Anguished over the results of the election, Lena Dunham reneged on her promise to move to Canada, instead seeking consolation and spiritual advice from the vortices and red rocks of fashionable Sedona.
Best Liberal Reactions to Election Contest, 2: Lena Dunham: “I Ached in the Places That Make Me a Woman”
You knew that Lena Dunham was going to compete.
Actress and Hillary Clinton campaign surrogate Lena Dunham has broken her silence after the Democratic presidential candidateâ€™s loss to Republican Donald Trump earlier this week, describing in a blog post the agony of being at Clintonâ€™s election night party in New York City and insisting that she â€œnever truly believedâ€ that Trump could win.
The 30-year-old Girls actress, who had hit the campaign trail repeatedly for Clinton for months leading up to the election, described waking up on Election Day feeling â€œrosyâ€ and â€œthrilled,â€ only to see the good feelings evaporate hours later at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, when the election returns came flooding in.
“At a certain point it became clear something had gone horribly wrong. Celebrantsâ€™ faces turned. The modeling had been incorrect,â€ Dunham wrote in an essay for her Lenny Letter blog. â€œWatching the numbers in Florida, I touched my face and realized I was crying. â€˜Can we please go home?â€™ I said to my boyfriend. I could tell he was having trouble breathing, and I could feel my chin breaking into hives.â€
Dunham said she left the party early and was informed of Clintonâ€™s loss when a friend called and told her.
The actress wrote that as a result of her support for Clinton throughout her campaign, she received â€œthreats and abuseâ€ at a level she could never have imagined. However, she remained hopeful that her detractors represented â€œthe dying moans of the dragon known as the patriarchy being stabbed again and again in the stomach.â€
We believed that on November 9, theyâ€™d be licking their wounds while we celebrated. It is painful on a cellular level knowing those men got what they wanted, just as itâ€™s painful to know you are hated for daring to ask for what is yours. Itâ€™s painful to know that white women, so unable to see the unity of female identity, so unable to look past their violent privilege, and so inoculated with hate for themselves, showed up to the polls for him, too. My voice was literally lost when I woke up, squeaky and raw, and I ached in the places that make me a woman [Emphasis added], the places where Iâ€™ve been grabbed so carelessly, the places we are struggling to call our own.
They forced P.J. O’Rourke to write about “Girls” and Lena Dunham.
I had my 14-year-old daughter, Poppet, instruct me in how to watch an episode of Girls on my computer. (Turns out â€œcontentâ€ is not completely â€œfree.â€)
Two seconds into the opening credits I was trying to get my daughter out of the room by any means possible. â€œPoppet! Look in the yard! The puppyâ€™s on fire! Quick! Quick! Run outside and roll him in the snow!â€
It turns out Girls is a serialized horror movieâ€”more gruesome, frightening, grim, dark, and disturbing than anything thatâ€™s ever occurred to Stephen King.
I have two daughters, Poppet and her 17-year-old sister Muffin. â€œGirlsâ€ is about young people who are only a few years older than my daughters. These young people, portrayed as being representative of typical young people, reside in a dumpy, grubby, woeful part of New York called Brooklyn, where Ms. Dunham should put her clothes back on.
I lived in New York for fifteen years. No one had been to Brooklyn since the Dodgers left in 1957.
The young people in Girls are miserable, peevish, depressed, hate their bodies, themselves, their life, and each other. They occupy apartments with the size and charm of the janitorâ€™s closet, shared by The Abominable Roommate. They dress in clothing from the flophouse lost-and-found and are groomed with a hacksaw and gravel rake. They are tattooed all over with things that donâ€™t even look like things the way a anchor or a mermaid or a heart inscribed â€œMomâ€ does, and theyâ€™re only a few years older than my daughters.
The characters in Girls take drugs. They â€œhook upâ€ in a manner that makes the casual sex of the 1960s seem like an arranged marriage in Oman. And they drink and they vomit and they drink and they vomit and they drink and they vomit.
Itâ€™s every parentâ€™s nightmare. I had to have a lot to drink before I could get to sleep after watching this show about young people who are only a few years older than my daughters.
Read the whole thing.
Lena Dunham, the Millennial generation’s most conspicuous gift to our culture, published (September 30) a collection of personal essays, Not That Kind of Girl, in which, Amazon claims, she “shares what sheâ€™s learned on her path to self-awareness.” Just think, all that!
This morning, on Facebook, Charlotte Allen (who writes frequently about contemporary etiquette and morality) was linking a posting in which she blows her top over Lena Dunham’s account of being “raped.”
