I've been attempting, between class preps and applications and whatnot, to get a sense of why it is I find the whole "Lena Dunham is the voice of her generation" thing annoying, because (for me, at least) it has nothing to do with any biographical facts about her, about which I know little and have less interest. I've been centering in on the idea that her defenders typically begin by de-legitimating criticism of her, so that one must jump through hoops such as the one in the first sentence above to even begin to critique her work.* Alan Jacobs points out this article, which spends a lot of time on the privilege question (one that, I think, is perfectly legitimate to discuss), but also contains the following observation, which seems like the sort of thing Phoebe might have a comment or two on:
But in the end, the adults are the ones who are lavishing all the attention on their plight. ... Twentysomethings are, of course, entitled to write about whatever they want, no matter how cloistered their worldview. It’s the tastemakers at places like HBO and the Times who have thrust them into the cultural spotlight and fixated on their every move.
So perhaps it’s not the twentysomethings whose self-obsession is driving this trend. All those stories about emerging adults bear a suspicious resemblance to another overcrowded genre about the worries of a small and privileged class: the parents who continue to invest in and manage their kids into adulthood. “I sometimes imagine that there’s an editor at the Times who’s got a thirtysomething kid that he can’t get out of the house who’s putting his shoes up on the coffee table and eating Cheetos on the couch,” the sociologist Michael Rosenfeld told me.
The link between confessional 'real' twentysomething culture and confessional 'real' parents-writing-about-their-kids seems worth discussing. If the objectionable thing in the latter is that the people involved can't really consent to their inclusion, this also seems like it might be a problem with the former (I remember when Ross Douthat's Harvard book came out, there was a lot of digital ink spilled about an anecdote in which a (relatively easily identifiable) co-ed came on to him, in which she was made to look like A Woman of Loose Morals Who Is Representative of Her Time). But perhaps this is not quite correct.
*i.e. one pre-empts questions of race or class by implying, more or less directly, that to ask that question makes one a sexist. The conflict between race and gender has been thus for some time, but even so, it's odd.