Ok, I've let this stew for a few days now and I think it's time to say something...
I DO NOT NOW, NOR HAVE I EVER LIKED LENA DUNHAM OR AMY SCHUMER.
I mean, sure, I watched one season of Girls, but I was so damn bored with every single character and storyline. And I didn't find much of the writing/acting/subject matter that compelling. It could be that I am a middle-aged woman, married with children, with relative stability in my life, who is so past all of the drama of being a "girl", or it could be the fact that I am simply not the target audience for this show. Either way, the whole "Girls" phenomenon was terribly "meh" for me.
Add to this all the weird and effed up things Lena has said, and keeps on saying, and this chick's sense of entitlement and delusions of grandeur go way beyond that of any of her whiny Girls characters. Perhaps the media should have held off on dubbing her the "voice of this generation's feminism". Or perhaps the media just conveniently forgot to put the word "WHITE" in that phrase. 'Cause all this feminist icon shit seems to have made her think she can say WHATEVER pops into her head without consequence, and centre herself in all things.
Now, now, I know, ALL our faves are problematic in some way or another, and we must acknowledge this and make choices. We also need to learn how to do so in a way that allows us to celebrate these folks and their accomplishments, while also holding them accountable for the things they say or do that make them problematic. A task that is sometimes much easier said than done. (cough... Nate Parker.)
The thing with Lena (and don't worry, I'll get to Amy in a minute) that concerns me - or pisses me off - the most, is she doesn't seem to want to learn. Or if she does eventually learn a thing or two after her missteps, these lessons come at the expense of, or via the unacknowledged work of others (mainly Women of Colour) continuing to offer her these opportunities for learning. FOR FREE!!
Lena honey, enough! Your self-importance is showing and it's not foolin' anyone.
Now, about Amy Schumer...
Is she funny? Sure. But I've seen and heard funnier.
Does she try to get people thinking about casual sexism and rape culture in her comedy? Yup, but personally, I don't believe a rape joke or a racist joke is any funnier coming from a (white) woman - even one trying to make a point.
Did I love "The Last Fuckable Day" Skit from her HBO show? Yes, yes I did. That was a smart and funny critique of the shitty Hollywood standards that are so vastly different for women vs. men.
What I find most annoying about Amy Schumer is her insistence on portraying herself as a "real" woman. You know, "160 pounds and can catch a dick anytime she wants". She plays up this frumpy, sexually adventurous, doesn't give a fuck, big girl act when it suits her and her comedy bits. BUT, the minute she is grouped with women who are considered plus size (and who are actually funny), we see the real Amy come out. Tall, blonde, and with a white-girl-ego fragile as fuck.
Look, I know we all would like to have heroes and icons and leaders and "voices of our generation" for whatever "wave" of feminism we are in, but as I see it, neither of these women are IT. And frankly, it is too much to expect one person to be a voice of a generation or a movement. One person can not embody all the intersections of feminism at once. It is literally impossible.
Feminism doesn't need a national or international spokesperson. We don't need a mascot, or a white coat gladiator (although, I would make an exception for Olivia Pope if she was real). Feminism needs every one of us doing our best to address inequality in our own worlds, be they big or small. It's teaching these concepts at home with our kids and modelling them in our communities. It's reading and educating ourselves on diversity and intersectionality, and understanding our own innate biases, and how we can overcome these and do better.
It's listening when we are called out by our sisters, and acknowledging the work of others to help us get on the right path. AND then staying on that path!
And that's the thing that really pisses me off about both Lena and Amy. They keep messing up over and over and over again. Now, I am by no means perfect, and I mess up, A LOT; but I try not to make the same mistake more than two times - AT THE MOST. These two are rich, privileged, white women with huge platforms and audiences, and they keep fucking up, then sending up lame-ass apologies to appease mainly the media (and never those they hurt with their statements), and when the hoopla dies down, they DO IT AGAIN.
It's like they are doing it on purpose....
I am so done. With both of them.
I have - WE ALL HAVE - a shitload of work to do feminist-ing all the things around here, and I am done talking about these two.