don’t feed the trolls, lena and gina
By Erin White
November 30, 2018
It’s been another fabulous and forgiving week for white women and non-Black WOC, with the media gleeful welcoming back Amanda “Murder my vagina” Bynes for…wherever she’s been, friend-of-no-one Gina Rodriguez, and the self-centered theatrics of Lena Dunham.
Sitting down with The Cut for an extensive interview, Dunham, always self-referential brought up a conversation she had with distribution bigwigs about her breakthrough film Tiny Furniture (2010) at the time of its distribution. During the meeting, one of the execs told her that he couldn’t stand the main actress in the film, failing to realize it was Dunham herself. “I always feel like that’s been a metaphor for my career,” she says. “ ‘Everything about it is so interesting. It’s so well-made. Cannot stand that main girl.’” Literally, the perfect metaphor for the repulsion people feel by Dunham herself and so much less the projects she produces. Which is probably why as soon as Girls went off the air, viewers of the show quietly melted into pop culture history along with it. Which is extremely unusual for a show that posed so many important questions about twenty-something life in New York City, and about youngsters trying to make it without their parents’ backing, post-financial crisis.
Therein lies the problem and contradictions of Lena Dunham the public figure and creator. While mainstream society seems to be adverse to her very presence, her star power, access to money and production deals have not dwindled. Even after the “pebbles in her sister’s vagina” anecdote from her memoir “Not That Kind Of Girl”.
Over the years, Dunham has made some stunningly unaware statements, including her incredulity over Black male celebrities not hitting on her (and weirdly fixating on the matter subsequently), publicly lusting after Black star athletes with zero interest in her, entitled as ever. Which, curiously enough, if you’ve watched Girls, you might question whether Lena was aware of the existence of Black people at all. Considering fewer than five Black actors ever appeared on the New York-set show during its entire run, Dunham sure seems fixated on Black men sexually. Likewise with Dunham’s newest HBO series Camping, where the poster sees a sea of white faces staring back at you.
In comes Gina Rodriguez, the beautiful star of Jane The Virgin who has the oddest penchant for dismissing Black creatives and their struggles, while blaming Black advancements for the lack thereof in the Latinx community. You know, because Black people have that much power. *Eyeroll* Her latest comments came during a roundtable with our girls Gabrielle Union, Ellen Pompeo, and Emma Roberts, when the subject of pay equality came up: “I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it, right? Where white women get paid more than black women, black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into.”
Okay, girl. First of all. Black people spilled blood for every single advancement we have in this society. Every one. Not only that but statistically, that’s not exactly true. The Twitterverse was quick as fuck to point out the fact that the highest grossing actress on in 2018 TV is Sofia Vergara (for the seventh year in a row) bringing in $42.5 million this year alone. While the next woman of color on the list being Kerry Washington at #8, racking in $11M for her iconic role as Olivia Pope on Scandal. So, why is Rodriguez going out of her way to throw other women of color under the bus? My guess is deliberate ignorance and anti-Blackness.
For some strange reason, Gina approaches her advocacy for Latinx women in Hollywood by pushing down Black women and redirected conversations about Black women to being about “women”. Or conversations about income inequality to being primarily about Latinx women. It’s the constant erasure of Black women and the misguided finger-pointing and blame-placing about issues stemming for white supremacy.
It is quite possible for Gina Rodriguez to advocate for better Latinx representation without constantly evoking African American advances in a way that implies they’re part of the problem. If she refuses to learn that, her cultural activism actually perpetuates the problem.
— Sofia Quintero (@sofiaquintero) November 24, 2018
This isn’t even close to her first time erasing Black women for some bullshit. Earlier this year, while appearing at a junket with Yara Shahidi, Gina went full on “All Lives Matter” when Yara was praised as a role model for young Black girls everywhere. Shahidi is not only an actress on the much loved Black-ish and Grown-ish, she does so while attending Harvard freakin’ University. Gina couldn’t stand to let homegirl have any shine for what she means to the BLACK community. It’s almost like she wants to minimize us at every chance she gets. So her recent comments, frankly, aren’t surprising.
The question is, Why do these non-Black women keep getting platforms when the things they say and do fetishizes, erases, and diminishes Black folks left and right?
Anti-Blackness is viral, y’all.
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