Famous folks

About Lena Dunham’s Memoir, Overshare and Lack of Boundaries

Lena Dunham is weird. That is her thing. I admit that her hype has always perplexed me, and the title of being the “voice of a generation” has certainly given me pause. I’ve seen GIRLS and I was bored to tears by it so I realized that maybe the generation they were talking about was not mine (even though me and Lena are about the same age). I just figured that she wasn’t for me.


Lena is Hollywood’s millennial golden girl and the accolades are a-plenty so there’s much buzz around her memoir “Not That Kind of Girl.” But yesterday, a website called Truth Revolt published one troubling excerpt from Lena’s book about exploration of her sister’s vagina when they were both children (Lena was 7, Grace was 1). That led to other people writing about other parts of the book that were equally worthy of epic side-eyes.

“One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked…. My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did. She just on her knees and looked for herself. It quickly became apparent that Grace had stuffed six or seven pebbles in there. My mother removed them patiently while Grace cackled, thrilled that her prank had been a success.”

Also, THIS (from Glamour):

‘As she grew, I took to bribing her time and affection: one dollar in quarters if I could do her makeup like a “motorcycle chick.” Three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds. Whatever she wanted to watch on TV if she would just “relax on me.” Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl, I was trying.’ 

 Let the church say: EW.


Somewhere else in the book, Lena talks about masturbating next to her sister in bed (and she was much older than 7 then). So, there are people who are understandably shocked and outraged by these pieces of her memoir and of the admittance in such a cavalier way. There are LAYERS and LEVELS to this dysfunction and none of them justify these excerpts.

Some people are saying Lena sexually molested her little sister, and that she’s a predator. I’m stopping short of saying that but I can’t just brush it off as “normal childhood behavior.” Kids do creepy things but do those children turn around as adults to write about those moments like fond memories? Especially when those moments involve someone else’s private parts that you “spread apart.” Is it normal to compare what you did to something a sexual predator would as a full grown person?

If you’re Lena Dunham the Weird, I guess so.

Even the way it was written makes me terribly uncomfortable .“…And I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist. If you didn’t know she was talking about her sister, you’d think it was from an erotica. Reading that made me wince because that is about her baby sister! That “she didn’t resist” piece gave it extra gross factor.


How was Lena allowed to print that? Where were the gatekeepers? The friends? The editors? How did no one in the process of book proposal to book writing to book editing to book publishing not say “hey. We should probably leave this part out?” Was discernment busy? In the grand life of Lena Dunham, was finding pebbles in her sister’s Love Pocket so important that it just had to be in her memoir?

I raised this subject on my Facebook page and a few people wondered if a 1-year old is capable of placing small objects (like pebbles) up her own vagina. Do 1-year olds even have the motor skill to grasp pebbles and then place them into an orifice that isn’t their mouth? Remember that babies place EVERYTHING in their mouths, not their nethers. It definitely raised the alarm of “did she place the pebbles in her own sister?” I cannot even so I’ma leave that there.

And the part where she points out that “My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did. Was that to assure us that this wasn’t weird on her scale of 1 to Dennis Rodman? Ok, girl. We woulda had a 3-day summit about that shit had I been her mama! What did you do to your sister’s body?? THAT IS NOT YOUR BODY SO YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT. Your body is yours. Explore that. Someone else’s body is THEIRS. It is not for you to touch at will!


Where was THAT conversation?? But nooo this was just another chuckle HAHAHAHA GRACE HAD PEBBLES IN HER VAGINA WHICH I SPREAD APART CUZ I’M SO WEIRD HAHAHAHA. O___O

What I took from that is that Lena’s mother did not instill boundaries on her life and her actions. Her father clearly didn’t either because he is an artist who is famous for his collection of painted back shots of women with fluffy vaginas. Almost all of his art is a faceless woman whose ass is facing us, with her Love Pocket prominent in the middle. Google image search “Carroll Dunham” at your own risk (NSFW, btw).

This is what was in Lena’s home growing up so I could see how she’d be curious about bodies and vaginas, even outside of children’s normal nosiness. However, I am a firm believer in letting kids know that there are lines not to cross. It seems that her parents ENCOURAGED freedom to a fault and that is parenting I do not support.

People without boundaries are the worst and they tend to not respect the personal space of others. Those are the people who walk up to you and talk all close even though their breath is making your eyelashes curl. They’re the people who can’t keep their hands to themselves and those are the people who feel like they can tell all your business. GET SOME BOUNDARIES ABOUT YOU, B!

That brings me to what is also highly messed up here: Lena’s lack of respect for her sister’s right to privacy. In telling these highly personal stories, she is also talking about these intimate (and disturbing) things that happened to her sister (at her own hands). Grace Dunham has talked about this and said on an interview that “Without getting into specifics, most of our fights have revolved around my feeling like Lena took her approach to her own personal life and made my personal life her property.”

Guurrrlll owl gif

WELP! We see that here in 3 very personal instances: pebble-gate, bribing for kissing and masturbating next to her in bed. When you add to the fact that Lena outed her sister to her mother, you see that she does not recognize her sister’s agency and that she’s a completely different entity who has the right to keep her secrets to herself. And that Lena is a bit of a self-centered twerp.

“Basically, it’s like I can’t keep any of my own secrets and I consider Grace to be an extension of me, and therefore I couldn’t handle the fact that she’s a very private person with her own value system and her own aesthetic and that we do different things.” (from After Ellen)

That is NOT OK! WUT? What person is all “I don’t like to keep my sister’s secrets because I don’t see her as separate from me?” LAWD. I really wonder if she got her sister’s permission before telling those stories in her memoir. Based on those quotes above, I’d lean towards NOPE.

Lena seems incredibly self-absorbed and her tweets from yesterday after the internet went nuts further confirm this fact too. She went on a tirade about how everyone was twisting her words and how her sister is laughing about it all. They were textbook responses from abusers, which didn’t help her case against the people calling her a predator. Lena outchea like “but my sister ain’t mad. WHY ARE YALL?” Ain’t that what Ray Rice said about Janay? I’m sleep, though.

How did people twist her words when she was quoted verbatim from the book? Where did the twisting happen? Invisible bendy straws face. She tried it. She more than tried it. She overtried it. But it’s because she’s really surprised that people are shocked about this. She is a chronic oversharer and she thought it’d be another case of HAHAHA LENA IS SO WEIRD AND BRAVE AND UNFILTERED but nope. The backlash came swift at her and she threw a Twitter tantrum.

NO. MA’AM! Most people did not go exploring their siblings’ vaginas! She missed the point so hard that the point must have filed a restraining order against her.

Yet and still, there are vocal defenders of Lena Dunham, which speaks to the white woman privilege I was talmbout on my Renee Zellweger piece. A Black woman could not have written what Lena did. She would not have the space to argue context. She would not have anyone championing her. She would certainly not be given some benefit of the doubt about childhood exploration because Black people’s innocence is often denied, even when we’re 7. Our kids are tried as adults in the court of public opinion and in the court of law. In fact, NO person of color could have written this. Meanwhile, Lena seems to be above critique for many, and that might even be why she thought these problematic occasions should have been included in her book.

A man could not have written any of those passages and be given some sort of leeway. He would have been stamped an abuser so quick! But Lena? She has people speaking up for her, even though there are levels to the creepiness of this whole situation. White woman privilege is real outchea, bro!

I’m fascinated about how scant the coverage of this whole messiness is too. Many of our fave thinkpiecing liberal publications have been eerily silent on this. The Lena Fan Club in media has been very quiet. Inner-resting. Maybe everyone took the weekend off. Yes, that’s it.

Sipping Tea Colbert Stewart gif

Chile, we could play a game of “count the red flags” here, because nothing about these combined situations that Lena wrote about says “PERFECTLY HEALTHY.” Each of them by themselves might not ring the alarm, but together, they paint a picture that might deserve exploration past “fond memories.” Something about all of this isn’t curling all the way over; Lena Dunham’s story is like a bad twistout.

There’s one thing to remember childhood shenanigans but there’s another to speak about some of the weirdest things with no remorse and no regard to the impact they could have to the ones you inflicted possible harm on. And then to have no one close enough to you to check you on it. And then to stand wrong and strong in it. And to be 30 when all of this is happening and writing about it with such detachment is troubling. There’s overshare and there’s this.

I am not calling for Lena Dunham’s head on a platter nor will I sit here and compare her to Woody Allen like some have. I think that’s a stretch and I think it’s unfair. However, I do think what she did was abusive to her sister, and it reeks of behavior that she learned from an inappropriate or predatory adult. I hope Lena herself is in therapy because there are some DSM-IV diagnoses going off here. Trust me. I have a Psychology degree I never use and I’ve watched 2 episodes of Psych. >__>

side-eye 4 gif

But really? Being socially awkward does not excuse us from having to DO better. Also, rich white girls aren’t above reproach, y’all. PLUS, we need to start having conversations with children about their bodies, healthy exploration and boundaries. 7-year old Lena might not have known what she did but 28 year old Lena should have picked up some supply of “know better” at a swap meet or something because NO MA’AM!

Ennehweighs, I wanna hear your thoughts on all this.

Join the Awesomely Luvvie FB page |

Previous post

An Innocent Man: Scandal Episode 406 Recap

Next post

Watch: My Interview With Paul C. Brunson on #MentorMonday Last Night


  1. November 2, 2014 at 5:41 pm — Reply

    NO. Just no. Why come?! Her parents failed her.

    • milaxx
      November 3, 2014 at 9:01 am — Reply

      BIG TIME.
      I get it, kids play doctor, but for the parents not to step in and discuss boundaries is just wrong. I don’t mean boundaries in some puritanical our bodies are evil and sinful way. I mean boundaries in you don’t play with other people’s personal space just for shiggles. Get her some books, get her one of those anatomically correct dolls. Talk about respecting others people’s bodies. They are not our personal play things. If Lena had been taught that lesson as a child perhaps she wouldn’t be sharing all her sister’s personal biz now.

    • Chiclets
      December 11, 2014 at 5:35 pm — Reply

      Sad. This article is greatness. The last paragraph. Yes.

  2. sharay
    November 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm — Reply

    Hmmm. On the fence here. While I do think sharing the stories as is could be considered oversharing. I do know quite a bit of youngsters who explored. My step mother even said when her daughter was five she walked into the backyard or maybe saw her daugher playing in the neighbors backyard and their pants were down. She made it seem like the kids were comparing. She just explained why privates are private or whatever.

    • November 2, 2014 at 5:53 pm — Reply

      Exploring your own body is not what people are flummoxed about. Also, look at the piece about her bribing her sister for kisses.

      • vic fedorov
        November 3, 2014 at 11:07 pm — Reply

        Also just browsed her story of a hs trip to dc involving lesbian hs behavior. Ok I did a dc trip. There was unsupervised stuff but not girls kissing and sleeping together. Its like she is trying to be normal but a normal grounded in media or sensational steriotypes. Be nice if she just wrote abour pot culturw growing up

    • liquid81
      November 2, 2014 at 6:16 pm — Reply

      No ma’am. Curiosity between two five-year olds (or other youngsters in the same age range) is a completely different animal from a seven year old examining the love pocket of a child who isn’t old enough to wipe her own backside.

    • Camielle
      November 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm — Reply

      i thought that too, briefly, but it’s really only exploring with a peer, which yes, a lot of kids do. . 7:1 age ratio makes it perp-victim behavior every time it happened (and that’s me with my former CPS worker hat on). Not that this situation isn’t severe enough, but imagine the same context with a male 7 years senior of his sister or brother. It would automatically read as molestation, even were he white. White female privilege is a WHOLE ‘nutha animal in this instance here, and it’s sickening.

    • November 3, 2014 at 8:11 am — Reply

      I understand “children” doing some exploring. But a 7-year old exploring a 1-year old, and then saying “she didn’t resist” – as if she COULD – THAT, I have a problem with.

      • milaxx
        November 3, 2014 at 9:06 am — Reply

        Even if I could give same leeway to a 7 year old “exploring” a 1 year old. The thing that gets me is the fact that it seems to have occured with the parents consent. Sure it may have been after the fact, but the fact there was no talk about our bodies & personal space afterwards coupled with the implication that this sort of inappropriate behavior continued on after this event send all sorts of red flags up.

      • laura r
        November 3, 2014 at 11:16 pm — Reply

        how do we know this isnt exaggerated for shock value? afterall lena is an artist a writer. after you see GIRLS, you know what she does. i think she tweaked the truth for the book. theres a fine line between truth & fiction. ok lena, what do YOU have to say??? please comment.

    • Daniel
      November 3, 2014 at 10:19 am — Reply

      I’m sorry but what Lena describes goes beyond exploration. She took advantage (knowingly or unknowingly) of her sister’s vulnerability.

      I agree with the sentiment raised in the piece, does a 1 year old even have the motor skills or the awareness to put anything in her vagina? I doubt it. And her near cavalier attitude about the entire situation reeks of the language of an abuser.

    • Beanie
      November 4, 2014 at 11:05 am — Reply

      I’m conflicted too. I’m generally anti-Lena Dunham, but it seems kind of dangerous to compare this kind of behavior to violence against women perpetuated by adult men (as in the Ray Rice example). And do you really believe that if an Asian woman wrote this that she would automatically be labeled as an abuser? I’m not convinced. I’m also not convinced that an African-American woman couldn’t write this without reproach.

      Like I said, I think that Girls is terribly boring and that Lena Dunham has many issues. But this just seems like an attempt to divide women and feminists.

      • FromAVictimsPerspective
        November 5, 2014 at 2:15 am — Reply

        I generally agree with your take on this Beanie… While I have no preconceived position on Lena Dunham. I’m not a fan of her father’s work and from what I’ve read, I’d have the most to say about the fact that there seems to have been a lack of healthy parental guidance.

        I have a hard time getting behind the “sexual predator” label because, I don’t see any indication that 7 yr old Lena’s actions toward her sister were sexually motivated. To me motivation has to be the critical component in determining whether behavior is sexually deviant.

        Her sister has come out publicaly saying she had no issues with the information that was shared so beyond that, is this over sharing and lack of boundaries… That is for each of us to decide when we either buy or not this book.

        • Lauren
          November 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm — Reply

          But, no. The marker of abusive behavior is not whether the motivation was sexual. The marker is whether the behavior is about power. Remember — sexual abuse is not about sex. It’s about power.

          And frankly it totally seems like little Lena’s intent was to control her sister, to have power over her sister. So yeah, that’s sexual abuse in a nutshell.

