The Meat Market of American Celebrity
Lena Dunham and America’s Wet Dream
When it comes to entertainment, people either want to escape from their assholedom, or to watch it in HD.
Lena Dunham’s variety of “entertainment” consistently falls into the second category. She has ostensibly made a living by wallowing unashamedly in a peculiar brand of egotistical self loathing which hyperbolizes her own grossness: whether that’s a white, pasty, shapeless plump body squeezed into awful Brooklyn hipster fashions, the antithesis to everything we revere in glossy billboard America, or her awkward ‘weird girl’ obsession with the kind of uncomfortable adolescent sexual experiences of millenials. It’s precisely this kind of brazen saturation in her own mundane, every day disgustingness, this kind of Riot Girls ‘Fuck You’ to everything we’re taught to be as woman (thin, hot, pretty, sexual, alluring etc), this fabulous flaunting of flaws, this celebration of hideous, cringeworthy, unremarkable experience after experience which, we are told, is the key to Dunham’s success. This is why we should consider her a feminist icon. That is why ‘Girls’ is amazing. That is why her book is fantastic. That is why Dunham is a genius. That is why her character Hannah’s desire to be a voice for her generation is actually, through an oxymoronic twist of fate, exactly what Dunham herself has achieved!
OK, fuck this. Let’s quit with the fucking onanism. Every fucking white girl who wants a book deal has, for the last two decades, been writing onerous crap about nothing and cunts and peni and shit sex and dating in New York fucking City. There is absolutely nothing remotely radical about searching avidly for something shocking to reveal about oneself in the hopes of getting attention.
In the meat market of American celebrity, all we have to sell is a little piece of our self, and we’re taught to sell it over and over and over, in whatever way we can. If we’re thin and hot, flog that. If we have the personality of a fart, take out a Facebook ad for it. America is a nonstop branding machine for assholes intent on commodifying their dreadful and utterly banal personalities into a career. Dunham is no different. Her success lies not in the fact that she is uniquely shaped and sized, writes “refreshingly” about tedious uncomfortable sex, gets her tits out all the time and wears truly awful outfits from Urban Outfitters. Her success lies in the fact that she is fat, white, rich, privileged, racist, ignorant and disgusting: just like the heart of American society. Dunham makes white people feel OK about their racism. She normalizes, bywriting about and participating in, non-consensual sexual activity (it’s OK because she’s self aware). She makes it socially acceptable to be a spoiled brat living off mommy and daddy’s money because it’s OK when you’re self aware and you’re turning it into a show for other people just like you to enjoy.
No one will publicly say they don’t like Dunham, because why would anyone trying to brand themselves risk the wrath of the Uber-brand LD? Let’s be tactical about this. Real feminists don’t bring down other feminists, even when poking around non-consensually in other people’s vaginas (which is OK when you’re self aware). Let’s not talk shit about our feminist sisters, yeah, because we haven’t heard whether her sibling got a kick out of it or not, yeah? And because masturbation and female sexuality has been so oppressed in our western society let’s just THANK THE LORD SOMEONE IS FINALLY TALKING ABOUT FLICKING THE FUCKING BEAN AND HAVING A GAY SISTER AND BEING SELF AWARE. Rock the fuck on.
Where we all these people in the last twenty years? Apparently not reading the same shitty Village Voice columns that I was or twirling round a goddamn fucking pole to make a living.
Dunham contributes nothing interesting or unique to American society: she merely validates all its ugly, fat, white racist, rape culture glory, and makes money doing do. Lena Dunham is the American Wet Dream.
Ruth Fowler is a journalist and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. She’s the author of Girl Undressed. She can be followed on Twitter at @fowlerruth.