.

  27. drst says

    Whoops, correction: I completely ignored the “token black friend” at the end there, so there is (some) attempt at diversity in the ad. I was focused on the mother/daughter stuff.

    Although I suspect the “token black friend” role will not function as an appeal to POC voters in Florida very well.

  28. says

    This was actually created by College Republicans, which traditionally think of themselves as “edgy” and “controversial.” The CR organization is frequently used to convey offensive messages so that the Republican Party can brush it off as kids being silly. The College Reps are known for drug use, parties, and inappropriate behavior towards women. At least that was the case among the College Reps I’ve had contact with.

    So it’s more subtle, at least from the Republicans point of view. Give them a few more hours and it will satirical and all in fun.

  29. 2kittehs says

    College Republicans? Sounds like the Young Liberals here – the most obnoxious, silver-spooned, racist, sexist and homophobic scum the LNP has to its name, outside the ones already in Parliament.

  30. says

    twas brillig:

    Can we really extrapolate that this commercial implies that the Repubs think all women only watch unscripted girly shows?

    Oh, well, wimmins. Our brains are pink wedding cake and lace.

  31. machintelligence says

    The Colorado version is even funnier, since the candidates are Hickenlooper and Beauprez.

  32. freemage says

    ThinkProgress had an article on this ad. I’m’a gonna pull a quote from there:

    CRNC chairman Alex Smith told the Wall Street Journal that these are only the first of several ads meant to make the Republican Party seem “culturally relevant” to “the generation that has their earbuds in and their minds turned off to traditional advertising.”

    He can’t even phrase the description in non-negative terms. He has to use the ‘minds turned off’ phrasing, rather than, say, ‘the generation that has grown resistant to more traditional advertising campaigns’.

  33. says

    It’s modeled after TLC’s popular show Say Yes to the Dress

    Ooh, ooh.. Naked reality TV shows are getting popular now, I want to see the conservative “Dating Naked”, or “Naked and Afraid” ads. Our, maybe “Buying naked”, I am sure they could push a whole stupid assed commercial on taxes, and expenses, and stuff using “Buying Naked”. lol

    Seriously though.. I don’t know why so many of these people are apposed to legalization of pot, unless the real problem is that they are only legalizing pot, and not what ever the fuck worse shit they are actually smoking in the RNC.

  34. Tethys says

    Laidies! Are you an undecided swing voter ? Please watch this message from the same group that gave us “binders full of women.” and “legitimate rape”. Now that you have gone to college for your MRS degree and gotten a token black friend it’s time to fulfill your civic duties/breed. We know that choosing a candidate is hard due to your inherent mindlessness and the earbuds/ovaries, but really, it’s just as easy (and important) as buying a wedding dress. Look at the pretty shiny dresses! No princess wants to be seen wearing the wrong dress. You’re welcome, and vote for us! /sarcastic voice-over I have never heard of the vapid television show that served as the template for this ad. I applaud the Repubs decision to make self-satire. May the derp be with them.

  35. says

    As I commented when I saw this on Facebook, I’ve actually seen that show (I, too, have a daughter getting married soon), and one of the first questions each bride is asked is some version of “how much are you ready to spend?” Not entirely inapt as a way to offer Republican candidates, but probably not what they were going for, eh?

  36. John Horstman says

    Obviously to get ladyvotes you need to appeal to ladybrains. I hear the estrogen vibe is a popular vector for doing so, but how do we know where to rank wedding dresses on the estrogen-vibration scale? Perhaps Sam Harris could provide us with a scale and a validated method for measuring estrogen vibration. (I’m not sure I’m ever going to get sick of flogging this particular horse; also, don’t tell Michael Nugent that I used a violent metaphor of horse abuse – I don’t particularly fancy a scolding.)

  37. Mobius says

    I think that if I were a lady-type person, I’d be seriously insulted by that ad. Really, Republicans, this is your idea of connecting with women?

  38. Rich Woods says

    @Iyeska #10:

    Pffft, I didn’t have a wedding dress when I got married.

    Neither did I.

    It would have clashed with the beard.

  39. ck says


    Well, I think we should just be happy they edited out his story about his trip to Morganville with an onion tied to his belt.