      • Beanie
        December 3, 2014 at 12:23 pm — Reply

        Looking back on this through the lens of Ferguson and Tamir Rice, another reason I take issue with this article is that it encourages the criminalization of childlike behavior. We all have seen how devastating it is for black lives when the acts of children, which should be perceived as immature and innocent, are treated as dangerous and violent potential crimes. I think that’s part of what the author is pointing out in saying that a POC couldn’t write this. But whenever there is inequality, there are always two possible solutions: You can either ratchet up, and treat both groups equally harshly, or ratchet down, and give both groups the same benefit the privileged group has already been enjoying. For me, the solution here is to ratchet down, and to say that neither POC nor Lena Dunham should be persecuted for sexually exploring in their youths. Not to attack Lena Dunham simply because white society would similarly attack a woman of color in the same scenario.

        • bsbfankaren
          December 26, 2014 at 9:30 pm — Reply

          I’m sorry but as a parent I have a hard time seeing a 7 year old taking advantage of a one year old as “childlike behavior” particularly when it comes to the toddler having pebbles in her vagina. Think about this. In her vagina. Not in her diaper, which would be entirely possible, but IN HER VAGINA! That sounds like predatory behavior to me and if both children were mine, I would likely make sure the two were never alone together after having a long, age appropriate conversation with the older child.

          With that aside, I didn’t get the impression that the author was saying that Lena Dunham was wrong solely because a black woman would not get away with the same behavior, but that it is clear that the lack of media coverage of this matter…although I do believe I saw articles on Salon.com and Vox.com…speaks to a society that looks at the behaviors of some far differently than the behaviors of other’s.

    • The_L
      November 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm — Reply

      There’s a HUGE, massive difference between “playing doctor” with a child one’s own age, and “spreading open the vagina of my 6-years-younger, INFANT sister was normal for me.” The formal is normal, healthy childhood behavior; the latter is abusive, and not something a normal 7-year-old is likely to do.

      The vagina-stuffed-with-pebbles thing is also suspect in and of itself. Infant girls are going to masturbate themselves; that’s part of normal self-exploration. But it’s going to be rubbing the external genitalia, not insertion of objects into the vagina! I remember being a child and having “the urge” very vividly, and I assure you, sticking things inside there was NOT an idea that crossed my prepubescent mind. Plus, a one-year-old lacks the limb length, fine-motor control, and pain tolerance to stick pebbles into her own vagina. I highly doubt that poor Grace did that to herself.

      That story ALONE makes me question whether Lena Dunham was molested as a child. That would have made treating another child’s body as her own personal plaything more likely to cross her mind. I know I was curious about my little brother’s private parts when I was little, but I wasn’t about to go pulling his pants down and manhandling him. It just isn’t something a normal, well-adjusted kid is going to do.

      • A
        November 6, 2014 at 5:31 pm — Reply

        Disagree. Not a fan of Dunham’s, but kids engage in lots of sexual behavior on their own. Not all kids, of course, but a lot of them. Masturbation has even been observed on ultrasound images of fetuses in the womb.

        Her story is not unusual, and while she was perhaps mildly abusive such actions are not likely to cause any permanent damage.

        I do agree with the author that only a white woman could get away with saying what is common knowledge among non-zealot professionals who deal with children.

        • Lauren
          November 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm — Reply

          But do you think it is possible that a one-year-old infant put pebbles up her vagina? Not possible. She can’t reach, she doesn’t have the dexterity. She can’t undress herself. And what parent would leave a naked baby in front of a pile of pebbles?

          So Lena put the pebbles there, and I’m sorry, there is no way that’s not abuse. It’s abuse.

          • Komix
            November 7, 2014 at 10:37 pm

            What bothers me is that a one year old would have been in a DIAPER. I remember my sister at that age, she couldn’t have gotten her diaper off and back on. So why wasn’t Grace in a diaper to begin with? Why didn’t Mom find THAT strange.

            Because yeah, I’m agreeing someone put the pebbles there and it damn sure wasn’t the baby.

        • bsbfankaren
          December 26, 2014 at 9:34 pm — Reply

          Masturbation involves the touching of one’s self and not someone else, and that is the issue here. Yes, children explore their own sexuality from a young age, and it can indeed be age appropriate. Where it is NOT in fact appropriate is when an older child touches a much younger child in a sexual manner as Miss Dunham admits to. It’s not “mildly abusive” as it continued as the children got older. And while it may not have caused permanent damage, if that is the only bench mark we have in deciding whether or not child abuse has occurred, then the bar is set far too low. Just sayin’.

  3. November 2, 2014 at 5:52 pm — Reply

    I read those excerpts with my eyebrows all in my hairline because NOPE. This is beyond weird. Lena sounds disturbed. Poor Grace.

    I tried one episode of GIRLS and my brain went on hiatus. I was trying really hard to see the wit and brilliance everyone in the media is falling all over themselves to proclaim, but since I was so bored, I couldn’t find nothing. I gave up after about 15 minutes. No kank you!

  4. November 2, 2014 at 6:19 pm — Reply

    It was my understanding that some of the instances that were shared in that book happened when she was as old as 17 and her sister was like 10. that is a problem. and her saying things like she took pleasure in giving her sister devastating news…she needs help for real.

    SN: LMAO @ “I’ve watched 2 episodes of Psych.”

    • A
      November 6, 2014 at 5:32 pm — Reply

      Agreed. I found that far more disturbing than acknowledgment of normal childhood sex play.

  5. November 2, 2014 at 6:19 pm — Reply

    I think there’s truth woven in with lots of fabrications!!!

  6. Emti
    November 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm — Reply

    Nope. No. There is nothing yes about what she did to her sister then and now. Just no.

  7. MMG
    November 2, 2014 at 6:21 pm — Reply

    Did I SEE my the outside of my sisters vagina growing up? Sure. Did I see the inside or stick my fingers in it or spread it apart? Hell No! If this was a brother/sister scenario or indeed a Non Elite-White home people would be looking at those parents like WOW what was going on in that House of Horror?

    Also, didn’t even last an episode of GIRLS I’m sure it does speak of a generation, a generation of over-privileged, privately educated less talented than they think they are, beneficiaries of nepotism, elite media society daughters

  8. RonicaOne
    November 2, 2014 at 6:28 pm — Reply

    I thought the Mindy chicks book was just sad & self absorbed. This borders on sociopathic behavior! as a mother, sister, cousin, school teacher & social worker I don’t see any humor in this and this lady needs help. Stones in a one year olds vagina, didn’t happen probably but she is sad to reach that hard to be relevant.

    • Ott0_357
      November 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm — Reply

      You got is. She hasn’t had the adoration of the media in a while, so she will do or say anything to get her fix.

  9. Meredith
    November 2, 2014 at 6:28 pm — Reply

    I think what disturbs me most here is the lack of respect. Lena makes it very clear she doesn’t respect her sister’s wishes, her agency, or her privacy, and that’s unacceptable. Forget the ‘artistic temperament’ and the rest of that malarkey…there’s an issue here, compounded by the fact that the parents didn’t step in and correct the behavior.

  10. November 2, 2014 at 6:39 pm — Reply

    I’m white..from the generation of the 60’s and 70’s when we were doing all sorts of weird stuff. I mean WEIRD ..and we basically had no parental supervision most of the time. We didn’t look at each others privates like that. Even I’m like WTF with her words. You hit the nail on the head–even if she DID do this, why the hell include it in your book? It’s creepy, it’s nasty to her sister, and for her to say “ha ha” to it all makes it even worse. As for the pebbles in the V thing-didn’t her sister have a diaper on? What? Just sitting in the driveway all commando?
    Yeah, I thought about that.

    • GG
      November 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm — Reply

      THAT right there!!! She was 1 right? and running around with no diaper? Yea RIGHT!!!!

    • November 2, 2014 at 9:55 pm — Reply

      THANK YOU! Where was her diaper? What in the heck was going on in that house?

      These folks are crazy.

      Folks bringing up self exploration and all that…THAT is NOT this. This here *waves finger* is some disturbing mess that sane people do not do.

    • Melissa
      November 3, 2014 at 9:38 am — Reply

      Karen, you are absolutely hilarious.

    • Adrianne
      November 3, 2014 at 10:07 am — Reply

      This. So much this.

    • Julia
      November 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm — Reply

      On the no diaper thing – this isn’t that surprising. There’s a trend now among hippie/alternative parents to get rid of diapers. It’s more natural, kids get potty trained faster, etc. Lena’s parents were sort of hippies from what I understand, so it’s not surprising that they might be doing no diapers (at least some of the time).

    • Christy
      November 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm — Reply

      ALL OF THIS! I am so disgusted right now – that girl needs some serious help. (For the record, I only ever heard of this Lena person last week…I am not a tv fan, and I never heard of the show “Girls”, so of course I’ve never seen it.) When I heard her name last week, “weird” was associated with it…didn’t think much of it. Now?! NO!!! She is not weird, she is in need of help and in need of basic knowledge, like Luvvie said…ALL. OF. THAT! Ugh…disturbing!!!

    • Liv
      November 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm — Reply

      When I read that particular excerpt, that was literally the first thing I thought about. Smh. As soon as my mind connected “driveway” and “exposed baby privates” I knew this was a lie for attention. or she intentionally touched that little girl, and her parents were negligent for not making sure their child had a diaper on, and not supervising their perv daughter. If these stories are true it makes this crazy heffa and her parents look SO bad. I actually HOPE Lena Dunham just desperate for media attention.

  11. November 2, 2014 at 6:43 pm — Reply

    I am a Masters-level Mental Health Counselor, and have worked with victims of abuse. If this was a joke; it’s almost as bad as molesting a child. Did Lena Dunham let this be published after proof-reading it ? It seems she did because she puffs it off. Her biggest fans must think this is normal due to the majority of them being victims of sexual abuse.. I suspect Lena Dunham had to have been molested as a child; to be so sexualized that young. Dunham fits the stereotype of the angry feminist, because she was abused and she is angry.

  12. MissTish
    November 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm — Reply

    Okay, that whole explore the next kid’s body thing isn’t new, especially when the two bodies in question are different (in this case, small body/smaller body). But any of us that have studied child development KNOW that gross motor skills (control over the large muscles that allow you to sit, stand, walk, maintain balance) in a one year old likely do NOT lend themselves to picking up small objects and placing them in the vagina. Even if I did believe this foolishness, where were her caretakers while these gynecological studies were happening?And have you ever seen a one year old use a spoon? How many times do they open wide and STILL miss the target? Even if Grace had somehow discovered that her vagina could “hold” things, there’s no way she was successfully picking up “small” pebbles and putting them in her vagina. Her ears, her nose? Maybe. Her mouth? Definitely. Her vagina…O__0 This hard side-eye is at YOU, Leah D.

    • Milaxx
      November 3, 2014 at 9:12 am — Reply

      Exactly! A 1 year old has a very rough palmer grasp, which they typically use to shove things in their mouths, not their privates. To place pebbles meaning more than 1 in their privates would require a very well defined pincer grasp. So was Grace some sort of prodigy or did someone else place these pebbles there?

  13. stoppingby
    November 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm — Reply

    When I first heard about this, I thought like the commenter above, that kids DO experiment sexually, and that it’s normal even though it freaks adults out. But I do think this goes beyond that. I also agree that I stop short of calling her a sexual predator, because she was a child far below the age of culpability, and ultimately I feel there was something far more messed up happening with the adults in her life that caused this to go on. HOWEVER, by now she should know this is red flag/seek help behavior, not something to share flippantly in a memoir with no reflection or evidence of having since matured, and that it SEVERELY violates her sister’s privacy. If they were identical twins I *might* buy the “we’re inseparable in my mind” line but being 6 years older? Nope. Nope. Nope. All this fame and attention is only fueling the fire of her borderline personality disorder or whatever’s going on here, and it needs to stop. Who edited this memoir and let those anecdotes get published? I assume they thought whatever controversy it started would sell more copies? Didn’t an attorney have people featured in the book sign a release considering the things that were said about them? Is she embellishing these things to be shocking or did they really happen this way? So many questions. Then again I don’t care what the answers are, because curtains are closing on the Lena Dunham circus.

  14. SHA
    November 2, 2014 at 6:52 pm — Reply

    You don’t open your baby sister’s vagina and write about it when you’re good and grown. You don’t decide you and you’re (not twin) sister are one and have no respect for her and her privacy.
    Also as as parent, let’s say they weren’t siblings, I cannot begin to explain the level of rage I would feel/see to know that someone else’s child had my 1yr old’s vagina spread open.

  15. KayMee
    November 2, 2014 at 6:55 pm — Reply

    The fact that she can’t see how taking delight in sharing her sister’s secrets and using her sister’s pain to promote her career makes her the worse kind of emotional abuser is disturbing. I’m no psychologists, but I understand that only psychopaths and narcissists behave all cavalier (and proud) when sharing the effed up stuff they do to other people.

  16. Kami
    November 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm — Reply

    Somebody should’ve prayed some boundaries into her life, is what should’ve happen.It makes no sense how this is fine and dandy, and shes so comfortable in her own pile of #&#&$, like baby clean yourself and stop fighting off the Scotts! At no point can this white wiz kalifa explain to me how this is ok.
    Jesus be a time machine and go back and fix this Foolery with a swiftness, like a thief in the night, evening, morning whenever!

  17. November 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm — Reply

    I actually liked GIRLS–well, the first season anyway before the crazy whiny over-sharing got too intense for me. And really liked her movie. I thought it was a strong first movie and hella impressive for someone that young (23 or 24 when she did it?)

    Hadn’t read the memoir so this was pretty creepy to hear about yesterday.

    My personal jury’s out about the actual incident when she was 7 (mainly cause she was a little kid & it does seem there were significant boundary issues going on in her house).

    But the way she described it? OH HELLS TA THA NAH! It’s creepy. And the incidents when she was older? Very very creepy.

    I do agree that it’s definitely different than a Roman Polanski-type situation. But still…

    The over-the-top narcissism it takes to feel compelled to include all of that in a book? Is everybody around her such a crazy rabid suck-up that they think this is ok?

    She’s lost me as a fan. And I’m kinda curious if HBO’s gonna react to it.

  18. gg
    November 2, 2014 at 7:08 pm — Reply

    I got stuck and was completely over it at …the pebbles in her whoha. How in the entire hell did pebbles get in her whoha. And while you was spreading her vagina did you take off her diaper or was that the nodiaperbecauseitsgoodfordiaperrash hour? GTFOH

  19. November 2, 2014 at 7:11 pm — Reply

    She is the literal definition of a douchebag. The douchey-est of them all.

