As it goes in Hollywood, most of the beautiful people have a golden fleece force field around them, which absolves them from having to act like the rest of us.
Very few times do they experience the standard blowback that comes from acting like a fool. Sure, they have to deal with the dregs of society known as paparazzi, but they’re rich…so they’ll be all right.
Lena Dunham, the creative wunderkind behind HBO’s hit series Girls, wishes she got that kind of consideration for a quite-possibly-embellished story about what some call “sexually abusing her sister.”
Dunham has been on a U.S. book tour shilling for her autobiography Not That Kind of Girl. In the book, she shares a story that is alarming to say the least: as a child, she (as a 6-year-old) “experimented” with her 1-year-old younger sister’s vagina.
The claim has been labeled as sexual abuse by detractors, and the backlash forced Dunham to go on a sabbatical, postpone her book tour, and get off Twitter for the time being.
Right-wing blog TruthRevolt.org found a way to create national news: quote the most troubling section of Dunham’s book (which was itself quoted in an oddly obsessive National Review op-ed), have an opinion about those words, and create a viral onslaught directed in Dunham’s direction. Dunham’s legal representatives sent a cease-and-desist letter, to which the website (and founder Ben Shapiro, also editor for Breitbart.com) replied:
Simply put, “We refuse.”
Editors say they would welcome a deposition with Dunham in which they could ask “why she believes it is now appropriate for a 28-year-old woman to make light of opening her baby sister’s vagina, paying her with candies for prolonged kisses on the lips in the manner of a ‘sexual predator,’ or masturbating in bed next to her prepubescent sister.”
Following claims that she abused her sister, Dunham apologized, saying she was “sorry” if the situations in the book were “painful or triggering for people to read.” Following that mea culpa, she tweeted that people should be able to determine “for themselves what has and has not been normal.”
It’s that word normal that made this thing spiral way out of control:
Lachrista Greco, of a group called Guerrilla Feminism wrote, in a Facebook post: “Do I think what Lena Dunham did to her sister was sexual assault? Yes. And to those of you who have defended her heinous actions, YOUR voice is silencing to many commenters who openly discussed their own experiences of incest, sexual assault, etc. … It’s NOT NORMAL. It’s NOT OKAY.”
Dunham attempted a Twitter defense:
And by the way, if you were a little kid and never looked at another little kid’s vagina, well, congrats to you.
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) November 1, 2014
Any questions about the inherent risks of oversharing?