Lena Dunham’s recent success with her book, Not That Kind Of Girl, has been overshadowed by the unfortunate controversy regarding whether or not she admits to be a participant in incest and child molestation from personal stories she describes in the book. The absurd accusations started when two conservative media sources published their opinions on the matter. If you would like to view those they can be found here and here.
While some of Dunham’s descriptions — like comparing herself to a sexual predator, which people are quick to point out — might be odd, the wording can easily be reduced to her general quirkiness and her background and education in studying literary fiction. Most people who are jumping on the anti-Dunham bandwagon have never read the book and are simply quoting one or two sentences floating around online.
The two story lines people take most issues with involve Dunham’s younger sister, Grace. In the first, Dunham describes being only 7 and curious to see if her sister has the same “parts” as herself. Lena takes a peak at her younger sister and runs away and screams after she sees her sister has placed rocks in there. People have ran with this story most, accusing her of sticking the rocks in herself, refusing to believe Dunham’s account of the story is how it really went down.
The second story line that bothers people is that Dunham admits to masturbating when she was a young teen while her sister slept next to her. While this can be considered odd to most, Dunham’s sexual curiosity is nothing unnatural, and at no point when reading the novel did I ever think, “This woman is a sexual predator.”
In fact, this book speaks out on sexual assault, and many people are quick to overlook this, simply because they haven’t even read the rest of the essays. So what it comes down to is, why are people so quick to hate Dunham, and have this deep desire to pin her down as a sexual predator even if it is an outrageous claim?
1. Her sexual freedom has made many people uncomfortable and has been up for much controversy long before this, ever since she wrote and produced her hit HBO show GIRLS. Dunham is known for walking around on her show naked and being comfortable in her own skin, despite not being what America’s culture has deemed as acceptable, and having sexual escapades with multiple partners. Of course this outrages a lot of more conservative folks but it makes one wonder how this differs from Samantha’s character from HBO’s former hit Sex and The City. I think the real issue here is that many people are uncomfortable about Dunham’s self-expression because they do not know how or feel they cannot do the same in their own lives.
2. Her social class background has brought a lot of outrage toward Dunham. People take issue with the fact she comes from a successful family and that because of this, they feel this is the only reason Dunham has found success, and don’t feel she has earned all that she has. To be honest, I even had this initial thought, and someone pointed out to me, that had I the same resources I would most likely take advantage of them as well. People also forget that Dunham went to college and studied writing. Her parents may have helped with this university tuition but they didn’t write her scripts that produced a hit television show. What it comes down to is jealousy. Not many people have been offered the same luxuries as Dunham has in her life but it’s not her fault she was born into a good family.
3. Her success as a woman, as obvious as this may or may not be, is the main reason why people are threatened by Dunham. Despite how much progress women have made within equal rights there is still a long way to go. The fact that people are so quick to find fault in Dunham, no matter how extreme it might be, is a great example on a smaller scale in regards to what it wrong with society today. It’s worth noting that more can be said about the people who go great lengths about quickly buying into this accusation and being insistent on supporting its cause than about Dunham herself.