  20. Jay
    November 2, 2014 at 7:15 pm — Reply

    First off “baby clean yourself and stop fighting off the Scotts” had me writing my obituary in the gave. Secondly I have no idea who she is, nor do I know for what generation she speaks for cause it surly isn’t for me or mine (I’ll be 30 this December). Thirdly I’ve never heard of her OR the show Girls (Blessed Savior thank you). She has more problems than when Hank Hill got rid of Peggy’s garden gnome! Playing in your sister’s love pocket! That ain’t normal by any strech of the imagination! And she thought folks would find this cute? Chile…I will continue to ignore be clueless to who/what she is because baby! Old girl has issues!

  21. Jenny
    November 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm — Reply

    This whole thing is unhealthy. Like White Castle belly bomb unhealthy. And I get the same icky feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    What the hayl is she talking bout? Most 1 year olds still have a diaper and with their limited motor skills, I doubt that baby put those pebbles in. It seems like that household was rife with dysfunction at best, abuse at worst.

  22. Mal
    November 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm — Reply

    A well written, balanced and fair article. I am not impressed by her and she is NOT a voice of any generation in my opinion.
    I also feel bad for her sister and the embarrassment she must feel with this book.

  23. Gemsmom
    November 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm — Reply

    I have two daughters who are 5 years apart. Exploring the vagina of her younger sister NEVER crossed the mind of my oldest. Neither of my girls attempted to put anything in their vaginas at the ripe old age of 1. I have issues with this bull. Either the story is all lies, or this whole family is ape crap crazy. She may have not known exactly how wrong she was at 12, but she should know it now. Her sister ought to beat her like Mister beat Celie. I know one thing, I wouldn’t leave this freak alone with a fish, much less a child. If she’s so nonchalant about what she did to her sister, what is she doing now?

  24. RJ
    November 2, 2014 at 7:32 pm — Reply

    I think there’s a cultural boundary in regards to the Lena Dunham hype. She doesn’t speak for all millenials, just a subsect of suburban and somewhat privileged millenials. In that aspect, I think she’s right on. I’m African-American but I went to a predominantly white high school and graduated from a predominantly white college – there are moments of “Girls” where I feel like I’m hearing a conversation I’ve had with friends and it’s relatable.

    As for the excerpts, I’m not going to pretend I never played “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” when I was younger with a boy. But I do think she should’ve respected her sister’s privacy and not included those stories in her memoir. But if you watch “Girls”, you know Lena and self-absorption go hand in hand.

  25. Dom
    November 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm — Reply

    I think you’re blowing this out if proportion. Didn’t see anything in the above excerpts that seemed like anything other than regular ol’ childhood curiosity. I am curious though, how many people think this is abusive and are only children or have large age gaps between themselves and their next closest sibling. I’m guessing that May have something to do with the outcry about this. Most people I know who have a sibling close in age have some things they’ve done that they probably think is out of the ordinary until they share it. Now, would I share something of this magnitude in such a public forum? No. And could/shod it have been left on the editing floor? Probably. But am I going to condemn her for this? Also no.

    • Dee
      November 2, 2014 at 10:22 pm — Reply

      To clarify, being mature enough to understand how to bribe your baby sister to lie on top of you is peechy-keen childhood curiosity? Because white? Or nah? I know, I know….I know.

    • older
      November 3, 2014 at 2:47 am — Reply

      Dom there was a large gap between the two. They were not close in age. That is the point. There was a 6 year gap with no children in between.

    • Debra Jenkins
      November 3, 2014 at 10:39 am — Reply

      You may not find this disturbing and it may seem that only child, older sibling issue are the problem but as a mother if three children with huge age differences I am pretty sure that this cannot be considered as normal behavior. The fact that she laughs it off and her parents set no boundaries which allowed this to continue speaks volumes. The entire family needs to seek help. Privileged or not it is not acceptable to touch anyone else’s private parts, let alone to write about the abuse (yes abuse), sexual assault that was perpetrated on her younger sister.

  26. MellyWelly
    November 2, 2014 at 8:18 pm — Reply

    Maybe be this was a low-key cry for help?

  27. Rhiannon Admidas
    November 2, 2014 at 8:25 pm — Reply

    I had a hard time really pinning down why I thought the excerpts were weird because I do not think the events were explicit molestation, but you’ve totally nailed it down. What I am curious about is the context in which the anecdotes were told. I’m not going to read/buy the book, but I can’t help but wonder why she needed to talk about these things?

  28. November 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm — Reply

    Lena talks about it like it makes her charming. “Look how funny and quirky I was!” Nope. Not funny . Ask her sister how she feels when she reads this . It’s violation, it’s something that’s not yours. It’s lack of respect and empathy 20 years later. Have we not learned anything about hands to yourself, children, Lena, you are almost 30. You are not an adorable precocious child.

  29. November 2, 2014 at 8:35 pm — Reply

    Wow. I like to think I’m pretty open-minded, but this gives me the creeps. I’m the oldest of 5. I have 2 little sisters, and I remember changing diapers from when I was 5 years old. I didn’t even consider delving into their bodies as if they were playthings. I also can’t imagine writing about having done that to my sister as if I had a right to do it because I’m weird and now I’m famous. What must it feel like to read your sister’s words as she’s describing herself molesting you?

    I never liked Girls, but I thought it might be generational. Her utter self-centeredness just pissed me off. Not funny. Not endearing. Get a job and shut up about yourself.

    This stuff though is disturbing, and the fact that she doesn’t get that at her age is even more disturbing. I hope she never has children. I have no intention of reading her memoir now — not that I think I would have gotten through it.

    I did look up her dad’s art. I guess it’s one those situations where some people might call that art, but I see neither skill nor talent.

    Thanks for writing this. Good read.

  30. notconvincedgrannyt
    November 2, 2014 at 8:42 pm — Reply

    She is a second-class child molester. The fact that she doesn’t recognize it as such pretty much confirms it. The fact that she would write about it and take exception to her behavior being recognized for what it is makes her a douchecanoe, and I wonder how long her show will stay on. After all, if Mama June dating a child molester gets Honey Boo Boo cancelled, why would an actual molester remain on air?

  31. Kell
    November 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm — Reply

    Aside from really being disturbed that they weren’t very concerned about Grace’s vaginal health–because PEBBLES? WUT?–I have SO MANY QUESTIONS about their parents. So. many.
    This is why I really think folks need to take a test before they are allowed to procreate. If I’d seen her daddy’s paintings, I’d mark that test with an F…


    You don’t need to have kids, especially girl children, if you are THAT obsessed with vaginas and faceless penises. Nah son. Work that shit out first and then come back for the retest when you’re good. SMH

    • Emma
      November 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm — Reply

      An F- ……I am hollering!!! Lawdddd! I looked up those paintings too. Yeah….somethin…somethin is to be explored there. :/

  32. November 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm — Reply

    All of the nos. She had white privilege, no boundaries, no parental guidance and, from what I can see abused her sister and continues to do so by sharing these stories. Clearly, when she was a child, her parents were responsible for this. These behaviors should have been stopped, addressed. They were not. Now, she’s an adult with unlimited $ and “yes” people all around her and entitlement galore. It’s disgusting, but now she’s responsible. Therapy all around, if you please.

  33. November 2, 2014 at 9:18 pm — Reply

    I can’t imagine how her sister must feel. She was too young to remember the “pebbles” incident. Lena showed so much disrespect for her feelings. The sister should be terrified about what else she might say about things the sister was too young to remember. Is she supposed to go into witness protection now? Also, after having two kids, I agree with other people that the sister couldn’t have been able to put pebbles in her vagina at the age of 1. To be 30 years old and even think it’s okay to be so disrespectful to publish a family member’s private business, no matter how minor or major, is ridiculous and inexcusable. And what she has written is very disturbing.

  34. Kiss
    November 2, 2014 at 9:30 pm — Reply

    I have never liked Lena Dunham and now I hate her. She’s a creep. And society has allowed her to think it’s OK. Had an NFL player or Rapper made any of these confessions, their careers would be over. She has always made my skin crawl. But no…. she is the geeky awkward not exactly funny but feminist chubby white girl that every fat pimply almost lesbian white girl aspires to be at almost 30. No ma’am. Can she be in jail now? Or at least not on TV. She needs the Paula Deen /Michael Vick treatment. Blackball her from Hollywood. Blacklist…. Black fish….. black snake moan…. something. She’s just EWW and I hate her.

    • peter
      November 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm — Reply

      Michael Vick plays on the New York Jets.

  35. Dee
    November 2, 2014 at 10:02 pm — Reply

    I don’t think I have ever said “WTF” so many times in such a short period of time. I also questioned the veracity of that “rocks in the cookie” story. Was the baby hanging out in the driveway nekkid? How did the rocks get past the pampers? I mean, I am a mom and those suckas were kinda hard to get off sometimes.

    Her equally-entitled, permissive, artsy parents thought that was ok? No ma’am/sir…not ok. And Luvvie, you get all of the hates for directing us to Google her damb daddy. The whole family is every kind of freaky!

    All of this is a huge NO-NAWL-NAH! Shut up, Lena. Well, shut your mass media mouth and do not open it again until you are on some therapist’s couch.

  36. Naomi
    November 2, 2014 at 10:15 pm — Reply

    That wasn’t and isn’t appropriate behavior no matter what race, nationality or gender. It was sick and if I was her sister, I wouldn’t claim her at all. I was a curious child but not that curious. That is something I would have taken to the grave or talked to a counselor about. I never did like her; I don’t get all the hype her or her show is getting. I tried watching it and promptly shut it off. I do think if it was another race that did that, I would think they would not admit to it. However, this does remind a little of R. Kelly. We all know it was him in that tape but we still support him and his music. Should we be surprised she still has her supporters? And how can we justify supporting R. Kelly after all these years?

    • MST
      November 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm — Reply

      I have a younger sister and I NEVER touched her inappropriately at all. I;’m sorry, this behavior is just not normal.

      I never watched this show because I have no interest in it. I couldn’t understand why black people were so angry because there were few people of color in it. Ms. Dunham was merely reflecting her reality. Probably the only people of color she associates with are “the help.” Rich “liberal” white people talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk. More often than not, they live in the whitest neighborhoods they can find and send their kids to the whitest schools around. Let’s not forget that New York City — ultra hip liberal NYC — is one of the most segregated cities in the country and has THE most segregated school system.

  37. Oby
    November 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm — Reply

    ….and then you pulled out the DSM-IV on her!I am putting good money on her pic and a whole section dedicated to her in the new DSM-V. Oloshi!!!

  38. November 2, 2014 at 11:31 pm — Reply

    I really appreciate your piece and agree with you wholeheartedly – these are not ‘normal behaviours’ for any child to be doing *on* a much much younger sibling. It’s not like she was doing something weird *with* her one year old sister, as she was ONE and she seven. She was clearly imposing these activities on her then, and is also now writing about the incident in her own words and in such a way that suits her and her aims now. To further her brand of “manic pixie weird girl”. Just gross and creepy and messy all around. Thanks for writing this!

  39. Yelena Ortiz
    November 3, 2014 at 12:25 am — Reply

    The way Lena is acting is NOT NORMAL… not even for a child. They suggest that Lena has either been sexually abused herself, and is acting out what was done to her. OR, she has some serious mental health problem.

    I feel really bad for her sister, who clearly was being abused. The scars of sexual abuse last a life time, and now she is being re-traumatized by this memoir. It is clear who the real victim here is…and if I was her, I would get a restraining order, and pursue all legal options available.

  40. November 3, 2014 at 12:45 am — Reply

    This is so disturbing, but then again, her TV show never sat well with me. I don’t know why we celebrate the dysfunction and brokenness of certain privileged groups while minority women are sent to Iyanla to be fixed. Luvvie I am so disturbed. Why are networks ignoring this, what magical powers does she have?

  41. Sims
    November 3, 2014 at 1:32 am — Reply

    This is why I’m so glad I’ve been a cautious, safe and smart person my WHOLE life from childhood up until my current age of 22. I don’t know ANYONE who let their siblings touch them. No way in hell is it normal to touch your sister’s 1-year-old (or any age) vagina. Also, there isn’t a way a 1-year-old could put rocks in her vagina, and why would their mom let the sister (who is my age) out of her sight at the tender age of one? Further more, I think it’s child abuse on Lena AND her mom’s part: Lena is guilty for touching her sister and her mother is guilty for letting a baby sit on a driveway being watched only by her pedophile 7-year-old sister when a car could potentially drive up and run them both over. Wtf.

  42. older
    November 3, 2014 at 2:34 am — Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this and providing this forum. I too am white and older and come from a more relaxed time in terms of child rearing. As a child in the 1960s I was interested in the naked body, yes, as I recall, but at 7 I did not know I had a vagina. I was still in the poop peepee stage. No knowledge of a third area.

    I can tell you right now no baby — a one year old is a baby — knows she has a vagina. She certainly cannot put 6 or 7 pebbles up there. No. That child was used as a toy sexually by her sister.

    I know that Dunham has been in therapy forever along side her mother pushing her into the media — most notably the NYTimes. I just wonder what else went on it that home.

    And yes, no black woman I know would speak so cavalierly about such a distasteful act if it even occurred. Dunham could never even make it being the vulgar little pig she is and be black.There is a certain dignity in the typical black home which was shockingly absent in Dunham’s. I also believe a young black woman with her lack of comportment would not find an audience among her peers.

    It is unfortunate that there is a certain class of white liberal who finds being disgusting and shocking to be the height of wit. Dunham is their poster girl.

    Finally I hope that you will consider submitting this essay to the mainstream publications which have been silent on this issue. Your voice and that of your readers should be heard.

    • Milaxx
      November 3, 2014 at 10:43 pm — Reply

      I grew up during that time. We were told the proper names of body parts. We knew little girls had vaginas and little boys had penises. I’m sure there was even some I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. However. Nobody was shoving pebbles up anyone’s private spaces.

  43. Susan
    November 3, 2014 at 3:34 am — Reply

    Your article is extremely well written and right to the point accurate. I agree with everything you said. As for people rallying around her and supporting her – it doesn’t seem like many are saying anything positive about this. I, for one, think this woman has some serious issues that she needs to deal with immediately. Weird just doesn’t cover it. This woman is going to be getting some real negative backlash over this. Not just the fact that she wrote about this stuff like “heh, this is just me being me and it’s okay,” but the fact that she’s upset that people are finding it disturbing. I’m a white woman, nearly 60, and I consider myself a feminist and liberal and I do not like this woman or what she represents. Sounds like she and her family are in need of some serious help. I feel sorry for the sister.

