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Oh, So You Hate Lena Dunham?

Lena Dunham wears many hats; she is a producer, writer, actress, podcaster, and feminist (just to name a few). And for some reason hating Lena Dunham has become a trend on social media, and if this is one of you, keep reading. The majority of the complaints in the past have gone a few ways: 1: Vicious attacks on her appearance, 2: Comments on her lack of talent and confusion about why she is so influential in the media, and 3: Saying she vocalizes feminist ideals and complains about the government excessively. I have seen these complaints come from people who have done little to learn about her, and have based their opinions on her appearance, and maybe a few of her tweets they have seen pop up on their twitter feed. There is so much more to Lena than that, and I am here to show this to all of you who say you “hate her,” just because it’ll get you some likes on twitter.

If you did a little digging, you would learn the great talent and amazing writer that Lena is, as well as the good that she has done in the feminist community.  I can’t help thinking that if Lena were not a woman, she would not face nearly as much scrutiny, and because of this, it hurts me to see this criticism coming from women. Lena is a woman in Hollywood that doesn’t give a shit about beauty standards. She is loud, provocative, and says what she believes in. She creates art that normalizes women’s sexuality, and represents females who are not often seen as lead characters in Hollywood.

The complaints upon her appearance, and her speaking out on issues that are critical, perfectly demonstrate the misogynistic ideals of Hollywood, and people in the media. People are so focused on the way fat is distributed on her body that they do not care that she is using her voice to advocate for women, they simply care that she does not wear a size two. How far entrenched is misogyny in our society that girls cannot get past her body, when she is using her platform to speak out for us? If people would do their research, they would actually understand the talent and courage that Lena Dunham has.

The most recent complaint with Dunham has been on behalf of her tweet regarding her friend and co-worker Murray Miller being accused of raping a 17-year-old. In a knee-jerk reaction, Lena, who has worked with the co-show host for years, issued a statement that was in defense of his character. It went as follows, “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% of assault cases that are misreported every year”. With Lena being a feminist icon, especially on social media, the public did not take kindly to this sympathy she displayed towards the accused, and the accusations of lying she put on the alleged victim. While this is understandable and valid, let’s not be too harsh on her for having this initial reaction. If a trusted friend and colleague of yours had been accused of raping a minor, almost everyone’s reaction would be, “That can’t be true! There were literally no signs!” Seriously, picture one of your best friends, and if you would seriously accept them as a rapist on the spot without any form of denial or hesitance, you are lying. You would react out of shock and confusion, just as Lena did.

Lena made another apologetic statement after realizing how her comments about the alleged victim were deemed insensitive. Her large platform and influence made many sexual assault victims feel that rape culture was being perpetrated, this opinion was valid, and she acknowledged it. Her apology says it all, “I naively believed it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation, as it has transpired behind the scenes over the last few months. I now understand that it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement, and I am so sorry.” We have to remember that Lena Dunham is a person just like all of us, and she simply felt her friend’s character had to be defended. While she has often advocated and become an icon of feminism over the years, we cannot slap that label on her, and expect her to never deviate from purely feminist preaching.

So to you Dunham haters out there, let’s give her a break. She deserves more than blatant insults on her appearance and constant criticism over her advocacy of feminism. Let’s give her credit for the many ways she has advocated for women instead of focusing on one bad reaction while in a state of shock. 

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