Lena Dunham’s recently released memoir “Not that Kind of Girl” is touted as a collection of personal essays in which a “young woman tells you what she’s ‘learned.’” However, the focus quickly shifted to what the public learned when the website Truth Revolt published an article that labeled Dunham as a sexual abuser. The site supported their claim with quotes from the book in which Dunham recounts masturbating while sharing a bed with her younger sister Grace, bribing her with candy in exchange for kisses, and doing “anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl.”
But what appears to be the most controversial passage was Dunham’s recollection of an incident that occurred when she was seven and her sister was a year old:
“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 Web, 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 got 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.
Initially, Dunham took to Twitter to express her disdain for the allegations while her sister Grace remained supportive of Dunham, tweeting that she is “committed to people narrating their own experiences, determining for themselves what has and has not been harmful.” Soon after,Dunham released a statement to TIME in which she apologized for using the term “sexual predator,” and denied condoning “any kind of abuse under any circumstances.”
Since then, the 28-year-old’s lawyers have called for the removal of the Truth Revolt piece and threatened to take legal action. In response, the website refused to comply and published another article titled “Lena Dunham Threatens to Sue Truth Revolt For Quoting Her,” in which they detailed the demands of Dunham’s legal teams, complete with reasons why the publication refuses to pull their story or issue an apology.
Now, whether Dunham’s recollections are examples of childhood curiosity or clear reasons to justifiably label the actress as a sexual offender remains a topic of heated debate. Arguments run the gamut from those who shoot down the abuse allegations to others who feel that excusingDunham’s behavior as normal childhood exploration is yet another example of white privilege.
Clutchettes, what are your thoughts on Lena Dunham’s “Not that Kind of Girl” excerpts?