  40. blf says

    It would be interesting to know what research went into these ads.

    A reasonable ad-agency set of research producing sensible suggestions. The thugs realizedrationalized the results / suggestions were “skewed”, and so used Rmoney’s successful example from the last election, and simply made a few minor corrections…

  41. shadow says


    Well, I think we should just be happy they edited out his story about his trip to Morganville with an onion tied to his belt.

    Because that was the style at the time?

  42. boyofd says

    To add to those indicating how appropriate this ad actually is, let me quote a hilarious comment from the fark.com thread about this same ad. I think it is perfect:

    “Voting GOP and Finding a Wedding Dress…

    You will have to choose from a wide selection of what are varying shades of white
    You will be asked to come up with more money than you intended
    You will be uncomfortable as you seek to make your selection “fit” how you like
    Even when you come to loathe the white, expensive, still-not-quite-right selection you will run out of time to change your selection, throw up your hands, and hope for the best.
    Afterwards, it is most often found in the deep end of the closet
    Lastly, done correctly, this choice will be passed down to your daughter who will marvel that it ever fit you as she plans to alter it to suit herself.

    I mean, I get it – can’t even be insulted by it – I just whispered “Queen Elizabeth the first” and sighed”


  43. anteprepro says

    Christ, an attack ad that doubles as a “Say Yes to the Dress” “parody”? What!? Why the….WHAT!? What the fuck were they thinking? A prime example of conservative humor as well, as well fucking political acumen, in making a fucking attack ad about a fucking reality show about fucking wedding dresses. We are plumbing depths I never even imagined possible.

  44. PaulBC says

    Not gonna watch it, but I read comments and looked up related articles so I think I get it, but maybe not.

    I’m a little confused. Aren’t Republicans the “family values” party? Aren’t you supposed to listen to your Mom’s advice? Maybe that goes away if you were born into a liberal family…

  45. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    Notice how the champagne bottle is pointing towards the women’s faces when the cork is popped. Clearly these are not responsible champagne owners.

  46. toska says

    No! Why did I watch it! The wedding dresses are overtaking my silly, frivolous ladybrain!
    ::Wedding dress programming activated. Assimilation in progress::

  47. fleetfootphilo says

    Offensive to women? Uh-huh…
    (Very) Mildly funny? I guess…
    Likely to change a single person’s vote? Not a chance…

  48. closeted says

    The College Republicans may make a silly parody, but the adults get straight to the point:

    “TELL the Misses not to wait up because the after dinner whiskey & cigars will be smooth and the issues to discuss are many,” read the invite to an all-male fundraiser in March for Steve Southerland, the Republican seeking re-election in Florida’s second congressional district.


  49. psanity says

    kellym @50

    If my wedding dress gave me a forced transvaginal ultrasound, I’d demand a refund from David’s Bridal.

    Damn straight. And there you have it — Repubs think their problem is presentation, but it’s product.

  50. says

    I was laughing at this, then I thought No!!!!! This was my daughter, this is going to work.

    At the last British election my daughter was twenty and planning her wedding. I (and my mother, pillar of the local Labour Party) had done the ‘you’re very young, marriage is hard to get out of, why not wait a while,’ talks and were desperately clamping our teeth down on the ‘he is an idiot, you will grow out of him in under a year’ rants.

    At the same time she was flirting with voting Lib Dem in the election and all our advice that it would be a wasted vote and would just let the Tories in was treated with the same ‘You are boring, and just don’t understand and are trampling on my dreams,’ as our advise about the wedding.

    I mean its not exactly the same but that’s who they are targeting – the politically unaware daughters of mostly blue collar life-long democrats who want to assert their independence from their parents. It puts parental disapproval of their voting choice on the same level as disapproval of watching trashy reality TV.

    So how to counter this? The Democrats run a counter ad where the girl takes the dresses home to show Dad and he goes into a slutty, slutty, slut rant. Gradually his face morphs into that of the local Republican candidate. Tagline – ‘The Real Face of Republicanism.’

  51. 2kittehs says

    Rich Woods @42

    @Iyeska #10:

    Pffft, I didn’t have a wedding dress when I got married.

    Neither did I.

    It would have clashed with the beard.

    Dammit, where’s your sense of adventure?