Dunham has shown us who she is, and white women have continued to support and uplift her as a feminist hero.by Sherronda J. Brown and Lara Witt This essay contains discussions of sexual violence, including r/pe and molestation Last week, a writer at The Guardian posed what she no doubt thought was a poignant question: “Lena Dunham is a hugely original writer. Who cares if she’s a good person?” Before you ask—yes, she is. See, Martha Gill is deeply invested in protecting a fellow white woman from the consequences of her actions, and she is willing to tell lies about Lena Dunham’s talent, ignore truths about her poor character, and gaslight the people who have and continue to rightfully criticize her and her dangerous white feminism in the process. Just a few days after Martha's contribution, Katie Herzog wrote "The Pleasure of Hating Lena Dunham Is Less About Her And More About Us" for The Stranger. All things considered, it looks a lot like Dunham or someone close to her enlisted white women writers to do proactive damage control ahead of her latest apology in a long, long string of apologies for shitty behavior. Even more frightening than the idea that this might be premeditated apologism on her behalf, is the fact that white women reflexively feel the need to defend Dunham in the first place, because like so many terrible white men artists and literary figures, she is a terrible white woman who makes media that they enjoy. So they stand by her in the name of abusive white feminism, and perhaps like the terrible men, they feel that she too deserves a chance to stand separate from her art, able to continue succeeding while she uses the bones of Black and Brown women as her throne. Gaslighting us, shifting the animus for the criticism of Dunham onto people of color rather than Dunham’s proven record of investment in white supremacy, is easier than interrogating themselves and the white womanhood that connects them. When Aurora Perrineau revealed last year that she had been raped by Murray Miller, Lena Dunham called her a liar. Dunham, who has long used “feminism” as a platform for herself, her voice and her work, issued a statement along with Jenni Konner, co-showrunner and writer of “Girls” stating, “While our first instinct is to listen to every woman's story, our insider knowledge of Murray's situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year. It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed. We stand by Murray and this is all we'll be saying about this issue.” But it's Dunham who was lying. As part of her recent PR run—which comes after the death of her website, the dissolution of her production partnership with Jenni Konner, the very public and controversial resignation of a Lenny Letter writer, and a call for women of color to no longer work with/for her—she has now apologized for this damaging lie one year later. And in classic Lena Dunham form, she centered herself and her own feelings in her apology for a lie that harmed a Black person who was sexually assaulted at 17 years old: “I didn’t have the ‘insider information’ I claimed but rather blind faith in a story that kept slipping and changing and revealed itself to mean nothing at all,” writes Dunham. Aurora Perrineau deserved far better, but women like Dunham are only consistent in perpetuating white supremacy and, in particular, misogynoir.
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“I Feel Pretty” is mostly an exasperating attempt to appeal to all women as it blatantly marginalizes others.by Candice Frederick I have seen most of Amy Schumer’s live action projects, including “Snatched”, which is an abomination for many reasons, including racist stereotypes. Like so many comedians, her best work is in stand-up, specifically on “Inside Amy Schumer”. Schumer’s work has helped normalize the idea that (white) women can be brash, unapologetic, feminist, and successful. She is funny, when the material is hers and when it isn’t fat-shaming or racist. The criticism she’s received is based in truth; after all she is a white, blonde woman from Long Island who can joke about her lower back tattoo, blow jobs, and waking up in someone else’s bed after a wild night and be celebrated for it—she’s privileged, whether she recognizes that or not, and this shows in her newest film, "I Feel Pretty". When I first saw the trailer for the movie, in which she stars as Renee, a woman who suffers from low self-esteem about her physical appearance and wishes herself to be “beautiful” in order to achieve success, it gave me pause. I was conflicted, but I was interested in her addressing a real issue that plagues so many women who believe their self-worth is based on their physical appeal. It’s right on brand with who Schumer is as a comedian, and it is an important topic to explore. Yet, after watching the movie, I was acutely aware of one other thing: Schumer’s brand continues to highlight what’s wrong with white feminism. I can pinpoint this to one particular scene in the film: Renee goes to a spin class and, ridiculously, falls off the stationary bike onto the floor and bangs her head so severely that it knocks her out. She wakes up to find Tasha ( Sasheer Zamata), the super hot, super fit, Black front desk clerk standing above her with a bag of ice to soothe what is likely a concussion. Tasha is tasked with taking care of Renee, who she loudly announced wore size 9 ½ double wide spin shoes and at another point described her belly as “full.” It’s clear by their few interactions (Zamata only appears three or four times in the film) that we’re supposed to see Tasha as someone who looks down at Renee. Through Schumer’s lens, someone who looks like Zamata has everything going for her and is fine being relegated to the background to make way for her.
White women like Emma Watson have weaponized black women’s bodies as shields as they claw their way up the white supremacist ladder to stand beside white men. Vanity Fair’s March 2017 cover features Emma Watson, who is currently promoting Beauty and