In her debut memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl, there’s a scene in which Lena Dunham describes being raped by a fellow classmate when she was attending Oberlin College. The man is named “Barry” in the book and he’s described as the “campus’s resident conservative” who wore purple cowboy pants and worked at the library. Well, it turns out that aspects of Dunham’s description of Barry match that of a former student named Barry – who was a known conservative on campus –but this Barry maintains he is not the man who raped Dunham and that the two have never met. Obviously, that hasn’t stopped some people from assuming they are one in the same, which is why Real Life Barry hired a lawyer to contact Dunham and Random House about absolving him. (He also started a GoFundMe account to pay for his legal fees, which is referenced below.) Attorney Aaron Minc says that his attempts to reach Dunham and her publisher went ignored — until they threatened a lawsuit. So, yesterday, Random House released the following statement, clarifying that Rapist Barry was not actually named Barry at all and that future printings of the book will make that clear. Keep reading »
A new trailer for season four of “Girls” has arrived, and our favorite flailing anti-heroines look just as aimless and tone-deaf as ever — and I guess we really wouldn’t have it any other way, would we? The trailer also includes an excellent dig at Woody Allen in which Jessa recites his quote “the heart wants what it wants” and Hannah shuts that nonsense down. I am officially excited for the next season in spite of myself. It premieres on HBO on January 11 at 9 p.m.. [HuffIngton Post]
Controversy or not, Lena Dunham’s not going anywhere except back to the small screen for season four of “Girls.” And today we have the first trailer, which shows Hannah back in Iowa as a grad school student. I had totally forgotten that happened at the end of season three, though I don’t expect the show will keep Hannah away from New York City, her friends and, of course, boyfriend Adam for very long. Meanwhile, it looks like Shosh is dealing with the stress of finding her first post-college job, Marnie is still pining away for that sexy musician with the girlfriend and, uh, then there’s Jessa, getting arrested for god knows what. “Girls”‘ fourth season premieres on January 11 on HBO.
Lena Dunham’s memoir, Not that Kind of Girl was published at the end of September, and in the last two days, the internet has basically exploded around its contents. Dunham’s narration of her sexual behavior towards her younger sister, Grace, has resulted in many demanding that Planned Parenthood “#dropdunham” as its celebrity spokesperson. And then there’s the notable fissure that Dunham’s very presence has caused in feminist communities: Is she a sexual predator hiding behind quirk and white privilege? Is Grace Dunham, actress, poet and a supporter of her sister’s work (she’s traveling with Lena on her book tour a victim of sexual abuse, in spite of the fact that she doesn’t identify herself as one? Is everyone defending Dunham against the accusation that she’s a predator a child abuse apologist?
In response to the chaos, Nona Willis Aronowitz and Collier Meyerson created Those Kinds of Girls, a Tumblr where women can post stories of childhood sexual experiences – “strange shit” they did, or that was done to them, when experimentation was everything and boundaries were not yet a thing they, and their peers, were cognizant of. I talked to Willis Aronowitz, the newest editor at Talking Points Memo, and Meyerson, a web producer at All in With Chris Hayes, about the motivation behind the Tumblr, policing women’s experiences, and the stories we’re afraid to tell. Keep reading »
I haven’t stopped thinking about this whole Lena Dunham controversy since it first made headlines earlier this week. Not because I feel particularly strongly in either direction about Lena Dunham the famous person, aside from her being a fellow member of the human race who sometimes makes art I enjoy. I don’t care about this controversy because some right-wing, transphobic, misogynist website was the first to sound the alarm that her memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl, contains passages they say describe child sex abuse towards her younger sister Grace. I don’t care about this controversy because Lena Dunham is a feminist, and a white woman, and therefore, by some people’s estimation, “one of my own” who I’m going to defend for that reason alone, or something. I care about it because it has shown a very bright spotlight on something that is rarely discussed despite being entirely universal: how children come to know and understand their bodies and the bodies of other people, particularly other children, and how they learn to uphold and respect the boundaries of those bodies. We have all been children, we have all had to go through this, and what this controversy has revealed to me is how incredibly varied and defining those experiences have been in good, bad, but mostly somewhere-in-between ways. And I care about this controversy because I don’t think children will ever navigate these issues in a one-size-fits-all way. So we’d better get better at talking about it. Keep reading »
“First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances. … If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention. I am also aware that the comic use of the term “sexual predator” was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well.”
This is an excerpt from a short statement Lena Dunham gave to TIME about the recent controversy over portions of her memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl, that describe what some consider to be sexually abusive treatment of her younger sister. You can read the full statement here. The other Frisky staffers and I have been talking about this subject almost non-stop over the last few days and while some of us are still trying to figure out how we feel as it relates to children, sexual exploration, boundaries and abuse in general, we agree that this is a discussion that desperately needs to be had. [TIME]