Lena Dunham, the creator of the popular television series “Girls”, has declared that she will not return to Twitter until it becomes a “safe space,” according to National Review.
Dunham called for “more barriers” to be put in place to prevent the “violent harassment” of women.
“Many internet media platforms — social media platforms — have to be putting more barriers in place for what is ultimately the violent harassment of women.”
The actress and screenwriter declared her belief that the Twitter environment has become so toxic and negative that introducing barriers (eg. removing the accounts of “trolls” and users who post negative remarks) will actually assist free speech.
Dunham expressed a fear that online violence could spill over into “real world” violence: “just because it’s not face to face doesn’t mean it’s not extremely dangerous emotionally, doesn’t mean it couldn’t transfer to something really kind of terrifying in the real world.”
National Review spoke out against Dunham’s call to reform Twitter, saying that an entire social media platform should not be overhauled for the sake of a few fragile people who can’t take the heat.
“[If she’s found that she can’t [handle negative comments], then that’s completely understandable. But the thing is, she’s already found the solution: Stay off of it. Demanding that an entire platform be changed — and something as important as our free speech be restricted — because you personally cannot handle it is about as offensive as it gets.”
Dunham made her remarks during a forum hosted by MORE Magazine. First Lady Michelle Obama and actress Julianne Moore also participated.
Huffington Post – Lenda Dunham Dances In Her Sports Bra In New 'Girls' Teaser https://t.co/tMAr0nbBXb
— ユリ ユキ (@Yuriusu) November 2, 2015
Dunham admitted that she still has a Twitter account, but it is managed by a professional.
“I think it’s important to remember that threats are more than someone saying I’m going to come to your house and I’m going to hurt you. Insulting someone’s appearance, insulting someone’s religion, or their race, you know, all of that to me constitutes a threat and I think we can make changes to how we control that dialogue on the internet without threatening our First Amendment rights.”
Dunham has long been a figure of controversy. Spiked magazine identifies the outspoken actress as the figurehead for what they call “TMI (too much information) feminism.”
Spiked‘s Ella Whelan argues that the frank depictions of female sexuality in Girls, and the bodily functions fixation that Dunham occasionally demonstrates in both her TV show and her writing, are not progressive but backwards.
“There is nothing wrong with keeping our periods, body hair and breast milk to ourselves. In fact, private life should be kept private. Not because we shroud the female body in secrecy, but because no one else should care about your body except you.
The original aim of women’s liberation was to fight for a woman’s right to leave behind the dishcloths, baby bottles and kitchenware of the private sphere and be as much a part of the public world as any man.”
Whelan concludes by slamming Dunham’s newsletter for feminists, which contains the sort of frank, body-positive and “TMI” content spiked is critical of.
Whelan accuses the body-positive, self-disclosing feminist followers of Dunham of being self-obsessed.
“Dunham’s newsletter is aimed at young women and media feminists that are so self-obsessed they truly believe their bodily fluids deserve to be political issues. Most normal women want to be defined by what they do, say and think, not what goes on under their clothes.”
Dunham has attracted a deluge of criticism following her remarks. Daily Caller encouraged the Girls actress to toughen up and directed Dunham to a flow-chart posted by rival feminist Christina Hoff Sommers, which gives advice on how to deal with a Twitter spat.
What college students need to know. Captured in this simple diagram: pic.twitter.com/ujINjMwszQ
— Christina H. Sommers (@CHSommers) January 31, 2016
[Image by AP Photo/Seth Wenig]