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The Problem With Lena Dunham’s White Privilege

The Problem With Girls Like Lena Dunham

There are lots of reasons to have beef with Lena Dunham, public figure.

Let us not forget that she is sitting at the dais of (White) feminism because of her visibility as a young woman at the head of an incredibly successful show of her own making about White Girl Problems. This, in spite of her repeated transgressions and this now casual admission of violating her sister.

At the time of this writing, there is a story taking up prime real estate on the Jezebel homepage about Chris Brown (really, are they ever going to leave that boy alone?), with nothing to be said of Dunham. Similarly, there is no new content surrounding Truth Revolt’s article on Dunham featured on Feministing, The Hairpin, or xoJane. Curiouser and curiouser.

There are a lot of reasons to dislike Dunham, most of which are Dunham’s own fault. The rest, the part that I think really infuriates people, is how permissive Whiteness tends to be. Rolling Stone’s “Girl on Top” “turned a life of anxiety, bad sex and countless psychiatric meds into the funniest show on TV,” in a redemptive, charming, profitable way that isn’t allowable for content creators of color – especially not women. We don’t get a lot of room to be imperfect, even in the telling of our own stories. But Cat Marnnell can do it. And Elizabeth Wurtzel did it 20 years ago with Prozac Nation. Girls will be girls, I suppose.

But us? We know better. And that’s frustrating as a motherfucker.

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