First, Lena Dunham! As usual, Rebecca Traister explains it all:
There are American presidents who have come in for less scrutiny than Lena Dunham. There are heads of major banks whose work to erode the possibility of middle and working class stability in the United States has drawn less criticism thanGirls. There are sitting Supreme Court justices, men who have recently disemboweled the Voting Rights Act, whose intelligence has been insulted less sharply than that of a 28-year-old woman who created and stars in a show on HBO.
This degree of pressure is unsustainable. Not just for Dunham, whose thick skin—and willingness to engage the valid critiques—does earn her my full-throated, unequivocal admiration. But also for all the exceptions to male rules—from Beyoncé to Hillary, Shonda to Sheryl—who get pulled and pushed and combed and raked over with equivalent ardor. This craziness is depleting and, I worry, ultimately defeating for all the other women out there with big ambitions: ambitions to write or sing or pass legislation, to lead or create, and to make money, win elections, earn recognition for their work.
Cherchez les femmes, mes amis! Cherchez les femmes. How messed up is it that Traister doesn’t even have to use last names when she writes the first names “Beyoncé to Hillary, Shonda to Sheryl.” We can fill in the blanks because tragically, there’s only one of each, right? If you missed it, Terri Gross did a fantastic interview with Lena Dunham this week. It’s a model for how feminists of very different generations can communicate and learn from one another, a subject relevant to my next item. (This will take a while, so get comfortable.) Continue Reading »