Oh, good. Lena Dunham is helping Taylor Swift to “understand feminism.”
In a recent interview with The Guardian, the singer-songwriter confessed to a “feminist awakening” which she attributes to her newfound friendship with the creator of the soft-porn HBO series, Girls. She said:
As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena—without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for—has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.
But what exactly is Lena Dunham’s feminist stance?
Well, there’s abortion. Dunham is a supporter of big abortion, having lobbied for Planned Parenthood, joked about aborting the Royal Baby, and pushed NBC to run an ad for an abortion comedy, for starters. Her crass attempts to use humor to push abortion on-demand without apology is not exactly something that resonates with today’s women, who regardless of their position on abortion (and women are deeply divided on the issue), don’t view it as something to make light of.
Allowing yourself to be photographed naked, sitting on a toilet, eating cake, for the Emmy’s?
In Dunham’s own words: “Do you believe that women should be paid the same for doing the same jobs? Do you believe that women should be allowed to leave the house? Do you think that women and men both deserve equal rights? Great, then you’re a feminist.”
Yea, great! I doubt anyone today would actually suggest you can pay a woman less than an equally-qualified man for the same job or that we should trap women at home and strap an apron on them. But what if you believe life begins at conception and that modesty, or at least not taking naked toilet pictures, also matters? Then what does she say?
The reality is that feminism has become a dirty word for so many of us because there are certain prerequisites implied in the modern definition that just don’t jive with a lot of women. Modern feminism tends to exclude the choice to raise children full-time, the choice to be pro-life, the choice to take a pass on casual sex, for example, from its narrow berth. Ironically, modern feminism has basically abandoned the word “choice,” except when it refers to abortion. Certain choices are praised, others are shunned.
That is no doubt contributing to the fact that less than one-fourth of women today consider themselves a “feminist.” Which is bad news for Dunham, who said, “Women saying ‘I’m not a feminist’ is my greatest pet peeve.” Looks like 77 percent of women annoy her.
But she’s riding high, having won a prominent, innocent-enough convert. Now we just have to pray we don’t start seeing photos of Taylor Swift eating naked in the bathroom and have to call it feminism.
Ashley McGuire is an editor at altFem Magazine. This piece was originally posted at acculturated.com.