Lena Dunham Woman of Year: An Open Letter to Glamour from an Angry Millennial Woman
Ah, another opportunity to complain about a "women's magazine." Glamour's navigation bar clearly states what pressing women's issues they choose to discuss: fashion, beauty, celebrities, and sex are among the top contenders. No mention of work, politics, education, or motherhood. Why am I not surprised? The magazine's website says it is "For young women interested in fashion, beauty and a contemporary lifestyle." Guess that's all contemporaries care about.
November 15, 2012
Today I learned that, among such women as Gold Medal-winning Olympic athletes, visionary architect Zaha Hadid, and revolutionary anti-acid violence advocate Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, your magazine named Lena Dunham one of Glamour's 2012 Women of the Year.
Your magazine called Lena Dunham "an immensely likable 26-year-old force." The tagline above a picture of a tattooed Dunham reads "The Voice of a Generation." The article continues by touting Dunham's leading role in HBO's show Girls. Your magazine quotes Claire Danes' comments on Ms. Dunham, stating that she "happened to hit on something universal." Those universal topics her show addresses? Well, your magazine says those issues are "bad sex, abortion, and job struggles."
Considering your article was released after Lena Dunham's video ad pledging her allegiance to (then candidate for reelection) President Barack Obama, it seems apparent that your magazine has an agenda. That agenda? To neglect intelligent, successful, and bold women, who happen to be conservatives, by reinforcing the idea that outspoken females must be liberals who are hyper-concerned with sex, abortion, and birth control. As one of those bold conservative women, I'm here to tell you that you are wrong.
I am 22 years old. I work as a paralegal in a personal injury law firm, volunteer with local political campaigns, and attend classes at a large university, where I am just a few classes away from my undergraduate degree in political science. I live on my own, with no monetary assistance (from my family or government entitlement programs), and work hard to ensure I can continue doing so. Lena Dunham's show is a slap-in-the-face to women who work hard and take responsibility for their actions. Claire Danes' comment about the universality of Dunham's show insults women who are not focused on their sex drive or the readily availableness of abortions and 'free' contraception.
Dunham's depiction of these issues is not universal. There are a number of millennials who staunchly oppose abortion (or, at the very least, do not want it funded by public tax dollars). There are women in Generation Y that worry more about the state of the economy than the state of their satisfied sex drives. A large percentage of women who are unhappy with their jobs continue their education and professional training in order to obtain a new job that is better suited to their interests.
And there are many, many of us who saw Lena Dunham's campaign ad as an insult to women, debasing us to nothing more than a reproductive system and blatantly ignoring our intelligence, femininity, beauty, and achievements in the workplace and politics.
When I wake up in the morning, I pray to God that the economy will hold up and I can find a full-time job after graduation, buy a house in an eternally risky real estate market, and have the financial means to provide for the family that I hope to build. Lena Dunham seems to wake up and wonder how she can talk about sex, have sex, not accept the consequences of having sex, and "get back" at her coworkers.
Before you decide who is the voice of my generation, I suggest your over-stretching writers dabble a bit in investigative journalism instead of tabloid-style tableaus. A voice? Sure. A voice of an entire generation? Not a chance.
A woman who cares more about the economy than her hormones.
P.S. I don't have a subscription to your magazine, and I am very confident I will never obtain one. If I wanted to read sexist soft-core porn that portrayed women as sex-crazed carnal creatures (and ignored true "women's" issues like acing a job interview, planning her retirement fund, or caring for her body) I'm sure I could find a free porno website to peruse. Or watch Lena Dunham's show.
An earlier version of this article appeared at Tori Pundit.