Monday, September 12, 2016

Lena Dunham, Girls and the Donald Trump of 'Feminism,'

This is a really unusual post for me and for TVandCookies. However it is something I feel strongly about and therefore have decided to write about it. We will return to our regular scheduled light heartedness next week. So the internet has been lighting up lately with thoughts and anger towards first Odell Beckham Jr. and then subsequently towards Lena Dunham. Months ago I started working on a review of the show 'Girls,' and I really struggled with whether to post it because I try to avoid too much negativity. However I will sum it up here.

*Side-note: I am currently working on a slightly psychological review of the Gilmore Girls in which I draw on my psychologist side. However I AM NOT writing this in any psychological capacity. I have NEVER met, nor do I have any first hand information on Lena Dunham as a person or an individual therefore I am merely writing in my role as an occasional television critique about her writing in Girls and the cultural and social impact of the personality that she chooses to display to the world.

I feel like I should state from the outset that I am not a fan of 'Girls.' This is not something that I came to lightly. I definitely gave this show a good college try, watched most of season 1, parts of seasons 2 and 3. I also watched a good 2/3 of the 'Tiny Furniture,' Movie but that was all I could manage.

So what's the issue. To me this is the essential point of this post, because I think that this was the issue that led to the Odell Beckham Jr. situation, I think (I could be wrong) that the problem with Girls and Tiny Furniture and the celebrity personality of Lena Dunham is that she has no boundaries between what she thinks and what she puts out there!! Furthermore she seems to think that most of the thoughts she has are golden and deserve to be shared with the world. But here's the real kicker and essentially the part that moves it on from gossip/hate to something slightly bigger. We created this, I view Lena Dunham as something akin to a a slightly feminist Donald Trump.

We seem to be in an era of anti-expertism, where we have become highly suspicious of authority and expert knowledge. This is, in my humble opinion, a good and bad thing. I certainly believe in questioning 'accepted wisdom,' and particularly those who claim to have the 'truth,' but who are heavily influenced by commercial interests and reductionist philosophies. However in the face of all the uncertainty that comes from questioning established authority and expert knowledge there emerges a vacuum where people seek something certain or something to believe it.

Something that has emerged, unfortunately, is a desire to trust things that 'feel right,' or people who appear to speak in an honest way, by contrast to all those 'lying' experts. I consider this to be a major factor in the rise of D. Trump and also, I would argue, the popularity of Lena Dunham.

But the saddest part is that, I believe, that these individuals who 'speak their minds,' and are just being 'honest with what they see in the world,' are in fact appealing to some of the more crude and base elements of the human experience or reaction, without giving them due consideration. It is this consideration that should be the essence of the educated expert. It is not always, and often not. However this 'I speak my mind and just speak the truth,' is no closer to a certain reality and what I see in D.Trump and Lena Dunham is also a craving for attention and scandal. Then we feed it, because it's interesting, because it's shocking, because we love to see someone expressing things we may have thought (or not: case dependant) but would never say. I realize that I am feeding it by even giving it space here or because the same people who look at her or him might look at this post or that news show. It's a vicious circle.

Now she released an apology via her instagram and for that I must commend her. However I am left wondering if she would have had the reflection or the apologetic thoughts if the world had not turned against her?! What if people had continued to attack Odell Beckham Jr for doing nothing!? Now obviously there are differences, for one D.Trump would not apologise or have the level of self-reflection that Lena Dunham demonstrated. However I think we need to see these situations as a symptoms of a much bigger problem and look at the three fingers pointing at ourselves while we point a finger at her.

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