March 21, 2016

Dear Lena Dunham: Here’s Why, As A Feminist, I Am Not Voting For Hillary Clinton During The Primary Season

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Lenny Letter
Lenny Letter

Hey Lena,

We do not know each other at all, and frankly, I bet we never will.

You are a multi-million dollar, money making machine and globally celebrated author and screenwriter. I am a girl who makes jokes online for a living with around 900 twitter followers (a lot of which are porn bots but hey, beggars can’t be choosers). You have a hit show on HBO, and I just ate pretzel sticks I dipped in Trader Joe’s Pesto whilst hoping my computer was charged. You go to the Emmys in Zac Posen dresses, and I wear the same Forever 21 sweatpants several days in a row without washing them.

You and I couldn’t be in more different places, yet, we also couldn’t be more of the same person.

You are a person who has dealt with body image and weight issues, I have too. You are someone who has very publicly said ‘fuck you’ to society about their expectations about women, and I eat and say whatever I want no matter where I am or what I’m wearing. You have gotten a lot of hate for being who you are, and on a much smaller scale so have I. You very openly discuss your anxiety, and I’m currently in therapy to get mine under control.

And for what it’s worth, I’m so, so sorry you went through that. And I hope you’re okay.

But (going back) also, you are very excited and passionate about the upcoming Presidential election. You are very vocal and involved in it and are clearly making it a priority.

And so am I.

I think it’s great that you are so involved politically and are so passionate. I really do. It would be so easy for someone of your social status and place to just chill until November 8th, but you haven’t. I think that’s very admirable.

You’ve been incredibly involved and astronomically vocal about your support of Hillary Clinton and Lena, as a fellow American who is excited about politics, I feel very inspired by your activism.

But, Lena, as a woman who has observed how adamant you are about women sharing their stories centering around sexual assault, I feel conflicted with your political backing and your choice.

Let me explain my thinking.

You yourself came under an enormous amount of scrutiny for sharing your story of sexual assault so publicly and unapologetically in your book last year. And not only as a fellow survivor but as a WOMAN, I so so so SO applaud you for that. I applaud your bravery, I applaud your candidness, I applaud your willingness to share such an uncomfortable story in an attempt to make other women MORE comfortable in sharing their own.

What I can’t applaud though, is your unapologetic and unwavering support of a candidate who on numerous occasions, has attempted to silence or simply not acknowledge women for the very same act that you demanded attention for in Not That Kind Of Girl.

In your piece for Buzzfeed you said that you felt “inspired by all the brave women who are now coming forward with their own experiences, despite the many risks associated with speaking out.” Lena, were you not inspired by Juanita Broderick? She has been nothing but brave and spoken about how she was assaulted, attacked, violated, silenced, and shamed by the same people you stand behind. And she has been continually treated that way simply for doing what you said inspired you: speaking out.

Weren’t you inspired by Paula Jones? Paula was so adamant about getting justice for herself she took it to court. Did you know that 74% of assaults go unreported and never make it to a courtroom? That means Paula was so desperate for justice, that she was in the minority for actually talking about what happened to her.

Were you at least inspired by Gennifer Flowers? The affair, the relationship, was one that he even ADMITTED to. After both he and his wife tried to lie about it, tried to cover it up, they no longer could hide it; they COULDN’T silence it. She is living forever now as the girl who had an affair with the President, and we just get to stare. Weren’t you even a little inspired by her bravery to publicly shame herself in order to tell her story?

You have to accept sometimes that people you think you know, are not deserving of the pedestal you place them on.

And a woman like Hillary Clinton, who has statistically not supported women in telling their stories like you so claim you are behind, does not deserve that pedestal.

Lena, you said it best when you said, “Survivors have the right to tell their stories, to take back control after the ultimate loss of control.” And that’s exactly what those women were attempting to do. What they CONTINUE to attempt to do. When you use your celebrity status to back a political personality/candidate who does not share the same ideals, you are silencing these women.

Maybe not directly, maybe not with your own palm, but make no mistake you are absolutely silencing them.

You are saying, here is how unimportant what happened to you is. You are saying, I do not care. You are saying, this is not relevant. You are saying, I’m over it and you should be too. You are saying, let it go because I said so.

Lena, I think you are probably a good person, and a good feminist. But your support of Hillary Clinton, despite her own lack of support for women who are victims of sexual assault, is one that I cannot accept.

Why can’t I accept it?

I feel that you are trying to silence those women, that you are trying to ignore their stories. And I worry that if you find it so easy to ignore their stories, it would be equally as easy for you to ignore mine.

I hope that I’m wrong, and I hope that you have answers.

But when you support a woman who does not believe in people telling their stories, when you say that she is “everything you want for this country” that scares me.

Because Hillary Clinton does not just have no support for Juanita Broderick, Paula Jones, or Gennifer Flowers. She doesn’t have support for other survivors of sexual assault. When she silences one, she is really silencing us all.

And that, Lena, includes you.

Kendra Syrdal, Survivor. (No matter what anyone, political or otherwise, says.) TC mark

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