It's not incredibly surprising to anyone that I would defend Lena Dunham. In fact it's downright obvious. I am demographically similar, I'm liberal and care a lot about gender equality, and I'm also a huge fan of her work. It's totally biased for me to come to her defense.
Except that it's not. Because she isn't just being trash talked, or slandered, she's being attacked, and by a publication with a homepage layout that looks like a discount deals website at that. The unflattering caricature of Dunham included in the article is also a red flag that the author wasn't just concerned about the welfare of Dunham's younger sister but that he was out for blood.
I won't go into great detail on the accusations against Dunham but I will say that since her sister Grace has spoken out about the fact that she does not feel she was a victim of abuse in any way, there doesn't seem to be much of an issue here. I can sympathize that the comedic use of the term "sexual predator" was perhaps insensitive, but a 7-year-old who is not fully aware of her own sexuality is hardly capable of knowingly and willfully committing acts of sexual abuse.
I hardly think it's a total coincidence that the National Review article surfaced just days before the midterm elections. Not only is Dunham known for leaning to the far left, but she's also been very active in speaking out about women's health issues and abortion rights. Targeting a young, liberal, influential feminist was just the bait needed for conservative publications days before November 4th. It was either Dunham or Emma Watson and Dunham's radical candidness makes her an easy target.
As another Huff Post blogger, Ryan Mach, pointed out, not only does this article accuse Dunham of sexual abuse but it also demeans her own account of being a victim of sexual abuse when she was raped by a fellow student in college. It's an attack for the purpose of spectacle that was sensationalized by other like-minded outlets. Outlets that highlighted a panel of suggested articles alongside this one with titles such as "Amanda Seyfried Too Fat?" Oddly these don't strike me as the type of publications that have gender equality as a prerogative.
It's disappointing that this story got so much attention when the purpose was more about attacking and demeaning an individual than attempting to help a victim of abuse. I hope that Lena is strong enough to move past this and come out a stronger person. When in doubt she can always refer to the words of Taylor Swift because sometimes you just gotta shake it off.