As November approaches, she’ll become so ubiquitous that you’ll swear you know her. You overhear her conversations with her husband, you see the concern on her face as she balances a baby on her hip while musing aloud about the future of Medicare. Barack Obama wants to take my baby’s piggy bank, she’ll say, in a less reasonable moment, and give all of the money to a poor person who will use it for drugs and flat screen TV’s. What kind of a man is he? She is worried, very worried, about the economy, about jobs, about social issues, about everything, and probably not much fun at parties. She could easily be your sister, mother, neighbor. She could be you. She’s the Concerned Woman character in political ads, a largely blank slate onto which female voters are supposed to project themselves. But who is she, really, when she’s not worked into an approachable lather about Pell Grants? Does she really buy what she’s selling, or is she just propaganda-ing herself straight to the bank? For years, I’ve wondered the same things — and so I set out to find her.
Finding the Concerned Woman wasn’t easy. The political ads you see on on TV or hear on the radio emerge from their own swirling, churning universe of an industry consisting of thousands of media consultants, thousands of onscreen and voiceover actors, staggering amounts of money, and a hell of a quick turnaround time. As a result, the political information disbursement industry tends to operate as its own rather insular entity; come election season, no one has time to quibble with Girl Reporters geeking out about voiceover actors.Share on Facebook