Caitlin Moran Explains The Whole Bitch Magazine Lena Dunham Kerfuffle

Illustration for article titled Caitlin Moran Explains The Whole Bitch Magazine Lena Dunham Kerfuffle

The brevity and bluntness that distinguishes How To Be A Woman author (a tome chosen, in fact, for our very own book club) and Times of London columnist Caitlin Moran has gotten her into some hot water this week. After tweeting that she would be interviewing Lena Dunham, a random user asked: "Did you address the complete and utter lack of people of colour in girls in your interview? i sure hope so!" Moran's response: "Nope. I literally couldn't give a shit about it." The user then tweeted, "What a surprise. Caitlin Moran loves Lena Dunham. White feminists who ignore the experiences of WOCs have got to stick together guys!!!"


SO, GAHH. Once again, Girls is like the titular character in Powder, running through a lightening storm of All Today's Feminist Things, Racism Things, Classism Things, Brooklyn Things, and Things Things. Can't we at least wait until Season 2 starts in January to start doing this again? Christ on a fucking cracker.

Bitch editor in chief Kjierstin Johnson ultimately passed on the Moran interview, citing personal issues with Moran's subject matter ("jokes about devastating wars in non-Western countries, flippant use of the word ‘tranny,' burlesque is cool/burqas are bad - and confirmed a nonintersectional feminism... I don't want to support"). Dunham Twittergate didn't help any. Interviewer Lorraine Berry ended up running it on Salon, with Moran's expanded explanation.

"I broke my own first rule: Be Polite. But I was frankly offended that this woman thought me and Lena Dunham were somehow conspiring in some undefined racist plot... I'm not going to wank on about the ethnic mix of my friends and, indeed, family, but I found that first tweet presumptuous, rude, and about the worst thing you could accuse anyone of."

She goes on to explain that Dunham felt there was a specificity to being a young black woman in New York that she wasn't able to capture, which we've all heard and discussed at length). by now, and continues:

I wrote ‘How to Be A Woman,' not ‘How to Be ALL Women.' I would never presume to speak for 3.3 billion women. There is no ‘one voice of feminism.' There is no ‘one voice' of anything. If a woman of color was allowed to make show as funny and honest and daring as Dunham's - wandering around slightly overweight, naked, spreckled with acne, and talking about abortion, I'd be pitching a fucking massive feature on that to the Times, too. And I wouldn't ask that writer why there were no white characters in it, just like I didn't ask Dunham why there were no people of color in Girls. I think it's as dumb as asking ABBA, ‘Why aren't one of you black?'"


Look, this subject has been beaten to death, and the Girls camp has cast Donald Glover in Season 2. Still, but no explanation's provided on why, since it is Dunham's show, after all, this could have also been remedied by hiring a young black female staff writer to balance out, umm, say, Lesley Arfin. But that's just my opinion.


'Caitlin Moran: Women have won nothing' [Salon]



This whole bullshit about not being able to write for people of color is intellectually lazy, at best, casually racist at worst.

Too many white writers have this annoying habit of thinking that the color of a person’s skin is the most important aspect of his/her personality. They do this because they think of white as normal, and everything else as abnormal. They see that people of color look different and so they automatically assume that everything they do is different too. It’s myopic and it’s idiotic.

I am black, but I don’t spend all my time “being black”. I don't date "black, eat "black, study "black", sleep "black", get embarassed "black", succeed "black or fail "black. I have many of the same experiences that people like Lena Dunham have. I just happen to look different while I'm having them. Race plays a big role in my life, sure, and it definitely effects the way I move around in this world and the way other people interact with me, but it’s not all my life is about. It doesn't define everything I do.

Seriously, it wouldn’t be that hard to write a story about a person of color without making it all about the fact that they’re not white. The reason white people can’t do that without turning their characters into the token “Black One” or “Asian One” is because they don’t think of people of color as just people; they think of them as non-white people. It’s the same problem many men have when writing women. They don’t think of women as people, they think of women as non-men people.

The sooner white people learn to stop defining all people of color by just the color of their skin and nothing else, the sooner tokenism will stop.