Sarah Seltzer @sarahmseltzer @flavorwireKevin D. Williamson @KevinNR @lenadunham (USA)

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Sarah Setzer is editor-at-large at Flavorwire. She recently penned this op-ed in defense of Lena Dunham, who is under fire for admitting in her new book that she engaged in sexually inappropriate acts with her younger sister.

Setzer attacks Williamson in the headline, calling him a “transphobic bigot.” Because he is, in Setzer’s view, a transphobic bigot, Setzer wants liberals to discount Williamson’s opinions. Williamson is a “transphobic bigot” because he, like millions of people, knows that Bradley Manning Is Not a Woman and Laverne Cox Is Not a Woman.

Setzer’s defense of Dunham is unsurprising, given that liberal feminism is built on the a foundation of “choice” and “lived experience.” In this ideology, everything the individual “chooses” is good. Hence, if a Man “identifies as a Woman,” people who do not affirm this belief become “transphobic bigots.” Liberal feminism privileges the very few, like Setzer and Dunham, who are actually in a position to make meaningful “choices.”

Williamson may be a “transphobic bigot.” He also opposes reproductive autonomy for Women. That does not make him wrong about the fact that Men are not Women and that Dunham engaged in a pattern of sexually abusive behavior and then wrote about it in her book.

Lena Dunham on Twitter_ _Just got a text from my sister that said _here til Monday. What’s your deal__ Like we’re just a pair of 19 year old fuck-buddies Lena Dunham on Twitter_ _I was really happy to see my sister and treated her like the campus bicycle http___t Lena Dunham on Twitter_ __Every time I sleep in your bed you find a way to make me think you’re masturbating_ –my sister, right before she said _isn’t dad a DINK!___ Lena Dunham on Twitter_ _RED RIDING is a grimy revelation. So scared I had to sleep with my sister. Woke up with chocolate on my thigh…_ Weekend goals=achieved Lena Dunham on Twitter_ _True Life_ I take creepy bedroom photos of my sister http___twitpic Lena Dunham on Twitter_ _A chilly wet morning makes me want to warm my feet under my sister’s thigh, like I did when I was young (6 months ago)_

5 thoughts on “Sarah Seltzer @sarahmseltzer @flavorwireKevin D. Williamson @KevinNR @lenadunham (USA)

  1. Just to point out because apparently there is a typo, this claimed “sexually inappropriate” behaviour happened at age 7, not 17 as some places have stated. While it is important to point out where behaviour is seriously a problem and inappropriate, that this involved children who are still developing both mentally and physically at that age and don’t really have a good grasp on things like privacy and sex and sexuality can’t be ignored. Often they are fairly ignorant about even their own bodies (and in many cases kept like that) and issues related to that can’t be removed from consideration. I’m sure a few parents have encountered doctors play gone too far, and I think we have to be careful not to attribute adult motivations and ideas about sex where it’s not really warranted, while of course making sure that where behaviour is a problem that it is addressed.

    That being said, the criticism of the transphobic charge is right on target. It’s just poisoning the well and an ad hominem. Work of some people can be problematic in some respects, but even a broken clock can be right twice a day and sometimes they can get it right.

    • She also wrote that she masturbate in her bed with her sister well into her late teen years. I’m amazed at what passes for “lived experience” and thus is apparently beyond critique. That she wrote about these experiences so cavalierly, callin herself a sexual predator in some sort of attempt at humor, demonstrates that she has some learning to do.

  2. I haven’t read the book, only read articles and I hope you don’t think it a defence as rather my comment was to point out there is some misinformation around and this does change things as does other context. As you point out she herself is looking back and I agree with you how she has talked about it does demonstrate a few things like immaturity but at the same time I’m still a bit wary about how things are being characterised especially on the internet where misinformation is spread far and wide and where incorrect information would put a very different cast on things in many minds. It’s not beyond criticism, but really the point was that any criticisms should be the right ones, and deal with the situation as it is.

    From the accounts I’ve read, the instance was it that she was 7 at the time and the other it was that her sister was afraid of the dark and begged to sleep in her room and apparently it is written while her sister slept she would watch TV and read and sometimes stick her hands down her pants to “figure stuff out”. The predator part wasn’t about when she was 7 or these other instances. It was in reference to her sister not being affectionate, and her wanting hugs and kisses. She talks about using bribery for this affection and makes an rather awful comparison to how predators groom children to this. Knowing that, it can definitely put a different cast on things and make some criticisms invalid. I don’t think it’s justifiable really to compare with Roman Polanski or Woody Allen as I’ve seen some do. However, where this can be characterised as a problem, it’s a problem and criticism can be made like where she coerced her sister when she didn’t want affection.

    As an observation, we live in a world dominated by male views, and we talk even less of childhood and growing up and any shared girlhood experiences is claimed to be a myth. It’s so rare that we see any woman talking about themselves, much less this frankly about things like this. It does make me wonder in a world where it taken for granted that boys doing things like lifting up girls skirts is taken for granted as pretty typical behaviour (or even adult men claiming “hebephilia” is “natural” behaviour using evo psych) exactly when women can talk about their experiences and learning about themselves growing up without opposition and misrepresentation? I cringe thinking back to my childhood, I shared a room with 2 sisters, one 5 years younger. We were probably inappropriate too.

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