What is there left to say about Mindy Meyer?
In case you somehow haven't heard, Flatbush resident Ms. Meyer is running as the Republican candidate for the State Senate against incumbent Kevin Parker. She is young (22) and an Orthodox Jew, but that's not why she's made the national news.
That honor goes to her campaign website, which looks like a teenager assembled it in 2003, down to the sparkly text and automatically looping pop music (in this case part of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.” If you are unfamiliar with this song, beware of the ear-worm). The political message itself is unremarkable, but stick it next to a photo of Meyer dressed as Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games and you have yourself a viral hit. The campaign has been the subject of blogs and newspapers alike over the past few days, mostly with a tone of bemusement and patronization that is unfortunately all too understandable.
Political beliefs aside, Meyer frustrates me. She was inspired by Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, (which was an easy guess to make before she said so), but following her is like watching that movie with a new ending, where it turns out that Elle should never have left her sheltered life and is not cut out for a career in law.
Unlike Elle Woods, Meyer is extremely Jewish. She appears to cover her elbows and went to yeshiva and seminary. There are a handful of Orthodox-Jewish politicians, but few of them are women. And if Legally Blonde taught us anything, it’s that discrediting a woman for being hyper-feminine is just as sexist as assuming that that is the only acceptable way for a woman to act.
By taking on the mantle of Elle Woods, Meyer has to deliver. Her leopard-print “Diva” moniker grabs attention, and subsequently raises the stakes for her campaign. By identifying herself as a young Jewish woman, Meyer opens herself up to anti-Semitism as well as sexism, and while that is never warranted, she should be prepared to battle compounded prejudices.
When Meyer finally made a televised appearance on (Fox News’ Good Day New York) on Wednesday she was generally inarticulate, and also failed to identify photos of NY politicians (including Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos). At that moment, she played directly into expectations.
The media has a short attention span. Meyer is going to have to do something new in order to stay in the public eye through November. The best (and most surprising) idea would be to follow through on being “Legally Brunette,” and prove to be an intelligent politician despite stereotypes surrounding her age, gender, and ethnicity.
Or she could just add more leopard print to her website.
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