I haven’t had the time to blog lately, so I wanted to jump back into things with a super short post on Lena Dunham. This is just something I wrote on my notes app one night last week, so my thoughts aren’t fully fleshed out, nor are they particularly well assembled. I was thinking a lot about Lena Dunham after she defended an accused rapist and had one of her Lenny Letter writers quit, citing “hipster racism.” Dunham has been doing and saying problematic things for years, and although I really wanted to be a fan (she’s an outspoken writer/director/producer and I look up to that) her work has consistently rubbed me the wrong way.
One of the things that has always made Lena Dunham’s work a bit difficult for me to digest (beginning with Tiny Furniture, even though I enjoyed it overall) is that her very wealthy artist New Yorker background is so much a part of her storytelling. Her film, TV series, and writing is always about white girls, but specifically elitist, posh, rich white girls, which is a subject matter I quite honestly find b-o-r-i-n-g. If I’m going to watch a show about rich kids, it better be melodramatic bliss! Because there’s nothing worse than hearing wealthy twenty-somethings whine about being misunderstood intellectuals. Beyond that there’s also this sense in her work that creativity and intellect equates rich whiteness (again, rich-artist-NYC-whiteness), which has always felt icky to me.
Despite my issues with her oeuvre, for a while I was inspired by the fact that she’s a woman making things and getting noticed for it, but there are so many other women to look up to for that. Lena Dunham has said and done so many racist, sexist, classist things throughout the years, and it’s reflected in nearly all of her work. I never understood why a wealthy white woman drawing from such a narrow and privileged pool of experience wanted so desperately to be the face of feminism. I think it’s time for her to quit trying to be someone she’s not and move on from that image she’s cultivated for herself.
I’d love to hear from you – be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below! And if you have any ideas about who or what I should write about next, let me know!