I took some guy home when I was drunk and he didnâ€™t use a condom.â€ But he was a Republican, so that made it rape!
Actually, in her own account, Lena gets triple high: booze, Xanax, and cocaine, before deciding to go home with a stranger.
And he makes a good argument:
Miss Dunham, reflecting celebrity culture at large, makes a fetish of voting, and it is easy to see why: Voting is the most shallow gesture of citizenship there is, the issuance of a demand â€” a statement that â€œthis is how the world should be,â€ as Miss Dunham puts it â€” imposing nothing in the way of reciprocal responsibility. Power without responsibility â€” Stanley Baldwin would not have been surprised that Miss Dunham and likeminded celebrities think of voting in terms of their sex lives. Miss Dunham, in an earlier endorsement of Barack Obama, compared voting in the presidential election to losing oneâ€™s virginity â€” you want it to be someone special. Understood that way, voting is nothing other than a reiteration of the original infantile demand: â€œI Want!â€
As a procedure for sorting out complex policy issues, voting is of distinctly limited value: If you wanted to know whether the compressive strength of a particular material were sufficient to support a bridge over Interstate 20, you would not go about solving that problem by bundling that question with 10,000 other equally precise and complex but largely unrelated questions, presenting the bundle of questions to the least-informed few million people you could identify, and then proceeding with whatever solution 50 percent +1 of them preferred. That would be a bad way to build a bridge â€” a homicidal way, in fact â€” and though it is a necessary instrument of accountability in a democratic republic, voting properly plays a very limited role. For instance, we have a Bill of Rights, which could with equal accuracy be called the List of Stuff You Idiots Canâ€™t Be Trusted To Vote On. A majority of Americans donâ€™t like free speech? Too bad, Harry Reid.
But for Miss Dunham et al., this isnâ€™t a question of citizenship â€” itâ€™s a therapeutic matter. Voting, she promises, will offer â€œa sense of accomplishment,â€ knowledge that one has done the right thing, even â€œjoy.â€ But checking a box is the most trivial accomplishment imaginable; having done so is no guarantee that one has done the right thing, inasmuch as voters routinely make bad decisions for evil reasons; and one suspects that Miss Dunham means something different and less by â€œjoyâ€ than did, say, Beethoven or Walt Whitman. â€œI wore fishnets and a little black dress to vote,â€ she writes, â€œthen walked around with a spring in my slinky step. It lasted for days. I can summon it when Iâ€™m blue. Itâ€™s more effective than exercise or ecstasy or cheesecake.â€ And that of course is the highest purpose of our ancient constitutional order: to provide adult children with pleasures exceeding those of cheesecake or empathogenic phenethylamines.
Hat tip to Darleen Click via Karen L. Myers.
Oberlin’s most famous alumna, Lena Dunham, appeared in Vogue this month, prompting Jezebel to offer a $10,000 reward for copies of the pre-Photoshopped images of Dunham.
Vogue [now] has a woman who rightfully declares that her appearance, with all of its perceived imperfections, shouldn’t be hidden and doesn’t need any fixing. Lena Dunham has spoken out, frequently, about society’s insane and unattainable beauty standards. Dunham embraces her appearance as that of a real woman; she’s as body positive as they come. But that’s not really Vogue’s thing, is it? Vogue is about perfection as defined by Vogue, and rest assured that they don’t hesitate to alter images to meet those standards. It doesn’t matter if any woman, including Lena, thinks she’s fine the way she is. Vogue will find something to fix.
To be very clear: Our desire to see these images pre-Photoshop is not about seeing what Dunham herself “really” looks like; we can see that every Sunday night or with a cursory Google search. She’s everywhere. We already know what her body looks like. There’s nothing to shame here. Nor is this rooted in criticism of Dunham for working with Vogue. Entertainment is a business, after all, and Vogue brings a level of exposure that exceeds that of HBO.
This is about Vogue, and what Vogue decides to do with a specific woman who has very publicly stated that she’s fine just the way she is, and the world needs to get on board with that. Just how resistant is Vogue to that idea? Unaltered images will tell.
$10,000 works. Jezebel reports: “Within two hours of offering $10,000 for unretouched images from Annie Leibovitz’s photography session with the HBO star, we received six allegedly unaltered images.”
Charlotte Allen observes:
The elephant (sorry, Lena!) in this room of rage is that, letâ€™s face it, Lena Dunham really isnâ€™t that pretty.. Even glammed up for Vogue, those monster thighs lobster-clawing the neck of the guy whoâ€™s bearing her on his shoulders really do have some â€œperceived imperfections.â€ The best that you say about Dunham is that she has nice hands and wouldnâ€™t be too bad-looking if she lost a few and paid a visit to Dr. Tattoff.
