Lena Dunham wrote a self-serving 'apology' letter to the woman whose sexual assault claim she denied. The Internet isn't having it.

Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

For a so-called feminist, Dunham does a mean impression of male entitlement.

“This year has been incredible for women in Hollywood,” Lena Dunham’s love letter to herself, which promises to include an apology to Aurora Perrineau—somewhere—begins. “We have spoken and we have spoken loudly, and our voices, once muffled under layers of crinoline and repressed rage, have been heard.”

In “have been heard,” she prematurely and presumptuously tucks the voices of #MeToo—many of whom remain radio silent—squarely in the past-tense. A summation of Dunham’s thinking here, intended or not, is this: “I have spoken loudly. I have been heard. And therefore all women have spoken loudly. All women have been heard. Right? What a triumph! We can all finally shut up, now—right after I’m done talking.”


Which is ironic, of course, when ostensibly the point of her piece is to apologize—for silencing a woman.

Equally galling are her unconscious displays of privilege, white and otherwise.

Who among us can suppress a rueful smile upon reading, “our voices, once muffled under layers of crinoline?”

As if the majority of women descend from great-grandmothers who languished in Edith Wharton drawing rooms and Rooms Of Our Own, trussed up in hoops and petticoats—as if the majority of women don’t descend from great-grandmothers who dragged their way through time from dust-blown farms, tenements, or slaves’ quarters, muffled under layers of burlap, blood, and baby shit.

The eye roll continues with, “there are magazine covers and TV specials and parties and instas celebrating the very real, very important and long overdue progress that has made.” Since when are magazine covers, TV specials, parties, and—above all—Instagram indicative of anything real?

The media blitz is nothing greater than glorified P.R.—a premature congratulations for acknowledging a problem without even beginning to solve it.

Her examples of progress reek of classism, referencing an insular experience (parties?) from which most people in Hollywood—thousands upon thousands of crew members, teamsters, assistants, and struggling artists—are excluded.

Have those women been heard? Have they witnessed, “very real, very important,” progress? I honestly don’t know. One would have to ask—and to ask, one would have to assume they have yet to be heard.

When she gets to the apology, things get worse. “To Aurora:” she addresses me and a million anonymous readers. “You have been on my mind and in my heart every day this year. I love you. I will always love you.”

In the words of venerable feminist icon and abuse survivor Tina Turner: “What’s love got to do with it?”

Love is cheap—particularly when declared on a public forum (well, unless you’re in some repressive, love-that-dare-not-speak-its-name scenario—then, by all means, shout it from the rooftops).

And love is particularly cheap when declared to a person to whom you owe contrition. In the context of an apology—to a virtual stranger—love is distracting, irrelevant, discombobulating, and subtly manipulative, robbing the maligned of their right to anger by muddying it with guilt (because are you allowed to hate someone who wuvs you?)

There’s a phony televangelist tenor to Dunham’s “I love you,” a street pimp’s ooze.

She doesn’t love Perrineau—she’s spinning a tale—selling the Romance of Sisterhood. Perrineau is a symbol: the Magdalene she learned to love in order to become Feminist Jesus. And by reducing Perrineau to a narrative device in the Story of Lena Dunham’s Redemption, she strips Perrineau of her own truth, her own story.

Again.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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