Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why I'm Done With Dunham: article

If you’re in and around my age, you’ll remember when “Girls” first burst onto our screens in 2012. You’ll remember the quirky edginess of the show on the whole, and relating to the tribulations of the twenty somethings of it all. You’ll remember chats with your friends debating if you were a Hannah or a Marnie, and getting angry when they said the former. You’ll remember coming to terms with being a Hannah. Embracing it. Finding Lena Dunham’s Twitter and thinking “YES, this girl is chubby, and funny, and cool -- she’s who I want to be!”
You’ll remember becoming increasingly critical until you, like me, are done with Dunham. The creator of “Girls” has become increasingly more controversial in the past year or so and less relevant for it. Far from the mousy-haired, dry-humoured 23 year old I knew and loved, Dunham is now a figure of…well, pity, to be honest.

When did my love for Dunham go sour? Well, it started with a blogpost that detailed some criticisms of “Girls” – its lack of diversity, it’s “poor little rich girl” philosophy and it’s heavy-handed dealings with mental, sexual and physical health issues. Now, I’m no social justice warrior but elements of the show had started to make me uncomfortable – if Dunham was the so-called “voice of a generation”, then why did she cling to so many stereotypes in her work? With “Girls”, Dunham has expressed a desire to normalise the female experience; but massively expensive apartments and poorly-sketched “issues” weren’t doing it for me, So I stopped watching “Girls”, but continued to follow Dunham’s musings on Twitter. After all, it’s not fair to judge the artist on the art.

I stuck by Dunham through silly comments on feminism and LGBT issues: while Dunham is a staunch supporter of marriage equality, tweets like “I’m gonna be the first straight women to French kiss the first openly gay NBA player” leave a bad taste in my mouth. Her feminism is the same brand peddled by many a celebrity: it’s light-hearted, it advocates empowerment through sexuality, and more often than not, it misses the point. Dunham says in a recent interview “I just think feminism is my work. Everything I do, I do because I was told that as a woman, my voice deserves to heard, my rights are to be respected, and my job was to make that possible for others”. The issue is that we can hear her voice and it’s drowning out the marginalised voices; the voices that don’t have a TV show, a book and a mega-famous name to help them along.

Last month, Lena Dunham released the aforementioned book “Not That Kind of Girl”. It’s entered book charts across Ireland, Britain and America in the top ten. It’s garnered it’s fair share of criticism – from oversharing (not so bad) to slander against a man she claimed sexually assaulted her. Most oddly, she has recently been accused by a right-wing website of child abuse as detailed in her book. She took to Twitter to defend herself and as of November second, has cancelled her European leg of her book tour, presumably to work out what to do next. Whether the abuse allegations will stick or not, only time will tell. What I do know, however, is that this is the final straw. I haven’t watched “Girls” in a long time, but regardless, Dunham peppers my Twitter and Facebook timelines like nobody’s business. There’s no escaping her, and I’m tired of it. I’m tired of her faux-feminism, silly comments and incessant fame mongering. If there’s an add-on that allows me to blacklist her name, do let me know. 

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