Whatever else one might say about it, the comments here are right: there are many more people complaining about the backlash against Girls/Lena Dunham than backlashing in the first place.


Phoebe said...

I'm not sure about this. Even defenses of Dunham (such as) will include disclaimers. I haven't counted pro- and con- press, but the initial backlash had to have been substantial if those who do like Dunham/Girls feel they must apologize for it.

Nicholas said...

Perhaps? I have gone back to not paying attention to it one way or another, but I feel like I read one "there is something wrong with people who don't like Dunham" blog post every week or so, and no "this is why Dunham is a terrible person" posts.

I find the phenomenon strange in part because I'm pretty sure the guy who wrote the piece I linked to is also the guy who wrote the post that made fun of Tolkein fanboys who were positive that the negative reviews of the Hobbit movie must have been wrong even though they hadn't seen it yet. It's the same sort of mechanism: you must have thoroughly experienced it (and with an open mind that is in no way skewed by feelings about the genre, etc) and only then can you make criticisms, which must inevitably be tempered by "but this is just my opinion." But criticisms are going to be interpreted as relying on some ulterior motive (hatred of fanboys or women, see also the recent backlash against the Big Bang Theory when people realized that Penny is the perspective character), or dismissed as just opinion. What the criticism does do, I think, is create a siege mentality that both elevates the exposure of the show and raises the commitment of people who would otherwise only sort of like it. None of which Dunham or the show have anything to do with; it's just a feature of popular culture these days that seems odd to me.

Phoebe said...

But don't the defenses of Dunham tend to link to the take-downs? I guess not all do, but the ones I've looked at seem to.

Re: the broader phenomenon, I think I see what you're getting at. One doesn't need a PhD in Dunham Studies to have an opinion on the Lena/Hannah persona. If what you're claiming to provide is a review of "Girls," then yes, it helps to have watched every last episode of the show. But if you're merely interested in criticizing, praising, or merely discussing Dunham's place in the limelight, eh, maybe not so important.

The difficulty comes when critics say a) that Dunham isn't as talented as she's made out to be, which kind of demands suggesting critics see at least an episode of her show, or her movie, or something before weighing in or b) that Dunham shouldn't be on television (or undressed on television) because she's not conventionally ingenue-actress attractive.