Kids around the nation went back to school this week, our governor was an ignorant mouth-piece again, pipeline protests happened on tribal lands, there was the ubiquitous Clinton/Trump noise, and Wells Fargo has been ripping off the nation for quota.
And through all that noise, I kept hearing the name Lena Dunham.
Who the fuck is Lena Dunham?
She created and stars in the comedy-drama Girls.
I don’t understand the followers of the famous. I firmly believe that the Kardashians are a blight on humanity, and I couldn’t care less about the actions, opinions, or relationships of Hiddleswift, J-Law, or any other current media darling.
These people are in no way relevant to my life, thus, I don’t care.
But much like the day I caved and asked my friend Shannon who the hell J-Law was (I had seen two of the Hunger Games movies by that point), I saw Lena Dunham’s name rising above the noise often enough that I had to know.
It seems she is a cool thing (kool thing*).
She was at a gala event seated next to another cool thing—an athlete (Hey, Kool thing. Come here. Sit Down beside me).
He allegedly looked at her, then looked back to his phone without engaging. (There’s something I just gotta ask you).
From that brief moment, she concluded that he wasn’t interested in looking at her sexually. That he had decided in that instant that she “was not the shape of a woman by his standards.” (I just wanna know, what are you gonna do for me?)
So this man looked at a woman and didn’t immediately go all Cambrian brain. Hallelujah! (I mean, are you gonna liberate us girls)
He didn’t demean her, he didn’t belittle her, and he didn’t treat her as an object or an inferior thing. He just acknowledged her existence by looking up, and then resumed doing what he was doing. (From male, white, corporate oppression?)
Any real-life feminist would have been fine with that. I mean, that is what we are shooting for, right? To be equal, to be treated with the same level of respect, appreciation, and award as out male counterparts? Not to be objectified, demeaned, or afraid when we are trying to live our normal lives?
Instead of introducing herself, or moving on with her own evening, Ms. Dunham chose to take to Twitter to chastise his imaginary assessment of her.
Then, after some backlash, she “clarified” by Tweeting that the story was really regarding her insecurities about being her own average self while surrounded by models and athletes.
First day at that rodeo, it seems.
So here’s the thing. If you are famous, if your voice carries above the rest by effort or by happenstance, and you embrace that to further yourself, then you need to accept that the same megaphone that built your career will broadcast everything else you say. Your voice has consequence.
I am a cultural nonentity; my own voice doesn’t reach very far. But it does reach my son’s ears. I do my very best to impress upon his eight-year-old mind that he must treat girls, and later women, first as people. To not look at a girl and assume that she is weaker, slower, less intelligent, or in any way less capable than he is.
I am secretly glad that his friend Ory is a little ass kicking basketball player, and that his friend Bea is the only one in his class that can keep pace with him intellectually. And sometimes this Mama puts on her own ass kicking boots to prove that girls can game just as well as boys.
I am glad, because a decade from now, when Lena Dunham sits next to him, I want him to look up and acknowledge her presence, then resume doing what he was doing.
Because more than likely, he won’t be at a gala event. He will be on a bus, in a college class, or in a new work space.
All of the places where too many women today sit on the edge of their seats, shrinking from the thigh that presses too tightly against their own, hoping to walk back to their dorm without being assaulted, or toiling for less pay than the man next to them.