  44. MrsAmyLW
    November 3, 2014 at 4:15 am — Reply

    I question the veracity of the entire account. Lena Dunham is talentless and depends on shock to keep herself relevant. As far as the media is concerned, as long as she continues to spout left wing garbage then she’ll continue to get a pass.

  45. Tracy
    November 3, 2014 at 4:25 am — Reply

    This is disturbing.
    I do not like how she thinks her Sister is her personal property.
    This information may help people uderstand here what is normal childhood sexual behavior.
    The section on Sexual Distubance is enlightening after reading these excerpts from Miss Dunham’s writings.

  46. Tracy
    November 3, 2014 at 4:29 am — Reply

    I am not sure how race applies here .
    Maybe I am being naive.

    • Really?
      November 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm — Reply

      Yeah, you’re being naive.
      Do you honestly think a black woman, a black man, or even a white man could write something like this can get away with it? Have virtual radio silence on the issue?

      If it were a black woman, her life would be dissected and vivisected. Angry Black Men online would point to her as what’s wrong with the community. If it were a black man, he’d be counted as a thug and sexual deviant. Same with a white man, except probably “creepy” instead of thug.

      But she’s a ever-so-hip-and-quirky-white-girl! So there isn’t much info on it (yet) and people are taking up for her.

    • April
      November 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm — Reply

      Yes, you are being completely naive. If Beyonce wrote a memoir and admitted that, at the age of 7, she’d gone spelunking in Solange’s nether regions, there would be a thousand times more outrage and the people who are defending Dunham would be nowhere near Bey’s corner.

      • ashley
        November 4, 2014 at 12:30 am — Reply

        uh i dunno about that example… beyonce has quite the rabid fan base…

        • April
          November 4, 2014 at 8:04 am — Reply

          Yes she does but that doesn’t mean that Dunham’s defenders are a) among them and b) would be as quick to defend her as they are Dunham.

          • BeyFan
            December 2, 2014 at 11:42 pm

            Actually, many of the women who call themselves Dunham’s fans sputter irrational hatred for Bey. Among their criticisms: They call her an anti-feminist for getting married, for taking Jay-Z’s last name (even though as I was told, they took each other’s), and above all, criticize her for “wearing skimpy outfits and being too sexual” on stage (meanwhile, their kiddie-touching hero goes naked). Methinks that last criticism has LOTS to do with Beyonce being conventionally attractive and, of course, Black, since many white feminists consider the Black female body to be slutty and, as they have said, “complicit with the patriarchy”. Such comments are just dripping with contempt for Black female sexuality.

            Also, when you respond to a criticism about casting Black people in your show as homeless people and maids with a pointless, content-free comment/distraction like “This has shown that there’s a really important conversation about race happening in America and I’m glad I could be part of it,” and then turn around and cry “you’re just jealous of my wealth!!!!” to that same population, who has historically had less access to wealth because of deeply embedded, ongoing institutional discrimination, you reveal yourself to be the piece of s**t that you are. Of course white feminists didn’t call her out on it. Classism, racism, and even endangering children are a-okay as long as a quirky, homely rich white lady is doing it! I have been banned for saying exactly this on their websites, which goes to show how deeply they control the conversation.

  47. Annette R Floystrup
    November 3, 2014 at 4:41 am — Reply

    This raised more than a few red flags for me. I am the adult daughter of a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. When Dunham describes her sister as an extension of herself, that is a classic NPD way to view another person…with total appropriation of that person’s life experiences and body. And, as a survivor of child sexual abuse, I will gladly state that the actions described by Dunham in her book, bribing a younger sibling for sexual favors, masturbating next to a much younger sibling and physically sexualizing a toddler with inappropriate touching all qualify as predatory.
    The point is also well taken that the lack of media attention and outrage, social or otherwise, is absolutely the product of white privilege. I don’t believe that any prominent woman of color could have written the same book and gotten the same eerily neutral response. Thank you for a well written and thought provoking article.

  48. [email protected]
    November 3, 2014 at 5:23 am — Reply

    White girls is crazy. Rich white girls are out of their minds entirely. Thank you for writing this.

  49. mzmiamiheat
    November 3, 2014 at 7:59 am — Reply

    as I read the story, half of the time my mouth was open in shock and awe like wtf and who does this??? I NEVER explored my cousins (didn’t have siblings) like this!! Where is this ok? Smh, I’m gonna put myself in a corner to try to wrap my mind around this because this is TOO MUCH for 7:59am on a Monday:/

  50. November 3, 2014 at 8:02 am — Reply

    I’m not familiar with your blog until now, and lady, you hit the nail right on the head, over and over again. You’ve said everything that no one else is saying. Where was her mother? Where was her publisher? Her editor? This isn’t normal behavior. It’s not funny, cute, or edgy. If she was a child of color, we know what would have happened (and I say this as a white Jewish girl from Queens). Thank you thank you for writing such a wise post. Shared everywhere.

  51. Buddy
    November 3, 2014 at 8:10 am — Reply

    I don’t think you paid attention at all to psych

  52. cate
    November 3, 2014 at 8:32 am — Reply

    with all of the truly bad shit going on in the world, why waste your energy judging Lena Dunham for some weird (to you) shit she did in her childhood. if you don’t like her sensibility, don’t read her book. her sister is a grown woman, who, if she feels she was abused, has the agency to deal with it in whatever way she wants. you can’t diagnose shit from a paragraph of writing in a memoir. you don’t know any of these people personally. you don’t know what it’s like to be in their family. what is all this judgement FOR? i just don’t understand why people give a shit.

    • adj
      November 3, 2014 at 9:33 am — Reply

      And yet you found the time to read the whole article and comment.

    • November 3, 2014 at 10:33 am — Reply

      Have several seats.
      Be for real. Until this, I was only marginally aware of this Lena & her newfound notoriety.
      Having read Luvvie ‘ s succinct “call-to-arms” puts Lena Dunham & her ‘ish in sharp focus, & for good reason. If this sick chick is being touted for her “bravery” & “transparency” by major media & not called out for rampant foolishness/fuckery, then it’s up to the rest of us rational beings to let loose a collective “WHOA, MULE!”
      …If for no other reason than to let today’s young folks there’s still some shyte out here that ain’t cool & ain’t NEVER gon’ be cool.

    • November 3, 2014 at 10:40 am — Reply

      Hm. Where does apparently molesting a child and casually writing about it as an adult, without the molested person’s consent, rank on the “truly bad shit” scale? Sorta bad shit? Bad, but nothing to get worked up about shit? Cause in my world, that’s some bad shit.

    • Andi
      November 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm — Reply

      Child sexual abuse IS bad shit, Lena.

  53. AliLaurelHabs
    November 3, 2014 at 8:38 am — Reply

    This piece is spot on! Her complete objectification of her sister is so disturbing! Bribing your sibling to “relax on me” cannot possibly be ok.

  54. Coquinegra
    November 3, 2014 at 9:15 am — Reply

    I didn’t know anything about this…and I’m now horrified that I do.
    The worst thing isn’t Lena Dunham; the worst thing is that people will pretend it’s “normal” because they like her.
    Celebrity makes fools of people; down goes society with this starf*cking impulse.

  55. Courtney H
    November 3, 2014 at 9:18 am — Reply

    I am both perplexed and confused by this situation. This book has been out since September 30th. It has been reviewed both by industry types and has been read by her fans. So no one had an issue with these excerpts before the article was written? I went to Amazon and I saw glowing reader reviews, and the ones that didn’t like the book had their reasons, but none of them included those excerpts. WTH is going on here? I feel like I am really missing something.

    Also, I am really stuck on some random details. How is a 1YO able to stick pebbles in their own vagina? Did she take her diaper off or was she not wearing one in the first place? Why was it common for Lena to dig into her sister’s vagina? Why is it important to note that a 1YO didn’t resist? I have questions. Many, many questions.

  56. murgle
    November 3, 2014 at 9:22 am — Reply

    I didn’t even know who this person was until now (I don’t watch TV or pay attention to the entertainment industry all that much)… but it doesn’t take a lot of investment into the subject to immediately see her as a lying, child molesting, and attention seeking bucket of crazy. Seriously, where is the investigation into all this crap she’s slinging?

  57. LadyLarke
    November 3, 2014 at 9:26 am — Reply

    I guess I’m one of those rare folk that actually like “Girls”, but this story of Lena and Grace…nah. Nan. Nope. Yes, children explore. But coming from someone who experienced that kind of “exploration” at an early age (I was 4, my molester 7) is not exploration at all in my eyes. I went through much deep shit stemming from that over the course of my life. I finally sought professional help for it, but molestation, exploration, whatever the hell you wanna call it, can be damaging to the child.

    I also agree that if it were a Black woman talking about this, then charges may have even been brought up against her. But because this is Lena Dunham, the “voice of our generation” (Not my generation, even though we are almost the same age. I am my own voice, thanks), she gets a “get out of jail free” card. I can’t even wrap my brain around that.

  58. Krysti
    November 3, 2014 at 9:29 am — Reply

    I like how this became an article about “white privilege”, or “white woman privilege” as if there is a comparative case involving literature describing a black *ahem* sorry, I mean “person of colour”, who happens to be a woman of getting away with this less. Of course this is some pretty unique literature here, and has a whole lot of “what the fuck” tied to it, it CLEARLY expresses her lack of boundries that exist even today, all those parts were perfectly valid and I agree. Turning this into some political “liberals” thing, and a “white woman privilege” thing, meh. Do I think Tyra Banks could’ve gotten away with authoring a book like this? Yup, although I am not saying Tyra would DO this, but I do think if we swapped positions here for a moment, she could. But wait, is Tyra “black enough”? *cough* I mean, POC enough? Do we still do that? Do we validate “POC” on how C the P is? What a bunch of cockypop.

    Now let’s step back from that, can we look at this publicised piece as a literary works of a weird kid? Sure, if you are say, six or seven years old, a girl, any colour, maybe you have absolutely no perception of sex, maybe there was no sexual connotation to her exploration and of course the parents should not have allowed this but look at it from a child’s eyes and maybe just MAYBE that’s why Lena aired this out because we were all meant to look at this through a child’s eyes, not our very analystic adult eyes that are all very aware of predators and sexual abuse. It seems to be how it was SUPPOSE to be digested but how can we really when she uses words like “predator” herself. If I had siblings that lived with me, would I have known my boundaries? I suppose, I can only surmise. You can look at your own childhood and say “well *I* never”, sure, maybe you didn’t do things like this, but does it really belong in the arena of sexual predator because she used adult words to describe a childhood that seemed unleashed? I think we’re stretching the definition of “molested”, molestation seems like we’re thinking Lena had a sexual context to all of this, and I have my doubts.

    No, I’m not a fan of Lena, or Girls, never heard of her or the show till right now. I don’t watch TV anymore, so this isn’t some fangirl sticking up for her, because I’m not even sticking up for her. Very disturbing behaviour, def needed guidence, boundaries and perhaps therapy as a child, or even now. Child molester though? Is she still shoving pebbles in child’s vaginas? No, I don’t think so. She grew out of this weird exploration period I wager, which reflects why she was so comfortable to overshare this information with all of us.

    • November 3, 2014 at 10:55 am — Reply

      You can deride the phrase “PoC” all you like (and I’d probably join you) but it doesn’t change the fact that the hypothetical world that you posit where a black person is rich enough, famous enough, and carries enough cultural cachet to casually write about sexually molesting a younger sibling and get a pass from her fanbase and the media in general, doesn’t exist. And please explain to me how bribing someone for prolonged kisses and masturbating in the presence of your younger sister as an adolescent *isn’t* sexual?

      • Krysti
        November 3, 2014 at 11:24 am — Reply

        Masturbating while sharing a bed is hardly an issue if she’s left alone. If she’s masturbating her sister while she’s sleeping, then we’re discussing a totally different topic of sexual assault by a woman nearly of age, and sexually aware. You’re looking too much into that particular passage as it has absolutely no abusive context if the sister was left alone, sleeping and unaware (until now).

        I’m sure this behaviour is not too dissimilar from a lot of young women (perhaps young men too) who perhaps don’t have the option to NOT share a bed due to unfortunate childhood upbringing as far as money goes. I didn’t read anything about Grace being forced to watch or listen. The other stuff is fucked up, there is this form of “control” she persists upon in all these passages how she liked to have her squeal in displeasure because it was her causing it.

        On to the kissing, we’re talking about a child here. In the mind of a child of 6 or 7 years old, there may not have been any sexual context, a kiss between child sisters doesn’t necessarily define “sexual” if it’s not sexual, not to dismiss how Grace feels, BUT that is for her to feel, and how she feels is her business, not for us to tell her she was victimized when we’re not looking at this from a personal perspective at all, just passages shoved in our eyeholes.. She’s of age, she can handle the situation on her own and hey, maybe she should, but it’s not for us to decide.

        I wouldn’t look at all these passages as some steamy horrific erotic pederast novel, people are adding a lot of sexual context where there might not even be any, but instead be viewed as a novel about a child who was completely given way too much freedom by stupid hippie parents who thought letting their freedom ride out and see how it all turns out, well, not that fucking great folks. Her behaviour persists in this self-absorbed person who utterly shares inappropriate stuff despite how anyone involved feels.

        • November 5, 2014 at 11:53 am — Reply

          The fact that Lena uses the phrase “didn’t resist” infers that either 1. resistance would be a NATURAL response, 2. her baby sister had resisted previously, 3. this wasn’t EXPECTED to be a consensual situation. When she says she had to “bribe” her to do physical acts with her, again, indicates a lack of consent or resistance on the part of the baby. What needs to be understood is that perpetration and victimization isn’t as subjective as some of you would like to perceive. I work with child sex offenders and have worked with victims of sexual abuse- THIS IS SEXUAL ABUSE. Look up the LAWS- the government plays no games. I think this young lady needs to seek out immediate professional help.

          How is this a race issue you ask? Let a minority female- African American, Hispanic, even Asian- have told this story in a professional setting, CPS would’ve been called and investigators talking to those involved before she finished her coffee. Why? Because society still inherently and sometimes subconsciously sees minorities as savages and don’t believe we can adequately care for our young….but that’s a different debate.
          There’s no way a white male could’ve written these tales and not been considered a pedophile and had a psychological evaluator waiting on him, PARTICULARLY a celebrity white male. And let’s not front like we don’t know that had a black male told these tales he’d have been in court already, fighting for statute of limitations with a ridciulous bond, ESPECIALLY A FAMOUS BLACK MAN.

          sigh…..this has made my head hurt in new ways….

