Why Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer are one big mess
This weekend, Lena Dunham issued a much-needed apology to NFL star Odell Beckham Jr.
The apology came after social media users expressed outrage at her comments during an interview with Amy Schumer for Lenny Letter, a weekly online feminist newsletter. During the interview, Dunham recalled the 2016 Met Gala, where she sat next to Beckham Jr.
In the interview with Schumer, she determined that the football player was “confused” and “determined that [she] was not the shape of a woman by his standards.” She went on to say that he appeared to have a conversation with himself about whether he wanted to have sex with her, and opted instead to scroll through Instagram “rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie.”
The issue that most people have taken with this is her projection of “white feminism” onto a black male body. People, including Dunham herself in her apology, are acknowledging her narcissistic assumptions, misogyny and over-sexualization of the football player.
But this is just one layer of this complex, multi-faceted issue that seems to plague our society over and over and over again.
Just a few days prior to this Lenny Letter interview, Amy Schumer was doing a show as part of her world tour in Stockholm, Sweden when she got heckled by a guy wearing an “I love pussies” t-shirt and yelling out “Show us your tits!”
Schumer didn’t hesitate to pause the show and publicly shame him for his remarks, to which the audience roared with applause until the heckler got kicked out.
So a few days later, when Lena Dunham made her very sexist, very narcissistic and very, dare I say, unfeminist remarks, the question—one of three that I intend to ask—becomes:
Why didn’t Amy Schumer do anything?
The simple answer is probably because they’re friends. Probably because it would’ve screwed up the interview. Probably because it would’ve resulted in a loss of money. Who really knows? The possibilities are endless. But in this case, “possibilities” is really just a substitute for the word “excuses”. Or maybe the real reason she didn't say anything is because neither her or Lena Dunham are real feminists.
The interview with Schumer continued on and they got to talking about how much people ragged on her for not speaking out about comments made by a writer and comedian who had been on her show named Kurt Metzger. Metzger had made really inappropriate Facebook posts in the past; the one they were discussing particularly dealt with women who had been raped and assaulted. Their conversation expressed Schumer’s frustration at having to answer for things like this, and in her own words, “Why this week?”
Imagine that. You, a big time feminist and role model for women all around the world don’t want to answer for a man you hired who had awful things to say about women who have been raped and assaulted.
Needless to say, this is what happens when two white women who call themselves feminists with no real understanding of intersectionality sit down to talk about how feminist they are.
If Amy Schumer can interrupt a world tour to call out a heckler for saying “Show us your tits!” why on earth was she not able to pause an online newsletter interview with her friend and call attention to what those remarks really conveyed? It was her golden opportunity to change the conversation.
Dunham’s apology, posted to Instagram, followed a post of her Facetiming with Michael B. Jordan, who was also a topic in the interview. She stated that she “tried to grind [her] ass on him” and then left.
The picture was captioned, “MBJ & I are still chill after I danced on him, kids.”
Dunham’s response to this entire issue, except for maybe the apology, just maybe,
seems to be that of a person who is always right, and therefore has no idea what to do when they’re wrong. She’s had this air of arrogance, as if she needs everyone to just calm down, this isn’t a real issue. Referring to all the people that took issue with her remarks as “kids”, really? She’s one of those annoying people we all hate who feel like one apology outweighs the initial act, the initial hurt. Once the apology is made, everyone should just get over it.
Glad the outrage machine roars on though, right @amyschumer?
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) September 2, 2016
ps I'll try and dance myself onto @michaelb4jordan if I have the chance, even when I'm a married grandma. I'm a red blooded str8 woman!
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) September 2, 2016
Second question. How does one get over something that plagues them everyday? The idea that Michael B. Jordan is someone that you feel the need to “grind” your ass on rather than sit and talk to. The idea that Odell Beckham Jr. is just some guy who’s not interested in your vagina. That’s not us. That’s not our men. You had no right to speak for him. You had no right to speak for us.
Third question. Is Lena Dunham not a feminist for her remarks? Is Amy Schumer still a feminist for kicking out the heckler but refusing to stand up for an entire population of people plagued by issues so insensitively mocked by her good friend? The two are still feminists in the same way that cops are still cops after publicly revealing that their racial biases govern how they do their job.
We’ll never know why she said what she said. And we’ll never know why Schumer didn’t call her out. But for now, it’s probably safe to say it just wasn’t their week.