Lena Dunham: Taylor Swift doesn’t talk about politics because ‘people are nuts’

The New York Premiere Of The Sixth & Final Season Of "Girls"

Oddly, I’ve spent the last few months defending Lena Dunham on various issues. I want to assure everyone that Lena still annoys the ever-loving f–k out of me and I’m really looking forward to the time when she’s less visible as a celebrity. That being said, she’s not always wrong, and I go case-by-case when defending her. Sometimes she is treated unfairly. And sometimes she needs to be told that she’s acting like one of the biggest a–holes in the world. Anyway, Lena’s promoting the final season of Girls, and she gave a lengthy interview to Rolling Stone about many different things (politics, Taylor Swift, hugging burly Teamsters). You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

She’s always been annoying: “I’ve always annoyed people. I was the girl in third grade where everybody was like, ‘This girl is so annoying – like, leave.’”

The changing narrative about what ‘Girls’ was really about: “People never gave us the benefit of the doubt that the show was actually a self-aware commentary on privileged white womanhood. When a guy plays an antihero, nobody’s like, ‘I think Bryan Cranston’s really promoting drug use.’”

Being “blamed” for Hillary Clinton’s loss: “It’s amazing. I’m like, “Why don’t we check in with Russia, you guys?” I think it tends to come more from the right wing, although I’m not sure. Now it’s so hard to know what’s coming from where, because stories get published on Breitbart and two days later they’re in Newsweek and you’re like, “What the f–k is happening right now?” No one is more studied in the art of the right wing planting a story and liberals eating each other alive over it than I am. I see it every single day, but I’m not gonna stand there screaming about it, ’cause that makes you a bad sport. And also it’s boring and I’m not interested in it. But do people want me to go, “I don’t think I’m really good for this. I’m gonna bow out”? I wouldn’t see any use for celebrity if I wasn’t fighting rabidly for what I thought was right.”

People need someone to blame: “I backed Hillary Clinton when a lot of people in my age group were on the Bernie train, so I was getting sh-t from the right for being a “libtard” – and getting sh-t from young people for supporting what they saw as a corporate candidate. It was painful when people were like, “Hillary lost because Lena Dunham is such a bad example of liberalism.” But everyone’s scared and upset, and they need someone to blame. It’s easier to blame me than it is to, like, blame George Clooney for not giving enough speeches or whatever. You could go around pointing fingers in every f–king direction in Hollywood if you wanted to. If I’m gonna be the punching bag for that, I know where my heart is and I know why I felt like I needed to campaign for her. I know what those experiences on the road meant to me with other women, the connections that I made – and I just have to hold on to that.”

How Taylor Swift took heat for not speaking up about politics: “I just think everyone has to do it their way. When I was lesser known, I was like, “Who could not share their opinion?” Then I found out that when you talk about politics, people straight up tweet you the floor plan of your house and say they’re coming to your house. You have to f–king watch it because people are nuts.

[From Rolling Stone]

Lena goes on to say that she admires the hell out of Taylor because Tay “understands the vicissitudes of the cycle, and she just keeps making her work.” Yeah, whatever. I understand Lena’s defense of Taylor, which is basically like “I wouldn’t wish these crazy right-wing trolls on anybody” and “it’s everyone’s right to STFU about tricky political issues,” both of which are valid enough arguments. But I tend to think it’s all connected in Taylor’s case: her work, her silence on political issues, her deep-as-a-puddle feminism. It’s all a product, it’s all The Taylor Swift Show. She won’t step out and take a stand on any issue besides “Taylor Swift is the most popular girl in the squad and she’s always the victim of big, bad men!” That’s why Tay wasn’t engaged in politics – to be engaged in something outside of The Taylor Swift Show would have been antithetical to The Taylor Swift Show.

Also: is anyone buying her new argument that Girls was always big-C COMMENTARY on white privilege? No, Lena. We aren’t buying that.

Photos courtesy of Getty, Fame/Flynet and WENN.

