I recently wrote a post about my thoughts on Lena Dunham’s book Not That Kind Of Girl, and yesterday I came across the headlines “Allegations Lena Dunham molested her sister in her book”. My initial reaction to this was, “What book did I read?”
No, seriously, I was extremely confused and I instantly clicked on the link regardless of what I was doing to understand what the heck was going on. I thought I maybe skipped entire chapters? Skimmed something over and didn’t notice I had?
Nope. I read the whole thing. And now I’m just mad. We really need to stop throwing the words “molester”, “rape”, and even “racist” around like it means nothing. Especially now that I’m aware of what excerpts from her book she’s under fire for. It really reminds me of an incident that happened in New Hampshire earlier this year with a Jodi Picoult book that parents wanted banned from schools, only none of them actually read the book. You can’t determine an entire book and person by a one paragraph excerpt. If I did that, I would be sure to hate everyone. That’s like when someone asks you describe yourself in one word…you can’t do that! One word does not make up who I am as a person. I could say, “Lazy” and people will just assume I’m incompetent altogether.
Here are some of the excerpts that are marking Lena Dunham as a child molester.
Excerpt 1 (Lena was 7, Grace was 1):
Do we all have uteruses?” I asked my mother when I was seven.”Yes,” she told me. “We’re born with them, and with all our eggs, but they start out very small. And they aren’t ready to make babies until we’re older.” I look at my sister, now a slim, tough one-year-old, and at her tiny belly. I imagined her eggs inside her, like the sack of spider eggs in Charlotte’s Webb, and her uterus, the size of a thimble.
“Does her vagina look like mine?”
“I guess so,” my mother said. “Just smaller.”
One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked.”
“My mother came running. ‘Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!’ ”
“My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did. She just on her knees and looked for herself. It quickly became apparent that Grace had stuffed six or seven pebbles in there. My mother removed them patiently while Grace cackled, thrilled that her prank had been a success.”
If I hear one more person say that this behavior isn’t normal, I will be happy to throw a brick at their face. First of all, I have to say Lena could have done a better job at describing this scene in her essay. However, she’s very much into the “shock factor” for her readers, which is something many writers do. But to say that it’s “not normal” for a seven-year-old girl to be curious to see if her sister has the same “parts” as her, you must be out of your mind and naïve. Every kid is curious about those things, some more than others. I remember wondering why boys stood up when they peed and I couldn’t! Secondly, maybe Lena noticed Grace playing with pebbles, and then suddenly she wasn’t, hence her checking Grace herself. When Lena says “prank” in regards to Grace’s actions at the age of one, it’s pretty clear that this is meant to be written in the child’s perspective. To Lena, she thought Grace was pulling a prank. I’m more appalled that so many people found this to be disturbing.
As she grew, I took to bribing her time and affection: one dollar in quarters if I could do her makeup like a “motorcycle chick.” Three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds. Whatever she wanted to watch on TV if she would just “relax on me.” Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl, I was trying.’
It really amazes me that people can’t take sarcasm. If anyone actually read the book, they would know that Grace didn’t show affection to Lena for a while for some reason. A lot of kids do this when they reach a certain age. I know I did, and I wouldn’t even hug or kiss anybody. Lena tried to bribe her sister because she wanted to know that Grace needed her as a big sister…that was the whole point of the essay. Lena just wanted sisterly affection from Grace that she wasn’t getting, and she was going to try anything to even just get a hug or a “I Love You”.
I shared a bed with my sister, Grace, until I was seventeen years old. She was afraid to sleep alone and would begin asking me around 5:00 P.M. every day whether she could sleep with me. I put on a big show of saying no, taking pleasure in watching her beg and sulk, but eventually I always relented. Her sticky, muscly little body thrashed beside me every night as I read Anne Sexton, watched reruns of SNL, sometimes even as I slipped my hand into my underwear to figure some stuff out.”
This apparently means she masturbated while Grace slept in bed with her. When I read that she stuck her hand in her underwear, I just pictured what a man does when he comes home from work and turns on ESPN…and places his hand in his pants. I hardly think this screams “I FONDLED MYSELF”. That is just an extreme assumption from a sentence that really doesn’t provide all that much information. More people were disturbed that she shared a bed with Grace when she was 17. Why is that so shocking exactly? I can count a few times I shared a bed with my own sisters and they are ten years older than me. It’s really not that weird. Of course they are trying to point out that if Lena Dunham was a man, this would be a major problem. Here is where I argue with that. A brother-sister relationship is much different than a sister-sister relationship. You don’t typically change clothes in front of your brother, or share your vagina/menstrual stories with them like you do with a sister. It’s an entirely different relationship, and if Lena was actually a man, she probably wouldn’t have let her sister sleep in the same bed because they wouldn’t have had the same relationship.
This is clearly a rant post because this has been bothering me beyond belief the past 12 hours. First off, Lena is considered a celebrity, and was a celebrity before she decided to write a book. Given that fact, this book was probably one of the most anticipated books of the year because she is a celebrity. So with that, people are going to read into every little thing she writes. I know for a fact that if any other writer wrote this, nobody would think twice about it, because I’ve read some pretty disturbing things from other writers that shocked me more than this. On top of that, it’s about 50/50 with Lena. You either absolutely hate her, or you love her. Those who hate her are going to find anything to bring her at fault for something, no matter how ridiculous it is.
Secondly, I can tell that anybody bashing her right now for what she wrote hasn’t read the book. Ever since the critics brought this to attention a few days ago, now all of a sudden it’s big news and all over Twitter and Facebook. Her book has been out for an entire month…if this was actually an issue, her readers would have brought this up within the first week of her book’s release. Those who have read the book are on my boat wondering what the heck anybody is talking about.
Lastly, have some respect. It’s not okay to throw the words “child molester”, “rapist” and “racist” around. I’ve been seeing this way too much lately, and these words can ruin someone’s life, especially if all the facts aren’t straight. I don’t care if you hate Lena Dunham, she is still someone who probably worked really hard these last few years writing this book…writing a book is not easy. And now to have it blown out of proportion like this is truly sad. I would hate for something I worked so hard on for years was just bashed like this globally. Before you preach judgment on this, try reading the book and getting the whole story instead of a small excerpt based on someone else’s opinion.