Lena Dunham Has Never Been On Your Side
Lena Dunham has pissed off a lot of people over the years for various reasons. Some people hate her for getting naked on TV, which is unfair. Others hate her for more legit reasons, like being unfunny.
But most recently, people are saying she handed Donald Trump the election with an ill-advised rap video about pantsuits that she somehow thought would get more people to support Hillary Clinton.
It was ostensibly supposed to be a parody of something. Celebrities? Get Out the Vote promos? Lena herself? But instead, it just annoyed people and made them roll their eyes at Lena when it came out.
A week later, after Trump’s win was confirmed, the video was even more embarrassing. Was Lena really so sure of Hillary’s victory that she thought a jokey video where she herself says, “I think this might be hurting Hillary,” was a good idea? How out of touch can you be?
It wasn’t a shock after the election when she admitted she, like most other liberals in the NYC bubble, “never truly believed” Trump would win. It’s because she’s out of touch with the rest of the country.
But the truth is, Lena has never been in touch. That’s what ruined her show, “Girls,” for me about midway through the first season.
When “Girls” first came out, I’m not gonna lie. I liked it a little.
At the time — April 2012 — many of my friends were moving to New York City to try and succeed post-college and I was hoping to do it soon, too. It was refreshing to see a show about girls in their early 20s going through the same problems my friends and I obsessed over.
But soon I stopped liking the show. This was partially because for something being billed as a comedy, it was strangely un-funny. What bugged me more, though, was when I realized everyone on the show was a loser and a terrible person. With the random weddings, constant career-switching, and inability for any of the characters to secure and hold a real job, I couldn’t help but wonder: wait, who are these people? Because they’re nothing like anyone I know: people who were born relatively privileged, sure, but also have to bust their asses to pay their bills, keep their jobs and eventually do better than their parents did.
In the first few episodes, the characters seemed like any other girls who just moved to New York City and are hustling to make it. But then they never made it. They kept ruining their lives and showing their entitlement at every turn, proving their own selfishness over and over again. They weren’t just flawed characters. They were horrible.
I couldn’t understand why Lena Dunham depicted every single one of her main characters as such scatterbrained losers. Then, I learned more about Lena Dunham the person. I realized that she actually wasn’t trying to accurately present my generation. She has nothing to do with my generation. She’s a quirky rich kid who was raised in SoHo with artist parents. Her biggest problem is that she doesn’t look like a model. Other than that, she’s rich, she’s smart, and she comes from a family that loves her. She has nothing in common with the rest of us and she’ll never know what it’s like to actually need to work for your money.
Once you realize this about the show, it becomes even more insufferable. It’s like a smug lifelong New Yorker asking over and over again, “What are these silly girls doing in my city?”
Lena Dunham was born rich in Manhattan and stayed rich, then moved to Brooklyn Heights. The four main characters of “Girls” come from middle class, boring, flyover-state backgrounds (except Jessa, whose midatlantic accent has never really been explained). It seems like the characters Lena created were never meant to reflect her. Instead, they represent her looking down her nose at people from outside New York City who move here to make it big. Deplorables, if you will.
Lena Dunham is just as out-of-touch as the richest, whitest Republican you can find. I don’t know her personally besides briefly interviewing her at a premiere once (and she was really nice, I gotta say!), but to me, it seems like her goal has never been to depict millennials accurately. Instead, it’s been to get a pat on the back from the art world, Hollywood people who fancy themselves smarter than everyone else in the industry, and people who subscribe to the New Yorker.
In the same way that Hillary Clinton’s campaign failed because Hillary herself clearly looked down on the “basket of deplorables” voting for Trump, if you read between the lines, Lena Dunham seems to look down on the same people who her show is for and about: millennials who move to New York City to improve their lives.
I’m not saying my friends and I are suffering or anything. It’s just that I don’t think Lena Dunham has ever subsisted on slices of the same leftover pizza at work for three days straight because she couldn’t afford lunch on her entry level salary, yet she’s more than happy to make a TV show skewering the people who do.
And listen, we deserve skewering. These are first world problems I’m talking about. My generation is responsible for gentrification, viral news, Uggs-with-leggings, and the very existence of “Girls.” We suck sometimes. But I’m sick of Lena Dunham, who knows nothing about what our lives are actually like, taking up the mantle of our generation’s foremost commentator. She and her show are an embarrassment to young women who actually have to work for a living.
Lena Dunham might not have handed the election to Trump, but she and people who think like her didn’t help. For example, in her most recent edition of Lenny Letter, her newsletter, she published the most ridiculous Hillary hero worship I’ve ever seen (her writer called Hillary “Athena” and “light itself”). I mean, come on. I’m not happy Trump won, but Hillary’s not an angel from heaven either, and most Hillary voters didn’t think she was. The whole piece reads like it’s from Clickhole or the Onion.
Most egregious of all was the intro to this week’s Lenny Letter, written by Lena’s frequent creative partner, Jenni Konner. It started with an acknowledgement that as a contributor to Lenny Letter, she’s been “preaching to the choir,” a claim that I found refreshing after this election — Hillary supporters have by and large placed themselves inside a self-imposed information bubble and it bit them in the ass.
Over the past few months, I watched my most liberal friends brag that they were un-friending anyone whose opinion differed from their own, sharing and re-sharing stories that had little to do with facts and completely invalidated the other side’s worldview, except to call them racist and sexist. This refusal to listen is what killed us, I think.
So I was happy when I read these words Jenni Konner had written in Lenny Letter:
“I felt I wanted to stop preaching to the choir! Or at least not only to the choir. Lennys: We need a bigger reach. Today, we are asking for your help.”
Then I got to the next line:
“Today, we want you to share this Lenny with someone who isn’t like you.”
I mean, are they fucking kidding? Asking people to reach across the aisle and talk to someone different from them is one thing. But this was just a ploy to get people to pat Lena Dunham and co. on the back for being woke. I can’t believe no one involved with Lenny Letter realized what a tasteless request this was, at a time when readers are probably still sobbing (ugh) over the election results.
Also, this just seals the deal that Lena Dunham doesn’t know how to interact with people who disagree with her, especially if they’re *gasp!* conservative. Try finding your local Trump voter and telling them, “Hey, I just wanted you to know Hillary Clinton is not only Athena, but light itself, and I’ve got this Lenny Letter to prove it.” This is why people hate liberals.
Lena Dunham is like the liberal, New York City equivalent of those “Duck Dynasty” guys: someone who grew up in a bubble surrounded by like-minded people, to their own detriment. For a 70-year-old duck hunter who lives in a swamp, this can result in casual racism. But for Lena Dunham, it’s resulted in a similarly ignorant point of view: that she and people like her are truly enlightened; their views are superior to all others and need to be heard by as many people as possible, then applauded.
If you’re not someone who was born and raised in New York City by liberal elite parents, she has made it clear through the way she depicts middle America on her TV show that she looks down on you and your background.
And she’s made it clear through her actions before, during, and after the election that she is really not helping the case of young liberals in America. If you consider yourself a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, you might wanna start looking for a new champion before 2020.