Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Clinton and Dunham: Beware The Feminist Platform

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

Sept. 23, Lena Dunham announced an interview with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to be shared publicly Sept. 29. The content would be posted on Lena Dunham’s website, lennyletter.com, a feminist newsletter of sorts to keep the public informed on issues happening in the U.S. The interview itself would include Hillary discussing her college life and campaign issues for the upcoming election. In the teaser video, Dunham asks point blank of Clinton considers herself a feminist, to which Clinton responds, “Yes, absolutely.” The video is also set to include comedy sketches at Clinton’s campaign headquarters and an appearance by comedian and “Trainwreck” star Amy Schumer.

It’s an easy ploy to see through, an appeal to millennial girls who are just coming of age to vote. By sitting down with Dunham, popular for her HBO show “Girls,” and appealing to the feminist agenda, Hillary hopes to gain the vote of the younger generation. What shouldn’t be ignored is the way these women put their words to action, which is to say they don’t.

You may be familiar with Lena Dunham because of her show or appearances in mainstream media as an unconventional women’s advocate, but as of late there’s been a lot more negativity surrounding her name than anything. Her book, “Not That Kind of Girl,” garnered immediate backlash for a passage describing inappropriate sexual behavior toward her little sister. She described offering candy to her sister to kiss her on the lips and spreading her sister’s legs out of curiosity. Somehow, Dunham has managed to escape little more than a slap on the wrist consisting of a few weeks of negative media. Her show continues to be a hit and Dunham continues to rule conventional white feminism by making light of dark subjects, quite literally. Critics refer to the show as “White Girl Feminism at Its Worst,” a show that offers a humorous account of educated white women trying to find their place in the city while simultaneously ignoring persons of color unless playing into a racial stereotype.  

And Hillary Clinton? Our potential next president of the United States raised brows with her statement, “To every survivor of sexual assault…You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed.” A pretty strong and inspirational statement to make, but one Clinton hasn’t supported in the past. In the ’90s, a number of women flooded the media claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Hillary’s husband and then-president Bill Clinton. Instead of “hearing these women out,” Hillary refused to believe claims and partook in smear campaigns to discredit the women who accused her husband of sexual misconduct. She not only referred to one victim as “trailer trash,” but has been revealed by investigative journalist Carl Bernstein to have had women sign sworn statements in which anyone Clinton was rumored to be involved with would claim otherwise publicly. After the Lewinski scandal, Hillary took to the media to sell a story on how Bill was troubled growing up because of the relationship between his mother and grandmother. Lewinski was  characterized by Clinton as a “narcissistic loony toon.”

The full interview hasn’t been revealed yet. However, I hope this can encourage millennial women to at least do some further digging before putting your faith in the empty words exchanged between two privileged white women playing to a group of voters they view as vulnerable.

Photo sources: Crushable & Lena Dunham

Hannah Strader graduated from the University of Kansas in December 2018 with a degree in journalism and creative writing. She has past experience as both a writer and editor for high school and collegiate level newspaper staff and spent the summer of 2017 in London working with Healthista, an online women's health magazine. Her passions include but are not limited to Harry Styles, Taco Bell, witchcraft and books. She has two cats and can recite all the U.S. presidents in order. She's proud to call herself a Her Campus alumni. Formerly the Editor in Chief, Senior Editor, and staff writer at Her Campus KU.