Six Ways Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer Get Feminism Wrong

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By Zoe Zorka | 8:09 am, September 14, 2016

Two hundred years ago, prominent females had to beg and plead to get the attention of male lawmakers when they attempted to secure basic rights for females — rights such as voting, owning property, and receiving a basic public education. In today’s hyper-connected world, prominent females have an international platform that women centuries ago couldn’t have even dreamed of.

Unfortunately, while some females are harnessing the power of the Internet and social media to promote equality and unity, others, like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham, are using it to make a mockery of themselves — and by some extension, their entire sex.

Even E! online questioned whether the recent interview between the two of them provided “fodder for an intense conversation about reverse-sexism, inherent racism and whether two incredibly popular feminist voices just set feminism back 50 years.”

The sad fact is that even 50 years ago, feminists at least had an organized, coherent agenda. Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham’s incoherent whining is providing a clear example of a fringe movement, a type of fourth wave feminism, whose actions demonstrate what happens when the pendulum swings too far the other way and feminism becomes not a serious issue, but a joke. Below are six ways that Schumer and Dunham are glaring examples of how we, as a gender, have created our own worst enemy: a dynamic that is the result of our own complacency, misguided anger and inflated sense of entitlement.

  1. Feminism does not promote the idea that the world must change for you. There is an adage that says, “you must become us, we will not become you.” Eastern Kentucky University’s department of women’s studies provides an accurate, succinct definition of feminism in that, “Feminist political activists campaign in areas such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, fairness, social justice, and workplace issues such as family medical leave, equal pay, and sexual harassment and discrimination.” It doesn’t cover being butthurt when someone doesn’t like you. While attempting to change the status quo can sometimes be seen as a noble endeavor, these two women cannot expect to come up in the entertainment industry, an industry built largely on free speech, and expect everybody to immediately accept them for who they are. Both Schumer and Dunham feel that free speech applies only to them and those who agree with them, but whenever someone disagrees with them, they’re clearly a conservative bigot or part of the oppressive patriarchy.
  2. Feminism is not focusing on women’s’ bodies. For two women who are about more than their bodies, they sure spend a lot of time talking about them. While most women are perfectly capable of going to the beach or pool, taking a picture, and simply posting it on Instagram, both Schumer and Dunham seem to feel the need to repetitively remind the world that they are not a size two — comparing oneself to “Miss Trunchbull from Matilda,” as Schumer did, or posting a naked picture with a pregnant woman (don’t search it, you can’t unsee it) as Dunham did. Schumer also used her platform at the Glamour Women of the Year awards not to bring attention to a social platform, but to announce that she was 160 pounds and had no problem meeting men.
  3. Feminism does not focus on sex. While feminism spent decades telling women that they were more than sexual objects, that their sexuality was something that was theirs and theirs alone, Dunhan and Schumer promote promiscuity as if they just signed a lucrative six-figure deal with it. Katie Yoder sums it up best by saying “We don’t need comedy that presents women as selfish, out-of-control, and sex-obsessed. Women don’t need a spokeswoman who tears people down for laughs. We don’t need someone who tells us to be sexually explicit to get attention.
  4. Feminism is not obsessing about men. It’s ironic that two women who claim to be progressive both rose to success obsessing about the opposite sex. From Lena Dunham’s bizarre New Yorker think pieces to Amy Schumer’s obsession with “getting d***,” these women take desperation to a whole new level. Rebecca Carrol accurately refers to Dunham as “a 20-something white woman who grew up in wealth, likes to get naked and have sex on TV and call it feminism.”
  5. Feminism is not male-bashing. I can only imagine the confusion that must be going through Odell Beckham’s head at this moment. The man was invited to a very prestigious event, which he attended and where he probably ate, drank, mingled, and maybe danced. (Do they dance at those things? Is it like prom for really rich people? I’ve never been.) A week later, he finds himself criticized for not hitting on Dunham. (I’m sure his invitation didn’t instruct him to hit on the woman sitting at his table.) Dunham, who couldn’t possibly fathom the idea that maybe he was interested in another female, maybe he was dating someone else, or (gasp) maybe she just wasn’t his type, literally put words into Beckham’s mouth. Literally. She actually used quotes, which alluded to the idea that he said those words.
  6. Feminism is not crying foul every time that someone disagrees with you. Feminists can take the heat as well as a man. Contrary to popular belief, every time that someone disagrees with you, it is not acceptable to cry sexism, a popular defense mechanism of both Dunham and Schumer. An op-ed on ixdaily sums up Dunham’s simplistic nature perfectly: what has continuously happened with Dunham is every time she’s criticized, she points  to the most ridiculous claim and says “I can’t be blamed for that! That’s ridiculous conservatives being ridiculous!! Feminism, am I right??”  Schumer, meanwhile, made a joke directed at Steve-O during a Comedy Central Roast about the death of Ryan Dunn, then became outraged when a 17-year old fan made a joke on Reddit about her.

If Schumer and Dunham can’t take the heat, maybe it’s time that they both go back into the kitchen- and leave the important stuff to the real women.

Zoe Zorka is a business consultant, fiction writer, editorial writer, news and feature reporter, model, and host currently based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Her most recent book is Turn Our Eyes Away

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