I wasn't going to write this but when Luke O'Neil called me a liar, I decided that I had to talk about Lena fucking Dunham.
Here's the scoop, if you ain't heard. Lena Dunham was a really creepy seven year old. She was the kind of seven year old who peeked inside her sister's vagina, who bribed her with candy for kisses and masturbated next to her - when her sister was a year old.
Some right wing women-hating assholes saw this and said, "Holy shit, that's sexual abuse!" Some of the brighter ones said, "Her parents were abusive in allowing that kind of behavior."
This made Dunham flip out even though, let's face it, the whole point of her various stories is that she was a not normal child. Indeed, her entire career is predicated on saying shocking things. Banal, yes, but often shocking. (Shock material is almost always banal, anyway, so this isn't weird in the slightest.) She wrote these stories that were creepy about her creepy shit when she was a kid and is somehow freaked out when people find her creepy shit creepy.
But here's the thing - those conservatives? They have a point. Let me put it to you another way: what conversation would we be having if George Bush, when he was seven years old, shoved his fingers up inside a one year old girl's pussy?
The idea that some people are going to find Dunham's behavior akin to sexual abuse is pretty goddamn obvious. What is wrong for adults is usually wrong when children do it, too, after all. Sure, we often don't treat them the same way we treat adults who have done wrong, but if you're the kind of person who figures that it's wrong when an adult masturbates next to a toddler, you're probably going to think that it's wrong when a seven year old does it.
Then, Dunham is so . . . incredibly privileged that she doesn't see this is what disturbs me. Just the same way that her and her family are responding with the stock language of abused-but-in-denial people everywhere - that in their family it wasn't like that, don't be crazy, it made me the person I am today, all of that. Almost no one who engages in abuse realizes that they're abusers; many abused people think that the abuse is "normal".
To a certain extent, then, so what that the people who brought this to our attention were conservatives? Sure, it is not possible to ignore the sexist context of their behavior and beliefs, but that doesn't mean that they don't have a point. It is possible to be both a sexist and right, after all, if only by chance.
While the people who come to Dunham's defense, like Luke O'Neil, who called me a liar because I entertain thoughts that Dunham isn't really innocent, start off saying that, y'know, hey, let's ignore the really incredible privilege that Dunham has. She has what, then? A bad case of affluenza? She's been raised in such a morally challenged environment that the normal rules of human behavior somehow don't apply to her? Because I think that's the case, definitely. She doesn't come off like a human because she's not much of one, she's just the liberal Paris Hilton. She's never lived in the world, so she doesn't understand it at all - but that's okay because she will never have to live in the world. So she can just put on this "gee whiz" look and act like her behavior wasn't inappropriate, regardless of age.
Seriously. Just imagine if George Bush had, even as a young child, admitted to masturbating next to his one year old sister - where that would go. Seriously. The more he tried to say that it was okay and shit, the guiltier he would sound. The more disturbed we would get because he wouldn't seem to understand that - despite it being absurd to hold a seven year old responsible in the same way one holds an adult responsible in that situation - that it's actually pretty creepy, that it actually is a whole lot like molestation, even if it is absurd to hold a seven year old morally culpable as we would hold an adult morally culpable.
So while it's true that conservatives are using Dunham's rather shocking revelations as a mask for their sexism, it is equally true that her defenders are using her gender to mask their equally vile classism. When this fucked up woman does something between genuinely, legitimate criticism of her actions are forbidden because she's a woman. That's as wrong as condemning her on false pretexts, if you ask me.
So, Luke O'Neil, fuck you. You're giving cover to your rich masters because you're too much of a fucking coward to criticize wealth and privilege when it happens to be a liberal woman doing disturbing, fucked-up things.