  59. November 3, 2014 at 9:59 am — Reply

    […] […]

  60. dawn
    November 3, 2014 at 10:10 am — Reply

    Yes kids experiment, yes kids are curious and yes some of them take their explorations a little further than others but there is nothing, NOTHING that reads merely curious or experimental about what she did to her younger sister. And to think that it’s ok or even funny/witty to include it in a memoir suggests that her switches aren’t properly connected. GTFOH with that mess please.

  61. Susan
    November 3, 2014 at 10:22 am — Reply

    I think there had to be some abuse going on for her to act that way so young and to think this is funny. When you grow up in a dysfunctional home, you know your family isn’t normal, but you aren’t sure where to draw the line. So, adults having sex with kids? Clearly not normal. A little sibling exploration? To us, clearly not normal, to the person in the household, way closer to the normal end of the spectrum.

  62. Legal Eagle
    November 3, 2014 at 11:02 am — Reply

    From her recent interview with the NY Times:

    “Dunham stopped sleeping with her parents at 12, at which point Grace, who is six years younger, began crawling into bed with Dunham, an arrangement that lasted until she left for college (and resumed whenever she returned home).”

    God knows what else she did to her sister during that time…I too will stop short of calling her a predator, but her actions were not at ALL normal.

  63. S. Bailey
    November 3, 2014 at 11:07 am — Reply

    I can’t even count the times during my childhood that another child showed me their pee-pee down by the river (children playing alone by a river was normal) or took a peep at mine. We all survived and aren’t sexual predators. People need to stop making such a big deal out of everything. Just because everything about the human body is dirty/sexual to you doesn’t mean is it to children or anyone else for that matter. Everyone is so self-righteous, stop being perverts and get over it!

    • really
      November 5, 2014 at 1:16 pm — Reply

      1 year old isn’t old enough to be by anyone’s river playing doctor. You can’t even speak or “resist” if you don’t want to play at 1. You damn sure aren’t smart enough to put pebbles anywhere besides your mouth at 1. I sincerely hope your parents wouldn’t have let you go unsupervised and diaper less with a sibling 6 years older than you, ended up having to get pebbles out of your privates, and not had any questions. My family would have at LEAST had some boundary discussions, but then again I wouldn’t have been unsupervised in a driveway in the first damn place, so I guess everyone was raised differently

  64. November 3, 2014 at 11:08 am — Reply

    For everyone saying “she was only 7” the bribery obviously happened when they were older. “As she grew, I took to bribing her for her time and affection: one dollar in quarters if I could do her makeup like a “motorcycle chick.” Three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds. Whatever she wanted to watch on TV if she would just “relax on me.” Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.” I mean for goodness sake, she calls HERSELF a sexual predator. Why is this even a question? And I don’t buy that a 1 year old placed pebbles in her own vagina. Who the hell sits a 1 year old outside with no diaper on in the driveway? Because she would have had to be diaperless to pull that off. If Lena Dunham was Larry Dunham the outcry would be deafening. But because she’s a woman, it’s just harmless experimentation. I don’t understand people.

    • Yes
      June 6, 2015 at 10:37 pm — Reply

      Thank you for clarifying this, for some reason people ignore the fact that she was BRIBING her when she got OLDER.

  65. Sarah
    November 3, 2014 at 11:16 am — Reply

    The reason she has been called the “voice of our generation,” and you haven’t, meaning, you, the writer of this article is because she says things that are honest no matter how much they make people uncomfortable. Maybe the reason this sort of story makes you so uncomfortable is because at some point you partook in these same behaviors and repressed them, which kids do. Some kids don’t and they remember as adults. Maybe the reason everyone has been “unusually quiet” is because they have instances of their own, but they choose not to share them. They don’t know how to… making Lena Dunham that voice to bring some of these things to light, which should not be scrutinized. If you want to get into the psychology of someone, which you seem to attempt, here’s a thought: Maybe focus less on her voice, tone, THE WAY she said it — the so-called humor — and more on the words she says. The fact that she has shared this with the world means something in itself.

    • Nah
      November 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm — Reply

      I would never have to say something like this…because I’ve never done this to anyone.

      What are you smoking? Where did you acquire it? It must be amazing to live in a world where you think is even some semblance of “normal” behavior. Normal in quotes because yes, the width of what can be considered normal is pretty vast.”

    • Katworth
      November 3, 2014 at 1:15 pm — Reply

      She compared herself to a sexual predator, as a joke, talking about her infant sister, who “did not resist.”

      Those are her words.

    • LauraA
      November 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm — Reply

      But maybe–just maybe–that level of narcissism isn’t necessary. And maybe–just maybe–Lena isn’t “socially awkward”. The more that I see Lena and others who represent my generation in the media, the more convinced I am that the definition of “socially awkward” doesn’t actually reflect their behavior, their situations, or serve as any sort of justification for the insatiable drive to simply say anything, do anything, and simultaneously negates honesty. I’m not certain that Lena is really honest with anyone, despite writing some events that likely occurred. The subtext that I get from Lena is vastly different, and is built on a lot of artifice.

    • StrawDiddleDiddle
      November 8, 2014 at 6:32 pm — Reply

      Maybe the reason “Sarah” gets uncomfortable hearing about terrorist attacks and murders and stuff is because, at some point in her life, she did the same things and repressed memories of it, which privilege apologists do.

      …or, maybe people who aren’t part of this so-called “generation” Ms. Dunham supposedly speaks for, still have some inkling of knowing right from wrong.

    • Suuuuure
      June 6, 2015 at 10:42 pm — Reply

      Yeah, right, because physically forcing yourself on someone who is not in the position to say no is completely normal. And what she did as they got older was completely normal, bribing for kisses and for laying on top of her (btw knew someone who go arrested for this they were in their teens, as she was too! She stopped at age 17. Let’s not forget the metal abuse -and seeing her younger sister as n “extension” of herself (textbook narcissist) and not respecting her boundaries. Yeah….all good over here.

  66. David
    November 3, 2014 at 11:22 am — Reply

    Once, when I was seven, I stole five dollars from my mother’s purse. Can criminal charges be pressed? Maybe I’m evil and a reprobate!

    • AD
      November 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm — Reply

      Care to explain how stealing five bucks from a wallet and being a teenager and bribing your little sister for sexual favors, or prying open your baby sister’s vagina as a seven year old are even REMOTELY valid?

    • Nah
      November 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm — Reply

      Stealing five dollars from a purse =/= predatory behavior on a little sister. (On top of her habitually refusing to respect her sisters boundaries.)

      Y’all apologizers are something else, I swear.

    • Chocl8t
      November 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm — Reply

      You’re comparing apples to oranges with this weak straw man argument. Thanks for playing. Buh-bye

  67. November 3, 2014 at 11:32 am — Reply

    Thanks for this piece!

    You sum up so many of my own thoughts, and undoubtedly many others’.

    Even as a millenial white girl, I don’t “get” Lena Dunham. I don’t thinks she’s the feminist icon we need. I think she’s heavy handed and hypocritical.

    And I’m sorry, but what parent a) lets a one year old have marbles unsupervised, b) lets them walk around without a DIAPER outside in their driveway?

    And we have to take Lena’s word that her sister was satisfied with a prank (devised by someone who probably hasn’t mastered a full sentence yet) because no one remembers jack at one year’s old (unless it’s trauma). And she has the dexterity to insert them? And the muscle control to keep them inside?

    Well, I’m embarrassed by how long I took to master tampons.

    Is it molestation? I don’t know. But what she describes in her own words is exactly what she calls it – predatory. And IF it’s true (she could just be making the whole thing up, which would *almost be worse) then you’re right that she’s speaking like a date rapist, and would be strung up if she were a man or a woman of colour – and the fact she doesn’t know that just affirms for me that she and I have nothing in common, and I don’t want her at the front of my fight for equality or influencing my nieces.

    Here in Canada where we’re in the beginnings of story about Jian Ghomeshi alleging his sexual partners “didn’t resist” (as Lena put it), I can’t believe we’re not holding her to a higher standard.

    We have to stop looking at a level of a woman’s success as automatic role model enrolment. Same with Beyonce “My Husband Sings About Coercing Women to Take Drugs and Have Threeways but I’m a feminist!” Knowles. They’ve both achieved incredible things as women, but I don’t think that qualifies them to speak to or for such a hugely diverse group of people on the issues of feminism, and I worry that they’re shaping minds with these mixed messages.

    Thanks for speaking the truth! And that Owl Gif – because it’s The Bee’s!

  68. Adi
    November 3, 2014 at 11:36 am — Reply

    The “childhood curiosity” argument is much like the “boys will be boys” mentality, it’s does nothing but distract from the core problem. Her mother wouldn’t have to shame her for what she did but there was a conversation that needed to happen that clearly never did.

  69. Margo
    November 3, 2014 at 11:42 am — Reply

    There are so many factors that are wrong with this.
    at 1 years old your fine motor skills would NOT tell u to stick something in your private parts unless you see someone do it. Thats part of the beginning stages when they emulate everything thats been done, and she didnt resist? honestly, i teach kindergarten and if one of my kids told me that there sister was bribing them and opening up there hoohah, parent teacher counselor meeting would be in full effect. Also the statement that “she didnt resist” makes me wonder if something happened to her where she did resist, and where someone was bribing her for candy for other “favors”, this screams Law and Order SVU. and you’re right about people of any color not being able to write this stuff. My african parents would have fainted and my ancestors would’ve rolled over in their graves.. honestly this book is troubling.

  70. Loraine
    November 3, 2014 at 11:56 am — Reply

    +1 to everything you said here, pebbles included.

  71. J
    November 3, 2014 at 12:09 pm — Reply

    Overall I think you have a good take on this and I agree that certain aspects of this can absolutely be viewed through the prism of white privilege, which is to a large extent what enables Dunham to overshare and put things out there without much concern for judgement or reprisal. (usually that is a privilege that works to her advantage, although here, I agree, some editorial oversight would have been to everyone’s benefit)

    But I not sure I understand what you mean by: “A Black woman could not have written what Lena did. She would not have the space to argue context. She would not have anyone championing her. She would certainly not be given some benefit of the doubt about childhood exploration because Black people’s innocence is often denied, even when we’re 7. Our kids are tried as adults in the court of public opinion and in the court of law. In fact, NO person of color could have written this.”

    Would there be fewer people to champion a person of color? You’re probably right. More people attacking a person of color? I’m not sure about that, I think that Lena Dunham’s popularity cuts both ways here, and (deserved or not, positive or negative) she gets a lot of media attention. Getting the benefit of the doubt is going to break differently among individuals. I don’t doubt that a person of color would get less leeway, less sympathy, less space to argue context. But they wouldn’t get none. There would be a conversation, and people to defend them and argue for that context.

    And for that matter, is Lena Dunham really getting an excessive amount of leeway here? Are people waiting patiently and witholding judgement until she has time to prepare a detailed response? Are people going out of their way to ignore the story (And, is there even a story here? Is there a response other than ignoring it that is really appropriate here? Why?)

    It would certainly be different if a person of color wrote it, and the responses would be different and the critics and defenders would be shuffled somewhat. It’s hard to think through a hypothetical because there isn’t really an analogue, say a black female twenty-something writer famous for over-sharing with anywhere near the same profile as Dunham. That absolutely speaks to the lack of representation and a whole host of other issues. But what does it mean to say “NO person of color could have written this”?

    I doubt the experience itself is so unique. I’m sure that there are other kids who did inappropriate things out of curiosity. I don’t think Dunham did a very good job writing about that experience with any kind of insight or sensitivity or purpose. But I think a person of color could have written this. And there would be controversy, just like there is controversy here, and defenders, just like there are defenders here, and perceptions of race would be brought to bear on people’s judgement in ways that they are not brought to bear here- I don’t disagree with that- but it’s not impossible to conceive of this type of experience being shared by a person of color.

    • Merrill
      November 4, 2014 at 8:46 am — Reply

      Yo, I think the point is not that a black child couldn’t have done this, but that a black celebrity couldn’t have written this with such clear expectations of being feted for it, and, to be honest, being feted for it. If Aisha Tyler wrote this, her career would go down the drain. Yes, some would defend her, but the culture at large would decide that she was unacceptable, inappropriate and probably still a predator. There would NOT be many people piping up with, it’s normal kid behavior. Because it fucking well is not. Just because some folks are perverse and will defend even the most vile of behaviors does not mean that the people we’re discussing are given space and a conversation.

  72. Maureen
    November 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm — Reply

    Yes, this is messed up and totally wrong. But my red flags point at parents. You look at both of her parents’ art and it’s creepy and messed up. I can’t help but believe that there is a lot more behind this than is being said. I would be willing to bet that there were abuses happening to her that cause her to think that this was normal and fine. Possibly abuse of her sister to (by someone else) that led sister to put rocks in her vagina. An older one year old (as in almost two) could mess with herself if she has been taught to by having an adult mess with her. If she “couldn’t resist” that might mean that an older person said the same thing to her. She thinks it’s normal to look at another child which means she was taught that is was! I don’t blame her, I hurt for her and what probably happened to her to make her think this is ok. I see a woman in need of help and therapy because of how she was treated and what she was taught was normal and good. If this was within the normal scope of things for her to do then she was messed up by an adult from a younger age.

  73. Katworth
    November 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm — Reply

    Thank you for every word of this. SO very messed up.

  74. Annette
    November 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm — Reply

    Her sister don’t mind sure she doesn’t. If it was a man telling these stories it would be a red flag. We have now a days women getting arrested for childhood molestation. Some one needs to tell her and stop supporting this behavior as okay.

    It’s child predator behavior, and to tell about it at age 30 crazy. This is so wrong. Why celebrate this as okay it’s not and I hope she has her come to Jesus moment. She stepped all over her sister’s boundaries and to tell the story and shame her for fame and fortune even worse. In the telling of the story you get that she knows what she was doing and it’s okay with her. I am glad some went to twitter and told her about it. A man wouldn’t get away with it, why is she so privileged.

    Just too many people overstepping boundaries like they are entitled, someone need to pull their bootstraps but quick.

  75. Zena, the other warrior princess
    November 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm — Reply

    Thank you for this article. When someone writes “Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl, I was trying” she cannot then complain when people do compare her to a sexual predator! She started it herself.

    She is incredibly creepy. When I first heard about this excerpt, I assumed she examined her younger sister while changing her. But no, she just randomly leaned over and checked her sister’s vagina. And her mom her mom did nothing to stop this or to let Lena know this was not ok???? There is something wrong with this family. This is not normal behavior. And Lena opened herself and her family up to scrutiny.

    BTW, I am a white woman. and on behalf of white women everywhere I am appalled that anyone is supporting what she did as normal behavior.