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67 Responses to “Lena Dunham: Taylor Swift doesn’t talk about politics because ‘people are nuts’”

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  1. Melly says:

    “the show was actually a self-aware commentary on privileged white womanhood”
    Um no. I don’t think they ever addressed this issue in the slightest. I think there has been MAYBE 3 people of color on the show.

    BTW That pink eyeshadow makes my eyes twitch.

    • Nicole says:

      Yea no and no. Taylor Swift is all about what’s good for Taylor Swift. Just like her “awakening” on feminism was just for branding purposes.
      Lena Girls was NEVER commentary on white feminism because YOU are still a white feminist. Therefore unable to create an actual critique. Please stop.
      And I agree this pink eye trend is hideous

    • QueenB says:

      yeah it sounds like the disgusting “ironic” racism excuse.

    • Trillion says:

      yeah, I only want to see that makeup on Josh Dun

    • shellsbysea says:

      sorry to hijack this comment but I wanted this info to be at the top:

      Remember when Lena tried to backtrack and say “I hope I never see four white girls on the poster for a TV show again” ?

      Lena’s next project is with HBO. It’s a TV movie and it’s filmed and completed. It’s called Max, after the main character. It’s about a girl who is in the magazine industry in the 1960s/the feminism movement.

      Back to the relevance of Lena’s comment: There isn’t ONE woman of color in the cast. Not. One. It’s all white women (and white men). The lead actress is Zoe Kazan, the famous director Elia Kazan’s granddaughter.

      So by my count 1) hypocrisy for the first 2) another show of nepotism for the second.

      Lena is just….I can’t with her. She’s so riddled with contradictions and narcissism, it’s gross.

  2. Sam says:

    If I’m Taylor Swift I’m telling Lena Dunham to keep my name off her lips. This is the second time in a week that Lena has decided to mention Taylor in an interview and it doesn’t come across well for Taylor at all. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

  3. mia girl says:

    I need to file a formal complaint. Flipping channels I came across what I think is a new episode of Girls. In the scene Dunham’s character was getting it on with a instructor of some kind played by Riz Ahmed.

    And Um NO! I did not like her touching him… Like I had a hyper-jealous reaction! I find him very attractive. #StopLenafromtouchingRiz

  4. Kate says:

    I don’t think anyone has ever personified white privilege, white feminism and white mediocrity better than these two fools.
    Oh, and Taylor? If you do not want to talk about politics, don’t make feminism (a political mouvement) a part of our brand, OK?

    • Melly says:

      What insightful commentary can she give about white privileged feminism when she has never shown an understanding of her privilege and/or how it’s different for WOC? Her show is an example of the privilege of white women without being self-aware/acknowledging it.

    • ParlerBleu says:

      Slow clap. I see no lies. Only truth.

    • AnneC says:

      Ultimately don’t care that much about celebrities and what they say and do but I think you’ve gone way overboard with the anger and disdain. I stopped watching Girls in the 3rd season because it had become too self indulgent and kind of boring, but she created this show when she was very young and kudos to her. Lena can be annoying but why are we always ripping apart other women? She worked hard for Hilary and I really applaud for her that. She wrote about the world she knows in Girls, Donald Glover writes about his world. I think she got and gets a lot of scary hatred because she’s female and I don’t think women on this site should be piling on like they do.

      • Kate says:

        I cannot speak for all of Lena’s detractors but I dislike her because her feminism is racist. There’s no room for black women like me in Lena’s feminism or Taylor’s. Seriously, a show that takes place in Brooklyn with an all white cast in 2011? And then when people called out her crew, one of the show writers did that disgusting “joke” about Precious. So no kudos, no cookies from me.
        Regarding her getting a lot of hate because she’s female. Sure, men have gotten away with way worse (Mel Gibson ew) but she has been given more passes and chances than quite a lot of white women and a hell lot more than any woman of color (disgusting stories about her sister) and I don’t want to excuse her racist behavior just because she happens to be a woman. That is textbook white feminism.

