I’ve read all kinds of posts on the Lena Dunham debacle. At first, I thought surely people were overreacting. I mean, come on, it’s Lean Dunham. She’s made her name by pushing the envelope, by making us go to those unpleasant and uncomfortable places. Seriously, did anyone want or need to see her running around 80% naked for most of all the seasons of Girls? Of course not but we watched anyways. In her own weird, melodramatic, neurotic way she is really endearing. She’s slightly annoying and incessantly talking to hear herself talk but there is something about her that makes us feel better about ourselves.
The problem with Lena Dunham is that she reminds us a little too much of someone we might know or worse, someone we might be or were or might be one day. I’m chunky, I’m pale and I do not dance around the house naked. I wish I could. I can’t because I’m so screwed up that I can’t even love my own damn body. I try, I do but I fail, over and over again. It is a battle that I can never win. In that way, I am envious of Lena Dunham. She is intelligent, articulate and obviously, pretty fucking comfortable in her own skin. I envy anyone who can honestly love themselves like that but in other ways, she is wounded ( ain’t we all).
Which brings me to the next and more pressing matter, her new book, Not that Kind of Girl. She shocks us. I think most of us expected that, right? She is the kind of person who takes the truth and shoves it in your face and holds you there daring you not to look away. She forces us to see what we might otherwise go through life ignoring, because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just easier that way. However, this time her in your face approach has gone too far. She’s tapped into something that has down right freaked people out.
Now, as someone who tells the truth on a the regular, I know that it is scary. 50% of the time, people will hate you, mock you and fear you. 100% of the time, they will judge you. But 50% of the time, they will support you and let me tell you, that support is priceless so we take the risk. Maybe they’ll read it and get to see a hidden side of us and embrace it or maybe they will see a hidden side of us and turn away in disgust and anger because we should have known better and just kept it to ourselves. Believe me, I’ve been there too. You have to learn to take your lumps like a grown up and have a mature, intelligent discussion. I try to rise above it because sometimes I might learn something, even if it’s that I knew I was right and the other person was an idiot.
I have not personally read the book (though I do want to) but I have seen out of context passages and read many a scathing piece on the book so my post is based solely on my own deducement without all of the facts. The part about a 7-year-old Lena Dunham curiously looking into her 1-year-old sister’s vagina, I find harmless. I mean seriously, she was 7. It was curiosity and thank goodness she did, she found pebbles in the kid. Has no one asked what the hell the toddler was sticking pebbles in her vagina for? It wasn’t like Lena Dunham was fingering her, excuse my vulgarity.
Then there is the part about bribing her little sister to “rest on her” or to kiss her for 5 seconds..both of these wreak of a little girl who needed affection. Her comment,
“Basically anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.”
I honestly, think ( I Hope) was a failed attempt at humor and all of it was taken out of context. We can all sound like monsters out of context.
The situation of a 13-year-old Dunham masturbating in her own bed, after her little sister crawled into her bed while her sister was sleeping, while not necessarily appropriate was a solitary action. She was 13, she was masturbating, that is normal. Her sister crawled into her bed, it wasn’t like she invited her into her bed and then had the little sister participate. One had nothing to do with the other.
I think Lena Dunham over shared in a big, fat, freaking way but do I think she is a deviant, child molester? I don’t but then again, I am not a psychiatrist and neither are most of the people ripping her to shreds for being honest. I don’t necessarily think Dunham did anything wrong other than misjudge her audience and her own isolation from judgment. She forgot for a minute that she is still subject to the rules of the rest of us and that fickle fans and especially strangers can turn on you, just as fast as they can fall in love with you; sometimes even quicker.
I’d love to hear your opinion but I think we should leave the diagnoses to the psychiatrists.
What do you think?