a few more words about the Lena Dunham thing, because the response I’ve seen to it has been bugging me just as much as her tweet itself:
- Mocking the hijab is not funny, and it’s incredibly insensitive. This is not up for debate, I agree.
- White people are dumb sometimes. We make unfunny, cruel jokes. We don’t think about how other people will perceive our words. We’re bigoted, both unconsciously and consciously. We forget that, on a wide scale, we come from a place of cultural and social privilege.
- We should absolutely get called out when we say stupid, insensitive things. We shouldn’t get a free pass because it was “ironic”.
THAT BEING SAID:
- One rude joke does not make Lena Dunham a bad person. It does not negate the many things that are positive and important about her work. It does not make her a “self-absorbed little shit”. It does not mean that the internet’s free to mock and attack her for the shape of her body (because apparently that can of worms will never be closed).
- All it makes her is a privileged, flawed person who said something hurtful that she shouldn’t have.
ON A SIMILAR NOTE:
- Valid criticisms of Lena’s work: It presents a very limited and specific perspective on life. It’s not inclusive. I don’t see my cultural identity and personal experiences represented.
- Invalid criticisms of Lena’s work: Because my cultural identity and personal experience is not represented enough in pop culture, including in her work, her work is terrible and shouldn’t exist. She’s a fat, racist little shit who is only successful because of nepotism . Her specific experiences are invalid and don’t matter. If you see yourself, your perspective, and your experiences reflected in her work, you’re a waste of space too.
There’s SO MUCH whitewashing in pop culture. A lot of it in works that don’t even have any other qualities and validities to their names. I just don’t understand why Lena Dunham has to be the figurehad against which the internet rallies. I don’t understand why her work specifically has to be the centre of the fight.
It’s like because it’s progressive in a few ways - namely in its representation of (a limited, specific type of) young womanhood and sexuality - the internet’s expecting it to be progressive in EVERY way. Jesus Christ, go rail about Friends and How I Met Your Mother and Sex and the City and every other TV show set in New York that’s unrealistically and exclusively Caucasian.
I hate that when a girl makes extremely personal (and intelligent, and emotionally observant, and hilarious) art about her experiences, she’s self-absorbed. God knows how many guys have made highly personal, semi-autobiographical, narrow art and no one’s taken them to task for it.
I think I just feel so strongly about this because I feel a strong affinity towards Lena, (in ways that I absolutely understand are specific to my background and not everyone shares.) I’m a white, half-Jewish, only-semi-attractive, slightly neurotic daughter of artists who aspires to be a filmmaker. I don’t revere Lena as a goddess or anything and I absolutely recognize her shortcomings, but because she and I are so similar and because she’s achieved things I’d love to achieve, I feel especially protective of her and upset by the unjust vitriol she’s been the target of.