The Patriarchy Made Me Do It! Lena Dunham’s #MeToo Apology

Lena Dunham is back in the news -- never glad tidings for civilization. The creator of HBO’s Girls has issued her latest mea culpa, apologizing for defending a male colleague from an accusation of rape last year.

Dunham wrote an open letter to actress Aurora Perrineau in The Hollywood Reporter, seeking forgiveness for doubting Perrineau’s allegations against Girls writer/producer Murray Miller.

But, as befits a woman whose moral vocabulary has been cobbled together from gender studies seminar catchphrases and things scrawled on restroom walls, her letter left much to be desired. Dunham has never really taken responsibility for the things she’s said and done, from falsely accusing a man of rape to publically wishing she’d had an abortion.

Partly the letter sounds like an attempt to get right with The Party and avoid re-education camp. Defending Miller was “inexcusable” and “a terrible mistake.” Her counter-revolutionary crimes were not committed out of malice but because “I had actually internalized the dominant male agenda.” It seems her “own heart and mind had been colonized by patriarchy.” (The patriarchy made me do it!)

Dunham is wounded, you see:

Something in me still feels compelled to do that job [for the patriarchy]: to please, to tidy up, to shopkeep. My job now is to excavate that part of myself and to create a new cavern inside me where a candle stays lit, always safely lit, and illuminates the wall behind it where these words are written: I see you, Aurora. I hear you, Aurora. I believe you, Aurora.

Yeah. Anyway, good progressives are always on the lookout for what they like to call “teachable moments,” and Dunham was able to turn her “greatest regret” into her “greatest moment of evolution and education.” She had learned “the ways my own ignorance operated even as a survivor of multiple sexual assaults,” one or two of which might have even been real.

For her part, according to the Washington Post, Aurora (through her mother) said all is forgiven. “Perrineau told Dunham that she and her daughter ‘feel your love and receive your heartfelt apology.’”

But The Post also noted, however, that Dunham’s shtick is wearing thin on the Internet. One tweeter wrote: “For someone who's had to apologize so much, you'd really think Lena Dunham would be better at it.” Another cut right to the chase: “This is not about the "dominant male agenda" – it is about your choices.”

No, it’s about “healing.” And self-pity. In closing the letter she said she knew people would question her motives. The Post again:

“There are some who will think I am writing this to curry public favor," she wrote, adding in a parenthetical: “That’s OK, though, I stopped thinking that was an option for me somewhere around 2014, and that’s some kind of freedom.”

Pace Oscar Wilde, one must have a heart of stone to read Dunham’s anguish without laughing. Rape accusations aren’t funny, ever. The discomfiture of phonies and moral posers always is.

 

 

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Feminism Lena Dunham