So, over the weekend, all around jackass Lisa Lampanelli, tweeted this:
[Photo with Lampanelli and Lena Dunham. Text reads, "Me with my nigga @LenaDunham of @HBOGirls - I love this beyotch!"]
I can't believe I have to say this, but maybe listen once and for all fellow white people: You don't get to use the n-word. Not as a "joke." Not if you "have black friends." Not because you, like Lampanelli, have a whole strain of "comedy" based on fucking black men. Not now. Not ever. No way. No how.
All this yuck-yuck, jokey hipster racism bull just gets to me so bad. (Let's be real, hipster racism is JUST RACISM.) And it seems like, even when it's not her own words, Lena Dunham is often related to these instances. She has certainly made the hipster racism mistake herself but she also frequently keeps company those people who are entirely race insensitive. Take the whole Caitlin Moran debacle, in which Moran defended Dunham's whitewashed depiction of New York in Girls and said she "literally couldn't give a shit about" the criticism against Dunham.
I don't want to jump into a discussion about whether or not Girls is a good show (because that's something I literally couldn't give a shit about...I don't watch it for many reasons so I don't now anything about it beyond what I read and what others say.) But I DO want to tackle the foolish idea that Dunham is the "voice of a generation."
Firstly--this whole idea just came about because Dunham wrote that line into an episode of Girls and it wasn't meant to be taken seriously. But secondly, and much more importantly, all of this racism surrounding Dunham's person and work routinely excludes entire segments of people. So how in the world can she be said to represent a whole damn generation? I get that she is doing some interesting things in that she's a young woman running a show and she looks much more like the chick next to you on the bus than the woman on the billboard, but, to me, all of that feminist karma is completely depleted by the fact that she is so full of race fail. Same goes for Moran. Despite a few concerns here and there, I loved "How to Be a Woman" but then came her dismissal of race entirely. How can I get behind her as a feminist icon?
Simply put: I can't be your feminist cheerleader if you marginalize entire groups of people. That's not feminism.
Although I'm older than Dunham, I can't help but feel that as a 20 something, I fall roughly into the "generation" she is said to represent. I don't want to be complicit in the creation of a new, edgy culture which is really just reiterating the same old bullshit by being silent. I can only hope that all of the very real, legitimate criticism against Dunham is heard--not so much as to influence her work but moreover to let it be known that Dunham isn't our voice.