But nobody can say thatâ€“because â€œbody positivityâ€â€“considering yourself a raving beauty no matter how much you weigh or what you actually look likeâ€“is a central tenet of feminism. Thatâ€™s apparently why Dunham gets naked in nearly every episode of Girls, why Jezebel is going all pious (itâ€™s Vogueâ€™s fault!), and why Slateâ€™s Katy Waldman feels compelled to call Dunham â€œlovelyâ€:
Jez is not trying to expose Dunhamâ€”itâ€™s continuing its crusade against the fashion magazines that make us all feel like crap and have, in many ways, contributed to a pop culture in which Dunhamâ€™s perfectly lovely physique is so outside the norm.
Yes, the point of fashion magazines is to â€œmake us all feel like crap.â€ Thatâ€™s why Vogue has 1.3 million subscribers. But letâ€™s go on pretending.
Daily Beasts’ Caitlin Dickson and Abby Haglage take the curious, but recognizably leftist position, that one needs to appear in nude in public oneself in order to find Lena Dunham’s extraordinarily numerous displays of unattractive nudity in bad taste.
[L]ike everyone else who has endured listening to this senseless debate since the show first premiered, [“Girls”‘ producers] have had enough. No one, especially those who watch any of HBOâ€™s other gratuitously sexual shows, seems to have a problem with nudity as long as the bodies shown are unrealistically sculpted. Game of Thronesâ€™ practice of spicing up boring scenes with nudity is notorious enough to have warranted its own word: â€œSexposition.â€ If anyone is angry about seeing Khaleesiâ€™s naughty bits, weâ€™ve yet to hear about it. True Bloodâ€™s Sookie Stackhouse and Boardwalk Empireâ€™s Lucy Danziger are welcome to get down with their bad naked selves all day long. A “thigh gap” and/or “bikini bridge” are practically a free ticket to nakedville. But normal-bodied characters, please keep your clothes on.
Itâ€™s only when faced with the fleshy body of a real life human beingâ€”one perhaps uncomfortably similar to the one they have (or are afraid of having)â€”that people start to freak out. The deluge of questions about Dunhamâ€™s nudity conveys the message that imperfect bodies should be hidden in shame.
The point, which unfortunately needs reiterating, is that Girls is a show about the experience of a group of 20-something Brooklynites. Their trials and tribulations might not always be 100 percent realistic or relatable to the majority of Americans. Theyâ€™re not supposed to be.
What anyone can relate to is the needâ€”not to mention desireâ€”to be naked. Dunhamâ€™s body, and the fact that Hannah, like everyone else, has to shower, get dressed, and have sex in the nudeâ€”no matter how curvy, bony, or lumpy they areâ€”is the most realistic part of the show.
Anyone who still has questions for Dunham about her nudity should be forced to ask them in the nude.
The notion that a character in a television series must be displayed to nation-wide audience nude and/or engaged in a variety of normally private activities and bodily functions for the sake of realism is, of course, just so much piffle.
Any artistic depiction of human life will inevitably exercise a variety of principles of selection, and will include only scenes and episodes required for some specific story-telling purpose.
The unidentified reporter at tthe 2014 Winter Television Critics Association panel discussion who asked why Lena Dunham’s character is â€œoften naked at random times for no reasonâ€ was merely asking an obvious question which has undoubtedly occurred to the overwhelming majority of the show’s audience.
The show’s producers, and their allies at Daily Beast’s, response reveals that Dunham’s unseemly and unattractive nudity is purposeful. It is ideological. It is the practical assertion of a radical left-wing form of egalitarianism which would insist that ugly people should be considered just as worthy of admiration and attention as beautiful people, that a fat and homely girl is just as entitled to display her body to a nationwide audience as a slender and beautiful model or movie star.
Reading this rather outrageous nonsense, I thought that Ayn Rand had actually overlooked one form of villainous leftism which she could have devastatingly featured in Atlas Shrugged: the Lena Dunham nude scene.
Betsey Woodruff, in National Review, identifies Lena Dunham’s HBO comedy Girls as a cultural canary-in-the-coal-mine which, if observed carefully, could have told you where the recent presidential election was heading.
