The Lena Dunham memoir gets a much-deserved critique by Kevin D. Williams at the National Review blog. It deserves it for many reasons. But what stands out to me is that Dunham gives us evidence that being raised by rich Leftists means being raised to get into sexual situations that would bring down state child-protection bureaucrats and police on any normal family.
Imagine what would happen if an elementary school teacher found out that one or more of the following event occurred at the home of one of her students:
Her father, Carroll Dunham, is a painter noted for his primitive brand of highbrow pornography, his canvases anchored by puffy neon-pink labia; her photographer mother filled the family home with nude pictures of herself, “legs spread defiantly.” Self-styled radicals from old money, they were not the sort of people inclined to enforce even the most lax of boundaries. And they were, in their daughter’s telling, enablers of some very disturbing behavior that would be considered child abuse in many jurisdictions — Lena Dunham’s sexual abuse, specifically, of her younger sister, Grace, the sort of thing that gets children taken away from non-millionaire families without Andover pedigrees and Manhattanite social connections. Dunham writes of casually masturbating while in bed next to her younger sister, of bribing her with “three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds . . . anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.” At one point, when her sister is a toddler, Lena Dunham pries open her vagina — “my curiosity got the best of me,” she offers, as though that were an explanation. “This was within the spectrum of things I did.”
Bizarrely, it required a conservative website writer to point out this sort of behavior in her “memoir” (more below) while mainstream reviewers gave it a pass.
I’m not sure what I think about Dunham’s family and history as a young girl. I’m not necessarily wishing a visit to child protective services on her family (that doesn’t mean I approve but I don’t know if CPS could really have fixed things). But it does seem like we live in an age of weird double standards. What if a conservative writer had made such admissions about his or her childhood? What would the reviewers have noticed then?
Dunham admits up front that parts of her memoir are made up. But, according to the Daily Caller, she went on a “rage spiral” on Twitter in which she verified that the substance of her claims are true.
So again, what would happen if Dunham hadn’t been raised as a one percenter? What if she had been raised like one of us normal people and her behavior had been discovered by a teacher? We live in an age where children can get terrorized for owning Airsoft guns. Why should young Leftists get protection?