and i thought i could let it slide. but then, then, i realised that white feminism EXISTS in the first place, in part, as a result of white woman who decided to stay silent in the face of their sisters’ oppression.
lena dunham has been consistently, repeatedly, disgustingly racist. on numerous occasions. not with an ignorance that you grow out of. not with the foolishness of youth. but with an arrogant, unrepentant air of entitlement. and those who would defend and protect her, those who would accuse people who said ‘hey that was racist’ of being on a witch hunt, as being - in their criticism - anti-feminist, are not the allies that they think they are.
if you think that being a feminist outweighs you being a racist, you are unworthy of calling yourself a feminist to begin with. it is important to grasp how arrogantly entitled a white woman must be for her to excuse another white woman of racism. how dare you? what makes you think you have the right to decide if a white woman’s racism is forgivable? or whether it is, in fact, racism at all. that you can decide whether or not she just ‘made a mistake’? can you understand that, in doing so, in choosing to support a woman who has been outrageously racist in the name of being ‘edgy’ or ‘artistic’ or ‘controversial’ or ‘real’, you are saying to every woman of colour that their identity, their oppression, their wellbeing, matters less than one woman who happened to make a tv show with 'un-perfect' naked bodies and gross sex. you are not only telling these women that they are undeserving of renouncing this person - what you are doing is telling them that feminism is not for them. you are excluding them from a movement that, arguably, they need more than any of us.
lena dunham’s brand of feminism refuses to accept that there are different levels of hardship in the experience of womanhood. she thinks that, because she is a woman, there is nothing she cannot touch. because women are oppressed. because women suffer injustice every day of their lives. but what she - and other white feminists - fail to grasp is that womanhood is not one experience shared equally by all. she seemingly cannot begin to comprehend the various forces at work for women who are not white, cisgender, straight, and privileged.
being a woman does not give you the right to speak for all women. being a woman is an obligation to listen to women whose experience you will never live. it is a duty to acknowledge that things aren’t always about you. realising your own privilege is not an excuse to be the centre of a movement, the aim of which is to protect and raise up the most unprivileged among us. it is not a rite of passage which allows you to then be the defining voice of womanhood. recognising your privilege is what should make you realise that you are the one who needs to be taught - not that you are somehow now worthy of doing the teaching. privilege means that you cannot know what it is to be oppressed by many factors above & beyond being a woman. lena dunham’s feminism does not say ‘teach me’, it shouts louder than every woman she claims to be fighting for.
don’t stop supporting other girls. but please, please, don’t be afraid to renounce women whose idea of feminism is one that allows for a different kind of oppression. allowing casual racism undermines the entirety of the feminist movement. if your feminism is not intersectional then it is not feminism. don’t permit yourself to be complicit in perpetuating injustice.
do no harm, but take no shit.
if you find yourself unconvinced and think lena dunham might be the victim of unjust uproar, please feel free to read one particularly abhorrent example of her racism here