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Julie Burchill

The faux feminism of Lena Dunham

The faux feminism of Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham (photo: Getty)
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There’s a school of feminist thought which says that women in the public eye should never have scraps with each other. I disagree. I don’t recall anyone ever commenting that when young black male rappers have big public beef with each other they’re being disloyal to the civil rights movement by refusing to speak with one united voice. But this is the way of the Woke. All other oppressed groups – riot! Women – be good little trans-maids and don’t report rapists to the police.

For me – a product of the flag-shagging, Brexit-bagging gammon-chav class – to ‘speak my truth’ in my own style, beholders will have to accept that it may be delivered in a loud, sweary voice regularly picking out female targets as well as male ones, as I take it for granted that women are entirely the equals of men and not shrinking violets who will clutch their pearls and expire onto the nearest fainting couch should a negative vibe come their way.

More than anything, I very much defend my right to detest Lena Dunham, who after a long, lovely absence is back to torment us with her horrible projects and, even worse, her horrible self.

Where do I start? Well, of course because she’s body-positive she has to show off her body in the course of promoting what is allegedly brain-work. As a fat bird myself (I’ve got an excuse, I’m 62 – my heft will protect my old bones if I take a tumble) I’m very dubious about the idea that giving men what they want is any sort of feminism. When overweight women do it – unless they’re professional plus models, like Ashley Graham, in which case it’s business – there’s something sad about it, and this isn’t fat-phobic or un-feminist, as I’d say exactly the same about anorexic writers, male or female, who felt the need to strip off for the eyes of strangers too. We all know what good looks are; even babies smile at photographs of attractive people more. It’s not blind prejudice to say that stripping off is more suitable for Emily Ratajkowski; it’s like saying it’s more sensible for Usain Bolt to enter running races than it is for me.

Maybe it’s because she’s over-privileged. I’ve written before about how the arts – once an avenue that the bright working-class girl could escape through, from Shelagh Delaney to Tracey Emin – have been increasingly colonised by the posh. And sure enough she was born into liberal money – her family are related to the actual Tiffany family, as in ‘Breakfast At’ – and expensively and lengthily educated. As a Woker, Dunham is not capable of a sensible class analysis of society; as I explain in my book, Welcome To The Woke Trials, they see the masses as a raging gang of vandals, there to be told what to say and how to say it.

This was never more grotesquely illustrated than when she boasted about reporting two stewardesses for having an opinion on trans-related issues in a private talk which she overheard. That’s what passes for modern left-wing politics – snitching to the bosses if the Deplorables dare have an opinion different from yours.

Ironically, Dunham herself has been accused of racism but rather like Justin Trudeau being given a hall-pass for black-face (so much photographic evidence found that he eventually admitted he’d lost count) those who operate from behind the Wokescreen may do as they please. Now the finger has been pointed at her, she’s discovered forgiveness: ‘I have a huge amount of empathy for people who make mistakes. There came a point where I was sort of apologising for breathing… I’d love the next decade to be less about apologising and just about openly making art,’ she told the Hollywood Reporter while promoting her new film Sharp Stick.

As a Woke woman, she will mouth feminist platitudes – but she is a fauxminist, seeking the approval of the Woke Bros, from her unapologetic account of interfering with her baby sister as a child to siding with her male producer friend when he was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage actress: ‘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 per cent of assault cases that are misreported every year,’ Lady Muck announced from Olympus.

The delightful David Sedaris has said that he thanks goodness he’s gay, as it prevents him for being ‘cancelled’ for the other sins of being white, male, old and rich. If she wasn’t fat and female we would clearly see Dunham as the horror she is. Inevitably, she supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, pledging to move to Canada if Trump won, before declaiming ‘I can survive staying in my country, to fight and love and use my embarrassment of blessings to do what’s right.’ (Embarrassment is just about the only appropriate word here.) Unfortunately she seems to have chosen to spend a great amount of time here in the UK instead. Don’t we have troubles enough?

So if being a ‘good’ feminist includes extended the hand of sisterhood to women who strip off like streakers on steroids every time a photographer looks their way and singing Kumbaya while siding with alleged sex-pests, I’ll happily be called a bad feminist – as I suppose those war-supporting Tory Pankhursts, Emmeline and Christabel, would be in these strange days, when being a Strong, Independent Woman seems to be about how loud you can break wind on national TV. So bye bye, Miss Dunham – you have delighted us long enough!