  76. adj
    November 3, 2014 at 1:57 pm — Reply

    For everyone calling it “exploration,”–it is natural for kids to explore with their peers but her one-year-old sister, and all the times that she was committing these acts with a sister 6 years younger than her, was not her peer. Six years is an eternity in child development. Even if we stop short of calling it molestation, there was no mutual “exploration” happening here. Her baby sister who couldn’t form a sentence didn’t agree to explore with her. Whether she resisted or not, her sister 6 years younger than her didn’t “agree” to be kissed by her older sister. She went along with it because Lena was her older sister. As an older sister of about the same age difference, there was a certain amount of rank that I could pull over my baby brother because he was a baby. When you use your rank to “explore” another person, you aren’t exploring. You are a predator.

    And it is not just the fact that she did it, or even that she said it. It is the way that she said it. Even if I am going to give you all calling this “normal” behavior (even though it’s not) the benefit of the doubt, Lena describes this in a sexual manner and then jokes about it. Even if we, for a moment, forget about race, can you imagine the reaction if a 30-year-old man wrote a piece in which he joked about touching his sister 6 years younger’s private parts, and paying his sister to kiss her and “relax on him?” Everyone would be calling him all kinds of molesters without giving two clucks about his sad, I’m-being-internet-bullied molester tears.

  77. Cheekie Mae
    November 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm — Reply

    As someone whose childhood molestation was specifically “bribing for kisses,” this was completely disturbing/triggering for me. And the lighthearted “oh this so cute and quirky, guise!” way she told it has me uneasy as hell.

  78. Emily
    November 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm — Reply

    Agreed. Lena definitely learned these behaviors from a sexually abusive adult. And those stories chronicle sexual abuse of her sister. It’s horrible and the fact that she speaks with such detachment does point to abuse she probably suffered herself and hasn’t dealt with. She should feel that these things were wrong, but hopefully will figure out WHY she acted out, since those are behaviors that are learned, not something innate to children.

  79. Haas
    November 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm — Reply

    literary child porn

  80. Kiarri
    November 3, 2014 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    Here’s the biggest problem, aside from the obvious habitual line-stepping Lena Dunham incessantly engages in: she’s boring and apparently willing to say or do anything to get attention. Of course her and Taylor Swift are besties. If they could get with Gwyneth Paltrow in the same faulty boat… #AndTheWorldWouldBeABetterPlace

  81. Morgan
    November 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm — Reply

    I don’t know anything about Lena Dunham (I’ve never watched Girls or kept up with her work), but as a young white woman, I really appreciate your perspective as a WOC.

  82. Kiki
    November 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm — Reply

    Yeah, her entire excerpt is being read from the top of Mount NOPElympus. So I get that young kids will explore each other’s body, but the way she described it, wasn’t in a I’m-curious-about-my-body parts format. It didn’t help with that part where she mentioned how she took ‘perverse pleasure’ in giving her little sister bad news just so she could be emotionally dependent on her. That’s absolutely not normal for a child’s psychosexual disorder. I’m not saying Lena needs some jail, but lawd knows she needs a therapist.

  83. WowJustWow
    November 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm — Reply

    Thank you for this great, thought-provoking, yet funny-without-making-light-of-a-messed-up-situation article. You speak for me and articles like this remind me why you’re one of the few go-to websites in my life. I started reading your blog because of your first funny and insightful post about Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone, and articles like this keeo me coming back, as much as your roasts of various people do.

  84. November 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm — Reply

    This piece is everything! Yes, thank you for being a hilariously sane voice of reason. Boundaries, she clearly doesn’t have any, and she is so overly confident thanks to all her ridiculous fan girls, she doesn’t even realize the errors of her ways. Comparing her actions to those of a pedophile, and then getting outraged that people are outraged. And the political tie-in is disturbing too. Yes, because this is all about politics. Only those of conservative leanings are outraged about this. Please. She just needs to go away.

  85. GregL
    November 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm — Reply

    You are absolutely correct that this mess wouldn’t look too good if a male had written it: “I took some pebbles and put them in the anus of my 1-year-old brother.” It’s not a normal act–not by a mile. But – on top of that – the whole damned context is weird & criminally-negligent. Would pebbles not cause some injury to sensitive tissues? Isn’t this the sort of thing people get their kids taken away for? But not Lena’s mother–guess she doesn’t fit The Profile?

    Her father’s art is the sort of uncompelling, disengaged, whimsical trash that the boorish rich love to paw over; but now in light of this story I’m wondering just what the situation in that house was…There may be another shoe to drop, one day…

    • Jenna
      November 3, 2014 at 5:11 pm — Reply

      She’d have had to have been caught and charged. That she “got away” with it doesn’t have to be anything other than nobody ever knew about it, not that people knew and gave her a pass.

  86. Natalia
    November 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm — Reply

    I used to like Lena, despite the unnecesary nudity in every other episode, which I justified with her needing to stand out and make a statement about female bodies and young woman struggles …i thought “ok, i´ll let this one go, i am open minded, i can see her bare body and not judge her, who am i to judge, i dont have a perfect body either…OMG is Jessa eating Tastee´s vagina?”. and now this. It doesn’t stop with her forcing her naked self to us on tv, now she thinks we need her to strip down her brain also. we don’t need to know her deepest and darkes thoughts or memories and in a way i guess she thought we were asking for that. I´m not accusing her of being a child molester, i´m accusing her and her book editors of having no common sense, this was forseeable, maybe she perversely wanted this, or maybe it was a fuck up, or maybe not even her book editors could stop her from telling the story of a “10 year old sexual predator” because she is a stubborn narcissist, i do not want to read the unedited version of this book.
    Whatever, i might watch the 4th season of Girls, who knows.

  87. Jenna
    November 3, 2014 at 5:09 pm — Reply

    I absolutely agree that for all that backlash Lena has received, a black woman admitting to the same things would be veritably crucified and have near-universal condemnation. That said, I do NOT agree that a man would have not been given any “leeway.” Men abuse women, and brag about abusing women, ALL. THE. TIME. There’s no reason at all to think a man admitting to the same things wouldn’t have his defenders, and most likely he would have a lot more. No woman, black or white or any other race, ever gets away with the kind of shit men do, especially white men.

    • Merrill
      November 4, 2014 at 8:58 am — Reply

      YES! Truth!

  88. November 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm — Reply

    thank you for writing this. I appreciate and respect how you point out some very legitimate issues with Lena’s actions without demonizing her or placing labels on her that may not apply. I hope we can move away from the “is Lena creepy or not” question and use this as an opportunity to widen the conversation about preventing child sexual abuse and encouraging healthy boundaries in families.

    Here is some info from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center about childhood sexual development, how to encourage healthy development, set healthy boundaries, and encourage sexual assault prevention in our homes and communities.


  89. Purl wise
    November 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm — Reply

    I’m guessing that most of this stuff is made up as a part of a misguided attempt to be edgy. One year olds are usually wearing diapers unless their mothers are into cleaning up excrement all over the house. The story doesn’t ring true given that most one year olds don’t have the fine motor skills needed to use their vulva as a pocket. LD is an attention whore. I am completely flummoxed by the amount of praise she gets. I find her antics self indulgent and boorish. All this attention her book is getting for its squickiness just lines her pockets and feeds her publicity machine. Want to stop her profiting from eroticising her baby sister? Then ignore her and her book. Vote with your feet. Don’t buy it, don’t post about it. Let it die the quiet death it deserves.

  90. Suzanne
    November 3, 2014 at 5:25 pm — Reply

    OK, so I had to check out her dad’s “art”. Wish I hadn’t. It looks like the overheated doodlings of a pubescent boy. And this doofus sells this crap as “art”? Makes me want to vomit. It also makes me wonder if seeing all that is why Lena was so darned curious about her sister’s vag. Not excusing the behavior by any means, because a 7yo doing that to a 1yo is def wrong and predatory, as is her behavior as a teenager. Damn, I feel sorry for Grace! There is nothing acceptable about this; not the original instances, nor the weirdly proud writing about it as an adult. Ew, ew, and ew.

  91. Annie
    November 3, 2014 at 6:14 pm — Reply

    The fact that people are so upset over this, over what a stranger did, without understanding the complex individual and familial structures and influences at play in this one story is the more upsetting factor than anything.

    Like, get over it???

    • Ada
      November 3, 2014 at 10:47 pm — Reply

      A child was molested and her molestation was not only published for the world to read, but it is also being defended. Too many victims of abuse are not taken seriously and perpetrators of sexual and domestic abuse get away with it on a daily basis. If you cannot empathize with people unrelated to yourself and your own little world, you are part of the problem.

  92. Beth
    November 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm — Reply

    I approve this message!!!

    However, I will say that I think it’s her celebrity COMBINED with her white girl status that gets her off the hook. I’m a white girl who was raised in a middle class to upper middle class suburban utopia (I jest about the utopia part), but if I published a book detailing atrocities like the ones Miss Dunham has penned, I would be locked up or at the very least have my children taken away and bricks thrown through my windows.

    Then again, I’m not a brilliant, artistic individual validated by a near soulless industry who graciously offers the world glimpses of my brilliant, artistic mind whilst forcing my quirky self down people’s throats without regard to whether or not you want me shoved down your throat. Because let’s face it, she doesn’t care one way or the other.

    Did I describe her accurately?

    • LadyLarke
      November 4, 2014 at 11:30 am — Reply

      Yes you did. Kudos to you and this post

  93. Simon
    November 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm — Reply

    Because there is no better way to make an argument than saying “Ew” (eye rolls). Visceral avulsion has also been used to protest blacks marrying whites, gays marrying each other, and women undergoing abortion. You haven’t made any coherent remark on this whole affair besides saying you find it “gross” which is about 4th grade level. Up your game.

  94. Sumatra77
    November 3, 2014 at 7:15 pm — Reply

    I call bull. She put the pebbles in there. Why was she searching in the baby’s vag at the very moment when there multiple pebbles in there? At 1? That baby didn’t put those in there. She needs to stop.
    Here’s the thing, she’s made millions off being daring. Girls, which I’ve watched a few times because I too have tried to “get it” lacks any real substance. It’s basically wild, crazy, sad sex and some other mundane stuff that happens to these self-absorbed unloveable, hideous characters. Lena (the character and the person) seems to dare people not to accept her. Narcissists do that. She went off on a reporter asking why she had to be naked in every episode. It was a legitimate question (because I had the same question) and her reaction and that of her disciples made me realize that she truly believed her own misguided hype.
    She’s making her money off this sick stuff but I hope one day she gets some real help.

    • Nena
      November 3, 2014 at 7:20 pm — Reply

      Yes, I got the narcissist vibe from her, too. =(

  95. Nena
    November 3, 2014 at 7:19 pm — Reply

    The issue here is that there was a HUGE age gap between the two girls for something like this to have happened. She took advantage of that age gap. Her mother should have explained to her that you don’t do that to others.

    Sure kids are curious about bodies, but there’s looking out of childhood curiosity and there’s forcing yourself in someone’s personal space.

    To write about something like this on such a public sphere and have that be such private things is unethical as hell.

  96. Eb
    November 3, 2014 at 7:24 pm — Reply

    Two words come to mind: incest and molestation. I feel for her sister. And if she’s the voice of a generation, they need a new frackle nackle voice. Either she was mimicking something she experienced or something she saw. Or she is a depraved human being. Sadly, I think it’s a combination of both. And you’re right, her privilege affords her the luxury to be able to confessrevealsay this mess under the umbrella of “quirkiness”. I can’t even…..

  97. Eb
    November 3, 2014 at 7:28 pm — Reply


  98. November 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm — Reply

    Excellent and absolutely right on analysis. As a mom, I cannot believe that a one year old could or would put pebbles in her vagina. It did not happen that way, whatever other bullshit is going on with this story.

  99. Laura
    November 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm — Reply

    Ohmygod thank you. As a mom of young girls and a sexual abuse survivor this whole thing was all too much for me. I was like, I’m just gonna shut my lap top and be off line until all this blows over because *gross* I can’t handle this mess. But you did a great job articulating everything I just wanted to scream but didn’t even have the emotional energy to compose a single tweet. So thank you.

  100. Michelle
    November 3, 2014 at 8:13 pm — Reply

    Thank you and fellow commentors for calling Lena out on her ish. I am ashamed that people think this talent-less, attention seeking, self-centered person represents my generation in general and women my age in particular. I do not understand the cult of Lena other than the shock value some facets of media thrives on and which she clearly needs to keep her “career” going. I will celebrate the day Girls is canceled.

  101. Stephanie
    November 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm — Reply

    This is a really good piece. You hit all the valid points and with humour! Loved it!!

    I am concerned with how Lena and her apologists are trying to normalize this behaviour. I was a curious 7 year old too once and you know what I did? ASKED QUESTIONS!

    If she admitted to this, imagine what she is hiding? Errbody hiding something!

  102. Ada
    November 3, 2014 at 10:32 pm — Reply

    You bring up excellent points. I have a question though:

    What does she mean by “relax on me”????

    Considering she gave in order to receive, what exactly was she receiving? I really hope she wasn’t masturbating her sister while letting her watch her favorite shows. Somebody please tell me that I am reading this wrong and there is no logical way to come to this conclusion.

  103. […] That Kind of Girl,” Dunham, to some, treads a line between discomfiting and inappropriate. Others think she crosses it entirely. She describes masturbating while in bed next to her younger sister Grace — and she detailed this […]

  104. Simone
    November 3, 2014 at 10:40 pm — Reply

    I’m wondering if Lena is actually referring to her sister’s vulva, rather than her vagina. Reason: A lot of educated people call the vulva the vagina, and it’s embarrassing that more people don’t know the difference. It’s a different thing to say that she peeked at her baby sister’s vulva versus she looked inside her vagina, which seems implausible. I’ve never seen a baby vagina, but recalling my first experience with a tampon as a teenager, I doubt that a baby vagina is so big and open that pebbles could get up inside of it. But seeing a naked baby’s vulva (or penis) is pretty much an everyday, non-event if you’re used to changing diapers. There is nothing sexual about babies’ genitals for anybody, especially when you see how much waste comes out of them, which would have been the case for Lena in this situation. Pooping, peeing, and farting are what the genitals are primarily about for grade school kids, which is what Lena was then, and sex is a weird and incomprehensible thing until adolescence. So it doesn’t sound like sexual acting out to me. But older kids always try to hit, prod, provoke, etc. their younger siblings, and parents need to protect the younger kids from that kind of behavior.