At its core, Girls feels like a deliberate, dissective examination of a group of people who stubbornly refuse to grow up and are lucky enough to be able to pull it off. The main thing Dunhamâ€™s characters share is the idea that just because they exist, somebody else should give them stuff. In and of itself, depicting that isnâ€™t at all a bad thing. Girls is an interesting project, itâ€™s well executed, and it can be really, really funny. Look, I like Girls, and Iâ€™m excited about the second season.
But Dunhamâ€™s stupid little YouTube ad for the president might have ruined it all for me. Thatâ€™s because she sounds like sheâ€™s channeling her character, Invasion of the Body Snatchersâ€“style. They share the same baffling, naÃ¯vely egomaniacal understanding of justice â€” they both seem to think that because they exist, the universe needs to make sure that all the sex they choose to have is consequence-free.
You can almost argue that Lena Dunham sees President Obama as the perfect surrogate for everything missing in her charactersâ€™ lives: Heâ€™s their gentle lover, supportive parent, and empathetic friend. Heâ€™s special. He wonâ€™t let them down. Heâ€™s Prince Charming. And that kind of defeats the purpose of feminism.
Youâ€™d think the feminist elevation of agency would result in women who take pride in being responsible for their own bodies. Youâ€™d hope that telling women that they can do whatever they want would imply that theyâ€™re responsible for what they do. Youâ€™d think serious feminists would argue that true empowerment is something you lay claim to, not something the federal government dispenses in all its benevolence. But for Dunham, that doesnâ€™t seem to be the case.
In fact, for all practical purposes, the patriarchy no longer decides whom American women can sleep with and when. Thatâ€™s great. But if you donâ€™t want men in Washington telling you how to use your sexuality, you shouldnâ€™t expect them to subsidize it. But Dunham seems to actually believe they should. Dunham makes tons of money, and Iâ€™m quite confident she can afford to pay for her own birth control. But she doesnâ€™t seem to take pride in that; itâ€™s not what her characters aspire to, and given her foray into the delightful world of presidential-election ads, it doesnâ€™t seem to be something she aspires to, either.
Second-wave feminists lionized the independent woman who paid her own rent and busted through glass ceilings and ran for Congress. Being totally self-sufficient was the goal. The idea was that women didnâ€™t need men, whether those men were their fathers or husbands or boyfriends or presidents. By contrast, Dunhamâ€™s new vision of women as lady parts with ballots is infantilizing and regressive.
So Girls isnâ€™t the eschaton, and neither is one vapid YouTube video. But if Dunhamâ€™s show were a metaphorical canary in a metaphorical coal mine, it would be struggling pretty hard right now. Thereâ€™s a reason itâ€™s called Girls, not Women.
Hat tip to Theo and extra points for gender normative content.
The Putin Version: “Hottie [Krasotka] Wonders About the First Time”
Everybody today is talking about last night’s major campaign development: the Lena Dunham “Voting for Obama is Like Losing Your Virginity” ad.
You have to hand it to the Obama Campaign for continuing to come up with memes, Big Bird, Binders, Bayonets, Voting for the First Time, that succeed in gaining everybody’s attention, but which fail completely to help the president’s re-election cause.
There seems to be a reflexive process of self-destruction underway in which democrats are determined to convince the electorate that they are trivial-minded, verbally-fluent wiseasses living in their own fantasy world of cleverness and spin, completely out of touch with serious issues like the economy and the debt crisis.
Jim Geraghty forwarded (by email) a couple of the best conservative rejoinders to the Lena Dunham ad:
Dave Weigel: “The Lena Dunham endorsement video will sway those few people unconvinced by the New Yorker’s Obama endorsement.”
“If you’ll excuse me, I have to go bleach my eyes,” apologizes Rusty Weiss at the Mental Recession. “Word of advice libs â€” if voting for Obama is like having sex . . . you’re doing it wrong!”
And, as the icing on the cake, provides a citation identifying the Lena Dunham ad’s source of inspiration:
So what lunatic came up with this idea? Oh, Foreign Policy magazine is here to help out with that one:
I see the Obama campaign has a new YouTube ad featuring Girls star (and fellow Oberlin alum!) Lena Dunham:
“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy,” she says, referring to casting your first ballot for Obama. (What were you thinking?)
It’s a clever conceit, but feels a bit familiar. Perhaps because the same joke was used in an ad for Vladimir Putin’s presidential campaign earlier this year:
A suggestive ad rallying support for Putin’s presidential campaign shows a young woman seeking a fortune-teller’s advice. “Let’s find out, cutie, who is intended to you by destiny,” the mystic says. The girl replies, “You know. I wish it to be for love — It is my first time.”