      • AnneC says:

        We will have to agree to disagree. My enemies, right now, are Trump, Sessions and every GOP a**hole that goes along with Defunding PP, spreading hatred of of immigrants and refugees and helping put in place voter suppression laws. Not as concerned about trashing women on tv or in movies that make some mistakes and try to grow and learn. I know this is a gossip website, but there’s certain famous women that get trashed on here like they’re the worst people on earth. Perspective, please.

      • Lady D says:

        You might want to avoid Kristen Stewart threads on this site too, AnneC. The treatment of her gets quite vicious.

  5. Anitas says:

    She must be on Swifty’s payroll, her white knightess in the media.

  6. freebunny says:

    Each time I see Lena’s shoulder tattoo it makes me think about some skin disease.

  7. Merry says:

    I dont know why people assume Taylor would be a Clinton supporter who was forced into silence by her fanbase. Its far more likely that she is a closet republican but couldnt say so because that would have set her against her industry friends and Ms Popularity would hate to see her royal court split in two,

  8. Patricia says:

    When a woman in her early twenties says “no one is more studied (on literally any subject)… than me”, you can bet she’s stroking her own ego all day long. Good lord she’s insufferable.

  9. Slowsnow says:

    There are two things in this article, for me: oversimplifying very complex problems related to priviledge with the “white priviledge” tag and confusing fiction with a moral lesson.
    - I started watching girls (thanks to CB) expecting not to see a single black person. That’s not true. However, it IS a portrayal of out-of-touch silly white dudes and it is quite good, for someone as young as Lena. The first series is the only really really good part of it. But much better than what I, a stupid priviledged white girl, was doing at her age.
    - Totally agree with what she says about fiction. In this site, it seems that everyone expects characters to be righteous whereas most series have the most self-involved, stupid characters on earth (Friends, Mad Men, Six Feet Under, Seinfeld).
    She is young, so young, says really strangely silly things sometimes but seems willing to learn. I prefer that to PR prepared speaches, contrived and with no room for debate.

  10. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    Nope. Not buying it for one damn second. She didn’t know she was a casual racist until she got called out on her nonsense. It is painfully obvious that she was not aware of how bad the show was coming off in terms of intersectionality. How in the hell are you going to set a show in Brooklyn and yet not show the diversity of the borough? This is Friends level of dumb.

    Why is it so hard for to admit she was wrong? I honestly believe that people would not go in so hard on her if she 1) thought before she opened her damn mouth 2) admitted that she was wrong and not offer excuses as explanations for her casually racist behavior towards non-whites.

    • Slowsnow says:

      I have no idea why I am becoming a Dunham apologist (Kaiser inspired me!), but she did recognize that there was a racial issue in an interview somewhere. She has a foot in her mouth so people thought she did not say it right.
      She is as annoying as she is articulate and clever.

      • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

        When did she give the interview? If it was during the promo for the first season, then I will eat my words. If it was in the latter seasons, it does not count at all. She did not know or care about race when she began the series. It was not until after the “Precious” debacle with Lesley Arfin, after constantly being dragged on twitter and other social media pages did she grudgingly wake up to seeing how problematic she and her show is. Now she is claiming that the show was always like supposed to be like that. Not once in her interviews in the beginning did she mention this or make an effort to try to be more intersectional on the show to show many.

        She is trying to take credit for something that she did not actually do.

      • Slowsnow says:

        Hey @Aiobhan Targaryen, it was a fairly recent interview so don’t eat your words just yet. I don’t know all of the intricacies of Dunham racial’s relative blindness (there are a few asian and black characters after all) but I assumed that her black boyfriend in series 2 was her reacting fairly quickly to that criticism. Was it not?
        And I agree, anyway, that the series portrays a very removed group of people. What I argue is that her show reflects her own flawed environment, creatively. Here’s hoping she opens up to issues of her times.

  11. ctgirl says:

    Dear Lena, please give us a break. Girls isn’t a self aware commentary on white girl privilege. It’s a self indulgent hipster mess that allowed you a forum in which to disrobe. Repeatedly. Even when no one wanted to see it and despite the fact that no one could unsee it. But it’s over now and you should just fade away and leave us alone. Thank you.