  105. Milaxx
    November 3, 2014 at 10:57 pm — Reply

    Grace Dunham via twitter:
    “As a queer person: i’m committed to people narrating their own experiences, determining for themselves what has and has not been harmful”
    “heteronormativity deems certain behaviours harmful, and others “normal”; the state and media are always invested in maintaining that”

    So let me get this straight. They are blaming the “state & social media” for crazy ish Lena published in her book? I gotta ask, where were the editors and advisers who should have known this would not be well received?

    • Maya Langston
      November 4, 2014 at 9:56 am — Reply

      You know the dysfunction runs deep in that family if Grace can actually sit there and defend her sister, talking about some ‘Heteronormative culture makes women feel ashamed of exploring their bodies.’ She sounds like a robot. I really feel for Grace, though. I do. Her parents failed her.

  106. James
    November 3, 2014 at 11:02 pm — Reply

    “I hope Lena herself is in therapy because there are some DSM-IV diagnoses going off here”

    Uhh, she’s been in therapy since she was a kid for pretty severe OCD.

  107. ashley
    November 4, 2014 at 12:42 am — Reply

    to start this off… let me say I’m white, lesbian, feminist, and around lenas age…

    she weirds me out. she has ALWAYS weirded me out. i hate GIRLS with a passion, never understood why she got so much praise… blah blah blah. she absolutely DOES NOT represent me in the slightest. even her awful faded teal hair is a disgrace to people such as myself, I rocked NON-FADED teal hair like a boss.

    now i know why she weirded me out from day one. there was something very off with her behavior… I’m pretty sure she is narcissistic and obviously… a child abuser? i don’t know. its hard to say. that one incident when she was 7 definitely raises red flags… i too did some really weird shit when i was about 5 or so, but with another 5 year old boy. when I’ve spoken to some friends about what i had done, i did it feeling full of fear and shame, even though i really didnt do anything wrong necessarily. what gets me though is not so much what she did at 7, which is weird – but what she CONTINUED to do up until 17 (pretty convenient age to suddenly stop, am i right?) and her attitude towards it as an adult recounting it in her book is really disturbing to me.

    im also on the fence about the whole “why did she even write this in a book” part. i think its healthy to talk about our strange experiences as kids in the sexual realm, but at the same time… what about the rights of her sister? essentially… I’m vaguely of the same mindset of eliminating taboos by talking about things that are taboo. i think of it a lot like the silence = death AIDs campaign of the late 80s.

    ultimately though… while i feel odd labeling her a predator because the incidents started when she was so young… I’m pretty sure she’s a predator.

    this article really sums up my feels, btw.

    • LadyLarke
      November 4, 2014 at 11:37 am — Reply

      “I rocked NON-FADED teal hair like a boss.” Yes to ALL OF THIS!!!

  108. Anon
    November 4, 2014 at 12:47 am — Reply

    And so it starts; Salon has already put a ‘war on women’ spin on the whole thing. Girl.

    As much as I dislike right wing blogs, there isn’t a better site that could have broken this. Because like a dog with a bone, they will not let go of this. The sites alleges they received a cease and desist from Lena’s legal team (they even quoted a bit of it) and they said in no uncertain terms that they will not be silent.

    So, I’ll be over here with my tea, watching this whole thing play out. Though I won’t be surprised is Lena comes out and says that she was abused. Not as a way to open meaningful conversation about the effects on childhood sexual abuse on the victim and their family. Nope. Just as a way to save face, while subtly guilting people for getting upset. Because this book is DOA, unless her publishers spend a boatload of money to do some major rewriting. And I won’t be surprised if HBO has called her in to ‘figure some things out’ in regards to the future of her show. Because people are livid.

  109. Speaking Up
    November 4, 2014 at 3:30 am — Reply

    If anything good can come of this, I hope it is that Grace Dunham feels empowered to speak up for herself. Or that others like her see this and know that they are not alone…and that it isn’t okay…and seek help if they need it. Fuck normal. Lena Dunham fans can take a seat. This is not about her, this is about Grace. And wherever you are, Grace, I hope that you have support, or seek it if you need it. At the very least, let that selfish, self-absorbed woman take the heat for the attention she brought to this without defending her. Please. Let karma reign.

    This happened to me. My sister, who is 9 years older, molested me. I wasn’t as young as Grace (or maybe I was and just didn’t remember when it started). I was 3 and didn’t completely understand until my mother caught her. She was giving me a bath at the time, but had done many of the same things Lena Dunham admitted doing and others I truly hope she didn’t. My parents shut that isht down. My mother asked questions I barely remember, but all I remember is that Mom was visibly shook. I wasn’t left alone with my sister (or two other older sisters) again. Many years later, from the hospital she was institutionalized at, she apologized to me over the phone. In all of her schizophrenia, she apologized. And it hurt like hell, but it was out there and opened up a whole lot of other crap going on in the family. To this day, I am thankful because in that moment, it wasn’t about the apology for me, it was about the acknowledgement. Up until that point, I thought I was the crazy one.

    Now, I’m sure people will say that I am projecting. And that I was triggered by a “joke” or Lena Dunham’s attempts to be clever and relevant. And those people are all entitled to their opinions. But Grace Dunham should be allowed to own her body, her memories and her experiences. At the very least, Grace should have been able to come out on her own terms, when SHE was ready. But it does not surprise me that someone who would out her sister intentionally (and without regret) would feel okay discussing her “exploration” of her sister. Furthermore, I am just waiting for Grace Dunham to be trotted out (a la Janay Rice or that poor dude Cheney shot in the face) to make some kind of statement about how this is all cool and we should STFU and leave Lena alone. Because the PR machines of high profile celebrities seem to have come to the conclusion that the only sensible thing to do when your abuser is powerful is to publicly defend his/her actions. But I hope she stays out of this and leaves Lena Dunham hanging in the breeze telling everybody on Twitter about how she’s laughing. And I hope she IS laughing…at her sister.

    • Maya Langston
      November 4, 2014 at 10:01 am — Reply

      I’m really sorry that happened to you. And I’m glad that you had a mother who cared about you enough to protect you from her other children. And I’m glad that your sister validated your pain by apologizing.

      And no, you’re definitely not projecting. Lena Dunham was dead wrong.

  110. November 4, 2014 at 7:46 am — Reply

    short answer: no.
    longer answer: oh hell no.

    luvvie – you hit so many nails on the head, aint no nails left in all of home depot.

    the people missing the point on this (this is normal exploration!!!) are like the dudes in the street harassment argument (WE CANT SAY HI NOW??) or white people about blackface/the n-word (WHY CANT WE SAY IT).

    the point.. you missed.

    want to know why sexual abuse/assault is never reported? BECAUSE OF BOOLSHEET LIKE THE SUPPORT ABUSERS GET. all the people this may have happened to in THEIR childhoods are watching all of this, being triggered to high water and learning that the more things change – the more they stay the same.

    i have a toddler (a boy) and i’m preparing for the day he discovers his sexual organ. but at ONE? he was still a baby (well.. to me) and can say with all certainty that anyone has his hands on his balls other than a pediatrician, myself during bathtime or his own hands IS A PROBLEM.


    oh and for the #teamLena folks.. Mike Brown was 17 when he was shot. He was just a kid right? Lena was masturbating beside her sister at 17. 17 is old enough to drive. old enough to prepare for college. OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER. she wasn’t doing this on a sleepover with friends.. HER 10 YEAR OLD SISTER. if she hadn’t gotten the ‘affection’ of her sister from age 1 through to 7…i just.. i cant..


    • Elle
      November 4, 2014 at 9:31 am — Reply

      Let the church say AMEN!!!

      You preached a WORD here amy juicebox. And dangnabbit Luvvie, you got me in here ready to fight some-damn-body. This is about the victims and what stands in their way. They are first violated and then shamed, intimidated and abandoned while their abusers are supported, validated and enabled. BOOLSHEET of the highest order.

      Enough about that chick–won’t even Google her and don’t care to know any more about her or give her another moment of my attention. Meanwhile here at home in the Bx, the Board of Education is trying to force rape victims to testify against their victims face-to-face and in public:


      There are already articles spinning this and putting crap out there about how the kids were all “friends” and “had a reputation for cutting class.” Because apparently rape and sodomy is no big deal when you’re a brown girl and you know the boys that do it to you. I have half a mind to take Monday off work and picket that school myself.

  111. […] response, some critics have pointed out that racial privilege may play a role in how Dunham’s behavior is perceived. In a post for her blog, writer Luvvie Ajayi […]

  112. […] response, some critics have pointed out that racial privilege may play a role in how Dunham’s behavior is perceived. In a post for her blog, writer Luvvie Ajayi […]

  113. Chrissy
    November 4, 2014 at 8:50 am — Reply

    Thinkpiecing liberal publications remain silent on this story because they never go after their own. Can you imagine if Bristol Palin published a memoir where she described situations like Dunham’s? Can you imagine the mayhem that would ensue throughout the ENTIRE media if Palin ever signed to the words “anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying”? I am far from a fan of Palin, but I recognize the double standard and hypocrisy.

    As for Dunham calling her criticism a “right-wing attack;” she is way off the mark. That’s just an excuse and a rally cry for her fellow liberals to stand up behind her and make it a “poor Lena, those evil righties are twisting her words and projecting their sickness onto what she wrote.” What Lena Dunham wrote has absolutely nothing to do with politics. Whether you’re a rabid rightie, a loonie leftie, or an indifferent independent – what she did was just plain wrong.

  114. […] have an agenda or are jealous of her success. Some good background and analysis can be found here, here, here, and […]

  115. S.
    November 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    Reading Dunham’s verbal vomit as someone who was molested at six by a child six years older than myself, I was sickened. Physically and emotionally. So poor Dunham is having to “rage tweet” herself out of this corner? I feel so bad for her.

    Nope. Actually, I don’t. I don’t feel bad for her one freaking bit. You know who I do feel bad for? Her little sister. A 7 yo may not be legally culpable for what she did. But an adult woman guffawing and bragging about those same actions? Talk about rage-inducing.

  116. […] to be made about Lena Dunham writing about her little sister’s vagina because it even made liberal feminists go, “I’m sorry, she parted what now?” but the fuckhead conservosphere jumped […]

  117. November 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm — Reply

    Get over yourself.

    Race has absolutely nothing to do with any of this. If a black or Chinese or Honduran girl also spearheaded a popular American show which was known for its blunt honesty, crudeness, and sexuality – then their book would also be purposefully marketed with an emphasis on the same characteristics.

    She was 7 years old. Children are the ones who know no boundaries, and that will always be the way it is. You can’t call an adult a sicko for something they did when they were 7 – they haven’t even learned general etiquette yet.

    And I agree with her statement that no person should be expected to keep any secrets in their life. If YOU experience or witness something, that makes it yours. If you can’t have a laugh about things that happened when you were a child and didn’t know any better, then I can only imagine how difficult it is going to be getting through your adult life worrying about all the secrets you want to make sure people never find out.

    Finally, almost every girl I grew up with explored another girls vagina at a VERY early age. Lena has a point.

    • Who where what now?
      November 4, 2014 at 1:55 pm — Reply

      “Finally, almost every girl I grew up with explored another girls vagina at a VERY early age. Lena has a point.”

      Sir. Maam. WHAT?!

  118. Andrea
    November 4, 2014 at 4:43 pm — Reply

    On a slightly unrelated note, I never understood why she is the voice of my generation? I mean I always considered growing up now is super tough, considering how hard it is to find a way and make something of yourself. Like, 50% of college graduates in america don’t have jobs. I’m sure most people our age don’t have houses or cars, and many I’m sure are living with their parents. But Lena was/is never ever *ever* going to have that problem. Her parents are rich artists – she was never going to fail in her life, even if she was a horrible writer (and I think many people consider that true now). I mean, would anyone not her be able to do this with her writing skills? everyone here said it themselves that they found girls mind numbing. So how is the girl who can’t relate to the defining feature of her generation, somehow it’s voice???

    idk. I’m probably just bashing her cause don’t like her.

  119. November 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm — Reply

    Nope, nope, nope, no ma’am. I don’t understand how she could write this and then get outraged when people have a problem with it. The fact that she knew enough to masturbate screams this is not okay. Hell, I didn’t even discover my self-touchable parts until I was 14 and it scared the hell out of me! To feel like it is normal to discuss (outside of a psychiatrist’s office) that you did these things to your sister is not normal and no, just because you make a living being funny does not give you a pass to try and slip everything in as comedic fodder. This isn’t funny. Lena girl, you had a problem and being 7 does not dismiss that by any means.

  120. BabeRue
    November 4, 2014 at 5:55 pm — Reply

    I was molested in the same way as Grace as a child by a much older family member– two in fact. Unfortunately, no one protected me, consoled me, or acknowledged my experience. This Lena memoir crap has really triggered me. I feel so upset and angry. I just hate this Lena person. The idea of a 17-year old masturbating in bed next to a 10/11-year old who she controls and manipulates is just rage-inducing. I’m just so upset. I just feel like weeping. Lena clearly molested her sister for years and years according to her own memoir. There is something very wrong with the Dunham family and it hurts that people are defending it.

    • 12
      November 4, 2014 at 10:07 pm — Reply

      Best post on the subject. It is horrible that people are defending Dunham’s behavior.

      • Richter_DL
        November 5, 2014 at 4:38 am — Reply

        I wonder if they would defend her with the same verve if she was Leonard Dunham. Maybe. But probably not.

        As the luvvie says: White woman privilege is a thing.

  121. Mary Burrell
    November 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm — Reply

    This is just disturbing and you would be surprised at many comment boards that don’t have a problem with this. She should have kept this to herself.

  122. danielle
    November 4, 2014 at 6:59 pm — Reply

    I am 28 and she is not the voice I ever heard, rather ever listened too, it is the privileged voice on the side we ( the generational voices I listen too) are fighting against, in the streets, the courts, the clinics, everywhere my activist artist friends engage the world we are part of.
    looked up Carroll Dunham, it aint even photos, its like crayons, and cray cray that it is at all considered of talent. ohmylaw

  123. Janie
    November 4, 2014 at 10:33 pm — Reply

    It doesn’t seem to me that anyone posting comments here knows much about child development or normal sexual play among children. L Dunham may have been domineering toward her younger sister, as older siblings often are, but the actions she wrote about in her book are not deviant or abusive. They are normal for all children of all races and both genders. It surprises me that people on here don’t know this. Are all the people on this board saying that they never played doctor or saw their siblings without their clothes on?

    • Richter_DL
      November 5, 2014 at 5:11 am — Reply

      So grooming your baby sister for prostitution, shoving stuff up her vagina, and masturbating next to her (when Lena’s17 and she’s 11) is normal? Would it also be normal, a-okay sexual exploration between siblings if Lena was her brother?

