Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer are women that the media love to call feminists and magazines can’t get enough of when talking about female empowerment and powerful women in media. And although they talk about feminism a lot (Dunham even has a feminist newsletter), here’s why they’re really not a feminist at all.
Trigger warning: short discussion of sexual abuse and rape (with no explicit details)
Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer have both been in the news a lot recently about their foot-in-mouth mess-ups and subsequent apologies. They have made seemingly racist comments multiple times and both have ‘apologised’ backhandedly or not apologised at all. They claim to be feminists but continue to act and speak problematically whilst using the banner of feminism as a safety net.
What they are perpetuating is White Feminism – when the feminist movement only benefits white people – and before you say ‘not all white women…’, compare it to the ‘not all men’ phrase. It’s the same as that. It’s dangerous for white feminism to be constantly seen as the norm in the modern feminist movement; we should be promoting intersectionality and not side-stepping issues that the privileged do not face.
You can also look at Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry for other examples of White Feminism, but I won’t go into them because we’d be here all day.
As well as racism, both women have allegations of sexual assault/rape over their heads, with both women admitting it in their autobiographical books.
Lena Dunham wrote about abusing her sister as a child. There’s a lot of controversy with this – either people think it’s normal for children to be curious or people think it’s abuse. I’ll let you decide this for yourself as it’s a difficult topic and I could argue for both sides, having both read the book and the backlash.
Amy Schumer gave a speech at Ms. Foundation for Women’s Gloria Awards and Gala, an event dedicated to saluting women of vision. In her speech she talks about having sex with a man that was too drunk to consent. There’s lots of controversy with this topic as well, with some people saying she raped him and others saying that it was ‘just’ a drunken fumble. If the genders were reversed, everyone would be up in arms and the man would probably be arrested. But again, I’ll leave you to make your own mind up.