  12. CornyBlue says:

    So the squad is actually about all of them taking the fall for Tay right ? Whereas when all the pthers get dragged to hell and back and TS could be least bothered. Also I am sure she opens herself to some harm by speaking out about the current political situation but so do the countless other celebs who have and also the millions of general public who cannot even hire security to protect themselves from a Trump supporter.

  13. teacakes says:

    Yeah I think Buzzfeed busted Taylor Snake’s victim complex weeks ago, so Lena is not as clever as she thinks to try it again.

    And NO ONE is buying her bull about Girls being “commentary” on white feminism. She’d need self-awareness for that, and as she has proved time and again, she has none.

  14. Lalu says:

    Were people really blaming her for Hillary’s loss? I don’t really think she’s that important, is she? That’s like blaming Sarandon or any other individual in Hollywood. Weird. I thought it was kind of funny how she threw Clooney in there. I really hope people don’t support a candidate because one of these twits says to.
    Same with Taylor… Nothing against her at all… But I couldn’t care less who she voted for. Absolutely doesn’t matter to me.

  15. Ever bloom says:

    Taylor Swift and the likes have cheapened the concept of feminism. One of the many reasons people think the movement is a dirty word.

  16. littlemissnaughty says:

    Taylor Swift does nothing that doesn’t fit with her brand. Politics isn’t her brand, it’s that simple. She only got on the feminism train because she wanted to use the word “empowered” and sell her popular girls high school squad to us as proof of her strong female relationships. Please.

  17. QueenB says:

    Whats so telling is that all of those women defending Swift (or talking her up like a super hero musician) but when is Taylor ever defending them? If you dont want to stand up for other women thats bad enough but she isnt even saying something for her “friends”.

    also Lenas boyfriend:
    “f**k celebrities who are not speaking up about trump, racism, reproductive rights and the other issues that are ruining lives”

  18. mar_time says:

    Oh god…her and Taylor loooooove referring to themselves as punching bags, don’t they? Always needing to be victims…it’s really annoying and anything but empowering. Grow up ladies!

  19. lucy2 says:

    If someone does not want to speak up on politics publicly, that is their right. But I admire those willing to stick their neck out and stand up for something, and if you’re going to use feminism to sell albums and tour tickets, maybe you should fight for it when it’s threatened.

  20. Lama Bean says:


  21. ParlerBleu says:

    Only a narcissist could see the horrifying, unconscionable political realities of the last several months through the lens of “everyone blames me for Hillary losing.”

    No, girl. We’re not thinking about you.

    My goodness, America, please stop giving mediocre, self-obsessed white people power and rewarding them for their ineptitude and profound stupidity.

  22. Brittney B. says:

    “I wouldn’t see any use for celebrity if I wasn’t fighting rabidly for what I thought was right.”

    But a few breaths later, that doesn’t apply to your friend Taylor? What’s the “use” for her celebrity?

    She makes a good point about antiheroes and misogyny, though. I just don’t think it applies to *her* case, because she’s only bringing up this supposed premise of her show now, when it’s about to end. Her argument for years was “it’s just about me and my peers in NY, we aren’t trying to represent everyone”. It’s rewriting history to call it self-aware. She very publicly learned about her privilege as backlash spread.

  23. LucyHoneychurch says:

    Taylor Swift first established her career in the country music world and although she has now crossed over to pop, I would imagine she realizes that’s where her hardcore fan base still is: country. Listeners of which also happen to correlate strongly with Republicans. I am 100% sure she doesn’t want to alienate Republicans who buy her music and honestly I don’t blame her for that. Trump and his ilk are not her fault and she doesn’t have any more obligation to speak out against him than I do. Fwiw, I do but I don’t have to and neither does she.

  24. Mia LeTendre says:

    Girls was a lovely show that reminded me of my art school friends in my early 20s. As a POC, I can relate to characters as characters, not colors. It’s not like “me no understand white lady, where is brown lady?”