      People really need to get over the idea that female sexuality is by definition nonpredatory, benevolent and consensual. If you want to throw out patriarchy, do it properly.

      • Yes
        June 6, 2015 at 10:55 pm — Reply

        Thank you for responding to this creep. She was also mentally abusive towards her. Evil sick woman. Sick sick sick.

  124. dcvoter
    November 5, 2014 at 6:14 am — Reply

    If commenters here are going to judge Lena, then make it about her ADULT self, not her CHILD self. She was not a molestor or pimp as a child. Very rare would a child understand such nuances of power, predatory behavior, and consequences, etc., at seven.

    It doesn’t make sense to use our ADULT perspectives and definitions of behavior on things that a CHILD did. Hello? How does viewing these incidents through decades of learned behavior conditioning and societal immersion work in this case? Boundaries are taught, not automatically gleaned by children. If she was not given those as a child, well, you can’t blame the child.

    Can you view her adult behavior as questionable? Naturally. That’s what adults do. We judge all day.

  125. kainuda
    November 5, 2014 at 6:34 am — Reply

    I think what’s gross here is referring to a toddler’s genitals as her “love pocket.”

    The only legitimate observation made here was that if Lena Dunham wasn’t white, there would be no opportunity for her to provide context. I don’t think it’s a helpful response to that idea to remove context from Lena Dunham’s story in order to attack her for her actions as a child.

  126. November 5, 2014 at 9:44 am — Reply

    Yep, I’m with you. I’m not super interested in exploring how messed up a kid or adult Lena was/is, because I think we all know the answer there. And some of that she may just need to work through. But this fits into a larger problem we have as a society: there’s what you CAN say, and what you SHOULD say. Lena CAN say what she did to her little sister as a kid and LOL about it and say “I’m awkward so deal with it!” But that doesn’t mean she SHOULD say it. If she wants to be a feminist role model (which is a whole other can of worms), then she can’t play the “I never said I was a role model” card. She needs to think about the ramifications of her words and actions – how they reflect on feminism, especially as another white cisgendered woman dominating that conversation, but also on her OWN POOR SISTER. Have some compassion, girl! What are you doing to your sister? Stop trying to control her and make her life difficult! You’ve got plenty of Lena-only awkward to overshare without dragging anyone else into it.

  127. Sane Jane
    November 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm — Reply

    Thank you, Luvvie. I have always thought the L. D. was a doughy, talentless, hack. Yes, I watched Girls several times to see if I would “get it” and I think it is severely over-rated. This here “book” just confirms this. I think she is mixing fiction and non-fiction to write something salacious and to get people’s jaws to drop. Well, my jaw just dropped only to say Ewww…. anyone who defends this CRAP needs to have their heads examined.

  128. […] Luvvie’s thoughts on Lena Dunham […]

  129. […] most sane and rational people understand that Lena Dunham isn’t a child molester, even liberal feminists would agree parts of her book contain some fucked up shit even if it was taken completely out of […]

  130. Simone
    November 5, 2014 at 9:49 pm — Reply

    Agree with Janie. What Lena Dunham did to her sister was in the realm of normal genital curiosity for a 7 year old, and the masturbation thing wasn’t about her getting off on her sister. A few experts in child sexual development have said as much publicly and no experts have said otherwise. I think Dunham is being very honest about her past and she likes to phrase things in a provocative way that not everyone finds humorous. But child molester–no. Perhaps people need to examine their own need to tear her down.

    • Claire
      November 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm — Reply

      I don’t think that (most) people are calling her a child molester. They are simply pointing out that this is outside of the norm. Maybe it is normal to have the urge to inspect other people’s body parts as a young child, but her parents should have emphasized that Grace’s body was her own and not for exploring by Lena. No one is bothered that she masturbated, they’re bothered that she did it in bed with a much younger sibling. They aren’t bothered that she wanted to know what the inside of a vagina looked like, they’re bothered that she took it upon herself to inspect her baby sister’s without a parent stepping in to explain that we do not touch other people’s bodies without their consent. And it’s bullshit to say that she was too young to learn this- as parents (I have four sons) we are constantly explaining to our kids that their bodies are their own and they cannot touch other people’s bodies without permission. Whether it’s asking for a hug or respecting that a brother doesn’t want to wrestle right now or, for fuck’s sake, not delving into a baby sister’s vagina, these are all lessons in appropriate boundaries and respecting other people. I am a big believer in starting young and while kids are kids and will of course need reminding about what respect/boundaries look like, it seems that was entirely absent from Lena’s life. Plus, she was in SECOND GRADE when the pebbles incident occurred- are we really trying to say that she was too young to think twice about this?
      And, she doesn’t look at the behavior as an adult and show any remorse (that can be seen from these passages, I have not read the book). She doesn’t say, “wow, I wish someone had told me about boundaries and respecting another person’s body and space.” It’s an issue for me that as an adult member of society, she doesn’t realize that someone should have intervened here.

  131. 40somethingwhitewoman
    November 6, 2014 at 10:08 am — Reply

    I am a 40+ year old white woman and completely agree with EVERYTHING you have said in the article.

    • Gail
      November 7, 2014 at 10:48 am — Reply

      Hey! Me too!

  132. […] most sane and rational people understand that Lena Dunham isn’t a child molester, even liberal feminists would agree parts of her book contain some fucked up shit even if it was taken completely out of […]

  133. Sango87
    November 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm — Reply

    “Yet and still, there are vocal defenders of Lena Dunham, which speaks to the white woman privilege I was talmbout on my Renee Zellweger piece.”

    Ahain’t even attracted to Women….but you made me cream my pants when you wrote this. You is so smart!!!!!!!!!!! WAKE UP!!

    “She missed the point so hard that the point must have filed a restraining order against her.”

    I hate you! LOL!

    “How did no one in the process of book proposal to book writing to book editing to book publishing not say “hey. We should probably leave this part out?” Was discernment busy?”

    Discernment was not here for it at all! She paid it!!!!

    “Was that to assure us that this wasn’t weird on her scale of 1 to Dennis Rodman?”

    You need have several of seats on these Raymour & Flanigan Sofas Luvvie: \____/ \______/ \_____/

    She missed the point so hard that the point must have filed a restraining order against her.

  134. November 6, 2014 at 7:07 pm — Reply

    […] great blog post that I came across and inspired me to write something is by @Luvvie, ‘About Lena Dunham’s Memoir, Overshare and Lack of Boundaries.‘ Luvvie points out that Dunham’s self-absorption is apparent in her weak defense […]

  135. SYDNEY
    November 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm — Reply

    Nothing normal about a one year old putting pebbles in her own vagina. I’m a pediatric nurse, for 30+ years. And I can’t even imagine it.

    Something is very wrong, and Luvvie does a good job spelling out where the problems with the story lie.

    Over share and lack of boundaries is putting it mildly.

  136. Gail
    November 7, 2014 at 10:44 am — Reply

    Well said. I couldn’t agree more.

  137. […] feminist author Luvvie Ajaye put it, “How was Lena allowed to print that? Where were the gatekeepers? The friends? The editors? […]

  138. […] tender faultlines of sexuality and politics. The only right-thinking criticism appears to be the womanist one — building on long-standing critiques from “people of color in activist communities on […]

  139. […] writer Luvvie Ajayi, for example, pointed out that Dunham could only be as blasé as she was in her book and in her […]

  140. John
    November 8, 2014 at 11:47 pm — Reply

    “..still, there are vocal defenders of Lena Dunham, which speaks to the white woman privilege I was talmbout on my Renee Zellweger piece.” Interesting…..I don’t think you will see many white women attacking black women for their race the way black women do with white women. Playing the everlasting guilt card for white people.

  141. mrussel
    November 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm — Reply

    Shes a dangerous monster. She nonchalantly talks about sexually molesting her little sister. (children sexually molesting their siblings is not in any way unknown and needs immediate professional intervention to find out what the root cause is and correct it) Whats also disturbing is that her mother is clearly the same way. I here these excuses that being molested as a child turns people into it. I dont exactly buy it.The vast majority of adults who were sexually abused DON’T grow up to become sex offenders.

    They may have suffered serious psychological damage from it that they will have to deal with their entire life but they are horrified at what happened,and would never dream of doing it to another poor child. In fact,most normal people who go through a terribly traumatic experience have empathy for other victims. They can imagine themselves in their shoes and feel sympathy.

    It is true that a HUGE number of sex offenders were abused as children. My guess is there an underlying root cause,probably of a biological nature that makes them someone how broken and unable to react normally. Its not that the abuse TURNED them into a sex offender. Whatever defect is in their brains probably ALLOWS them to become one. In other words,if your a normal empathetic person,and you were abused,you would ,probably quickly,but almost certainly ,eventually,come to realize that it was terribly wrong. No one can watch tv and read newspapers and internet sites without understanding. Normal people have an appreciation for the emotional scars,especially if they bear those scars.Its obvious that its not just wrong,its one of those things that’s so horrible that if by some chance you were messed up as a kid ,you’d figure out that what you did was terrible. So maybe she was just screwed up. Maybe she was exposed to some sort of overt sexuality as a child that confused her. Maybe her mother was so screwed up she did not realize that was wrong.
    A normal person is still capable of realizing that this is treated as a terrible crime,most everyone knows that its not OK when a child does it to another child,but instead is a sign of something being terribly wrong with the child that did it. Normal people know damn well that their mother should have known.

    As a tangentially related examples an example,I knew someone who worked with an 17 year old girl. She was very responsible. Her parents were not. She had moved out on her own,and she had an 8 year old younger sister,and a 13 year old younger sister at home. The parents had barely enough money to barely scrape by and buy food for the children. So what did they do. They bought a dog and spent all the food money on dog food and puppy toys,while they let their children starve. The 17 year old older sister walked to work and skipped meals so she could buy food for her sisters. (yes,calling CPS would be a good idea,but its not in any way abnormal to try to find some sort of solution even to a problem like that that does not have your sisters in a foster home and your parents in jail,especially when your 17,and who knows,maybe if I had not have done it she would have gotten to it on her own) Her comment about her parents was,not that it was normal and OK because they had always been like that,but that they were “totally effed up,and always have been.” She said “I I honestly dont know what they hells wrong with them,but they have always been useless pieces of crap”
    In short,she may have been raised in an environment where that was “normal” but she knew it was not. Similarly ,most people who are abused,even its its treated as “normal” by their parents are going to pick up enough information to realize its not.

    And most especially by the time they are a full grown adult in … how old is she? Mid 20s? Yet she does not even realize that people look at that and rather than it just being a “cute story” about odd things she did as an odd child,they sit there aghast,as they listen to her recount her history of being a predatory sex criminal.
    And there is no doubt that is what she was and still is. In fact,shes aware of the parallels yet sees it as just a cute little part of the story. Now,a incident of inappropriate touching is potentially just inappropriate,but simply due to curiosity. That can happen,she has a vagina,so does her sister,shes could perhaps be curious about the internals simply think its OK to look (its kind of hard to see up ones own vagina,without a camera or a mirror at least)

    But the description that she gives is not that. The graphic details and the nature of those details is very much disturbing.The reactions. The detail. And the later actions,not just touching but inappropriate kissing as well,and the coercive techniques that she admits we those same techniques used by sexual predators. She learned this somewhere,and lacked the capacity to understand it was wrong when she learned it ,she continued to do it and still did not realize it was very wrong. When they presumably told her in school about inappropriate touching she still didn’t get it. When she read about children who were molested,she still didn’t get it was so horribly wrong. When there was a news article on TV,she still didn’t know. And now,she still does not know and gave an interview where she fully admits it as if its just a cute game a child plays. She does not even realize that her mothers failure to put a stop to it ,or even recognize that her mothers failure to recognize the abuse and put a stop too it i,demonstrates her mother is the same sort of monster.

    Im honestly quite shocked.

  142. ABaxter
    December 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm — Reply

    I’m not a fan of her work or this excerpt in her book but how exactly is she getting away with it? She is getting skewered for it! I also don’t see what race has to do with it. She had to cancel book tour dates and offer a public apology…is this a result of her white privilege?

    You had me with this post until you dropped the white guilt. Shame on you.

  143. […] space to argue context. She would not have anyone championing her,” wrote Luvvie Ajayi, in a blog post that was hard to dismiss. “She would certainly not be given some benefit of the doubt about […]

  144. bsbfankaren
    December 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm — Reply

    While the number seven is oddly specific when it comes to the number of pebbles in a one year old’s vagina, I find it hard to believe they could have been inserted without the child screaming in pain, or removed without the help of a physician and therefore a whole lot of explaining would have been required. So, while I think Miss Dunham exaggerated this part of her story…calling other things she said into question, I have to wonder why she said it at all? Did she get the attention she was after?

  145. B
    January 18, 2015 at 3:08 am — Reply

    “THAT IS NOT YOUR BODY SO YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT. Your body is yours. Explore that. Someone else’s body is THEIRS. It is not for you to touch at will!”

    Thank you for this – have committed it to memory for if needed.

    I have been wondering, if Dunham’s mother had responded with these words, had taught this in a thousand ways til Dunham truly understood it, would Dunham have been less likely to take onto herself the shame that belongs to “Barry”?

    The blurring of boundaries is not good for any of us, in the end.

  146. Paige
    May 28, 2015 at 6:41 pm — Reply

    It’s not a “white woman privilege” thing because I can guarantee you that it’s because she’s famous, not white. Saying it’s related to “white women” is actually ignorant and racist. I have seen multiple accounts of women sexual predators who were white who fried for what they did. If I or any other nobody “white woman” were to do what she did and then make jokes about it we would be in trouble just like anyone else. It’s not unheard of, it’s not a race thing. Making this into a race thing is embarrassing. It’s because of who she is not the color of her skin. We need to stick together as one against political and government people who try to make everyone hate each other not as different races bickering over who is better or who has more “privilege.” I have never been and never will be racist nor am I privileged. I have been on the receiving end of racism and I could never imagine saying or doing something to hurt another person and make them feel how I felt and yes I’m white. I’ve never thought of myself as better than anyone else, only better than who I was yesterday. That’s the mentality we should all have. This whole article is disgusting.

  147. Julia
    June 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm — Reply

    Look at some of her Dad’s paintings….something is NOT RIGHT in that family

  148. September 16, 2015 at 12:20 pm — Reply

    […] beyond the talk about the upsetting parts (if you missed the drama, see it summed up here), I just really wondered why many people would be so keen to read a living young person’s […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *