Lena Dunham just can't win. Well, she can win when it comes to awards and ratings, but when it comes to getting a break from having to answer to controversy, there's no immediate end in sight. And perhaps that's fair.
But sometimes she doesn't even have to do anything to be called out as a privileged white girl. Case in point: Earlier this week, comedian Lisa Lampanelli tweeted a photo of herself with Dunham at the Writer's Guild Awards, wherein she referred to the GIRLS scribe as her "nigga".
— Lisa Lampanelli (@LisaLampanelli) February 18, 2013
Twitter pandemonium ensued, stories were written, apologies weren't made, and eventually, the whole steaming pile of to-do landed in Dunham's inbox.
People wanted to know why -- WHY -- was Dunham remaining silent on this hot button issue of what someone else said in reference to her. Was Dunham, in fact, Lampanelli's n-word? Does she approve of being Lampanelli's n-word? Would she refer to herself as Lampanelli's, or anyone else's, n-word? How does she feel about being called a "beyotch"? (Actually, no one asked that... no big deal.)
Dunham responded to the controversy on Friday after being excoriated on Twitter by writer and former fan (spoiler alert: now former former fan) Shayla Pierce, who said Dunham had shown "her true colors" by remaining silent on the issue. Rather than continue to "speak volumes" by saying nothing -- she didn't RT it, but that's apparently not good enough -- Dunham replied:
@shayladpierce That's not a word I would EVER use. Its implications are beyond my comprehension. I was made supremely uncomfortable by it.
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) February 22, 2013
Dunham went on to explain why she tends to avoid such twitter debates and Pierce did an immediate turnaround, proclaiming that she "<3" her again. You can read the entire exchange in Storify form at The Hollywood Reporter.
Meanwhile, Lisa Lampanelli is apparently having the last laugh.
— Lisa Lampanelli (@LisaLampanelli) February 21, 2013
What do you think? Does this kind of "controversy" distract from the real discussion of racism and sexism in popular culture, or does Lampanelli's use of the word bring up serious issues? Is her tweet just another example of social media glibness that mines controversy for free PR? Finally, in the end, what does Lena Dunham even have to do with this?