It has always been tough to defend Lena Dunham, and it may be even tougher after her latest scandal. In June, this author wrote an opinion piece at the Observer that defended Dunham.
“It’s easy to dislike Dunham. However, those who ridicule the star need to take a look in the mirror and ask why Dunham threatens them so much. What have they accomplished with their lives? Have they even tried anything? Lena Dunham doesn’t always hit the jackpot with her efforts, but at least she isn’t afraid to try.”
The article led to many death threats from both liberals and progressives, who agreed that Dunham has always been nothing but an opportunist and hypocrite. It’s taken almost six months to realize that their sentiments about Dunham are correct.
The latest Dunham scandal appears as actress Aurora Perrineau has accused Girls writer Murray Miller of assaulting her when she was only 17. Dunham took no time in releasing a statement to support the man who wrote her brilliant show. According to Vanity Fair, Dunham released a statement on Friday evening.
“During the windfall of deeply necessary accusations over the last few months in Hollywood, we have been thrilled to see so many women’s voices heard and dark experiences in this industry justified,” Dunham’s statement reads, adding that while her first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, she is confident (and sad) that this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.
The backlash on Twitter was swift.
Teen Vogue summarizes a lot of people’s feelings about the situation.
“People on social media are pointing out that Lena has been extremely outspoken about the importance of women coming forward about sexual assault,” says columnist Emma Stefansky, adding that her statement is coming across as hypocritical, especially because she has strived to make feminism her brand.
To be more specific, Lena Dunham has tried to make victim feminism her brand. As much as she has empowered young women to not be ashamed of their bodies, she has also constantly displayed her victim status. For example, just three years ago, Dunham blamed right wingers, rather than herself, on the accusations that she molested her sister. But Lena Dunham’s own story in her book made it very hard not to accuse her of wrongdoing.
As BuzzFeed noted, Dunham wrote a passage in her biography where she talked about casually masturbating in bed next to her younger sister, bribing her with three pieces of candy if she could kiss her on the lips for five seconds. Then, there was a passage where Dunham talked about experimenting with her younger sister’s vagina. Not only did Dunham vehemently deny the charges of sexual molestation, but her sister did as well. Still, not many were convinced.
This time, Lena Dunham’s mistake isn’t so much believing the writer of her show. It’s even possible that Murray Miller is actually innocent. But as an activist who says we should always believe accusers, Lena Dunham’s response was not only hypocritical, but opportunistic as well. Any PR executive would concede that, for now, Lena Dunham should have just said that she has no comment on the situation. Sure, she would be accused of not caring about another woman who was allegedly assaulted, but the damage would be far less.
Lena Dunham really had a lot to offer in this world of misogyny. But instead of helping the feminist cause, Dunham has helped destroy it. If she didn’t pretend to be a feminist spokesperson, the damage wouldn’t have been as bad. If the latest controversy ends Lena Dunham’s career, the world would be a better place because of it.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]