What Dunham, Sarandon and (Ivanka) Trump Have In Common

Not their voting records, certainly.

Dunham was a staunch Hillary supporter while Sarandon voted for Trump. I mean Jill Stein. Trump, presumably, voted for Trump. But all three want you to believe they stand for women’s liberation, without doing any of the work. And all three are either unaware of, or don’t care about, the effects of their color-blind, gender-blind attitudes on women who are not wealthy and white.

Lena Dunham

Photo by Alison Harbaugh, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)

After Aurora Perrineau accused Girls writer Murray Miller of assaulting her in 2012, Dunham suggested this was one of the “three percent” of misreported sexual assault cases. While she later apologized, some suggested women of color “divest” from Dunham.

Black and brown women are at a much higher risk of sexual and domestic violence than white women. This was the first time Dunham broke from the “believe her” mold and the fact that she did so by accusing a woman of color (Perrineau) of lying about her rape says a lot about her priorities as a feminist.

More recently, Dunham was criticized for popping into a #TimesUp group photo when she had done zero work with the group before that. True, it was an open call for actresses but in conjunction with her statement about Perrineau, and her troubled history with race, it looks very much like a white woman trying to score some woke points. At the very least, a white woman who didn’t even think about how women of color would feel about her presence in the photo. Which isn’t much better.

Susan Sarandon

Photo by Derrick Rossignol, via Wikimedia Commons

The Thelma & Louise star recently joined her former co-star Geena Davis at the Golden Globes, where they joked about pay inequality in Hollywood. But Sarandon has not been a part of the #MeToo movement. Indeed, back in November she told The Guardian that Weinstein and Toback sexually assaulting women was just the liberated “culture” of the 60s and 70s, “that made it possible for those things to happen without seeing yourself as a victim.” After all, some women would be “flattered” to be hit on by such gentlemen.

Sarandon also prefers “humanist,” not feminist. The word “feminism”, she told The Guardian in 2013, is outdated and evokes images of “strident bitches.”

Her insights echo those of conservative mouthpiece Tomi Lahren, who once told Playboy that feminism is “bad” for America and she doesn’t use her gender to get “free stuff” like feminists do.

Both womens’ comments are shrouded in female empowerment, minus the female part. Sarandon is so gender-blind that she was willing to elect an alleged rapist.

And, of course, Ivanka Trump

Photo courtesy of Michael Vadon, via Wikimedia Commons

Never has someone performed political acrobatics more expertly than Ivanka Trump. As the most prominent daughter—and political aid—of the most powerful sexual offender in the world, she knows she has to appease the conservative base that put her dad in office while simultaneously upping her woman cred with moderate female voters.

At the Golden Globes, Oprah delivered a powerful speech about inequality in media and at large. People loved it. People did not love Ivanka Trump’s perplexing tweet in support of Oprah and #TimesUp. The time, you see, is still not up on her own dad, whose policies she helps enact. But that didn’t stop her from snatching at the coattails of a powerful black woman.

Then there’s her book, Women Who Work. Not the women who clean her home or run her dry cleaning or make her company’s clothes for slave wages. Women like her, born into incredible wealth and status. Her hollow “if I can do it, you can too” attitude is the same as her dad’s “I’m a self-made billionaire” rhetoric, just in a dress.

recommendations