If you follow political news at all, by now you've probably heard of Julia, the character who made her debut recently on President Obama's campaign website. The "Life of Julia" page documents this fictional woman's life, from her entrance into the Head Start program at age 3, to her retirement and receiving of monthly Social Security benefits at age 67. Launched May 4, the chicly designed slideshow aims to demonstrate "how President Obama's policies help one woman over her lifetime—and how Mitt Romney would change her story." Thus, it's stoked the ongoing national argument over the size, scope, and purpose of government.

But there's more to the story of Julia than that.

A careful look at her life story reveals just how thoroughly alone Julia is. Ross Douthat of The New York Times put his finger on it when he wrote, "… She seems to have no meaningful relationships apart from her bond with the Obama White House: no friends or siblings or extended family, no husband ('Julia decides to have a child,' is all the slideshow says), a son who disappears once school starts and parents who only matter because Obamacare grants her the privilege of staying on their health care plan until she's 26."

Well, so what? Julia is just a cartoon character, after all, and not a very well-developed one at that. If the woman doesn't even have facial features, why bother giving her relationships?

Still, I submit that the perpetual isolation of Julia matters more than her designers might realize. She is, after all, supposed to represent the American woman. What does Julia's aloneness tell us about how our government, and our society, sees us American women? Nothing good, I think. Certainly nothing realistic.

We might say that Julia goes to a certain extreme because there is simply no need to show the people in her life in this context. But the result is that Julia's life is just a little too revealing about modern mores, especially when we see birth control but not a partner, and later a pregnancy (which she carefully "decides" upon, of course) but not a father. These foundational areas of Julia's life are so completely in her own hands that, apparently, there is no one else qualified or permitted to make these decisions with her.

In fact, Julia demonstrates a certain erroneous view of women that has seeped into the culture: The strong, empowered woman is one who does everything by herself—even if that version of independence leads, paradoxically, to dependence on government. But how many of us really live like that? How many of us want to live like that?

Even—or perhaps especially—some of us single women may find Julia off-putting. I can honestly say that Julia's life looks nothing like mine, and that's not just because I've never been a Web designer or stayed on my parents' health coverage until age 26.

I didn't deliberately choose the single life, but I do choose to live in relationship with other people. I maintain strong ties with my parents, my sister, my grandmother, and various cousins. I go to church and sing in a choir with people of all ages and backgrounds. I spend time and energy cultivating friendships, and strive to be a good godmother to my best friend's three children. I seek out older and wiser people for counsel and advice. At work, I ask for help from others when I need it, and offer my help in return.

I even participate in online communities with people I've never actually met in real life—a much-disputed kind of "relationship," to be sure, but still a kind that lets me interact with other people. At least we can offer each other prayer, shared laughter in the good times, and emotional support through the bad times—solaces that Julia may never need in her conquering march through life, but ones that I depend on.

I need these people in my life, and (I humbly hope) at least a few of them need me. It may be unfashionable to say, but when I'm weak, their strengths carry me through. In practical, personal ways, their support for me reflects Christ's ever-present support and love, and my need to rely on him. I would love, for instance, to muster the courage and confidence to drive myself through downtown D.C. But every time I have to ask someone for a ride, I'm reminded that I can't—and shouldn't—expect to make it through life by myself.

Douthat speculates that "in an increasingly atomized society, where communities and families are weaker than ever before, such a vision may have more appeal—to both genders—than many of the conservatives mocking the slideshow might like to believe." Maybe that's true for many, but that's all the more reason that our society—especially Christians, who understand the importance of being part of a larger Body—should be working to build stronger families and communities. Because while Julia's autonomous life may have its attractions, from where I sit, it also looks terribly lonely.