TBH this was a rough week. It felt like my body, my hormones, my general sense of well-being were betraying me. I wanted to crumple into a pile or hide like a sweatshirt in the lost and found. And I felt as though there wasn't a way to ask for the space and time I needed without hurting someone else. What a shitty feeling, but isn't that the reality for so many of us? I am certainly no self-help guru but here is what I know tonight: when you take the time and space you need, kindly and responsibly, you're suddenly available to the people you love in a whole new way. There is no other answer (except Calvins... Nothing gets between us.)
A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:31pm PDT
Lena Dunham, creator of the television show Girls, announced this week that she is withdrawing from Twitter. She will not be closing her account, but rather, allowing someone to post for her.
"I really appreciate that anybody follows me at all, and so I didn't want to cut off my relationship to it completely, but it really, truly wasn't a safe space for me," Dunham told a Re/code podcast.
On Girls, which airs on HBO, Dunham often features frank depictions of womens' bodies. In the Re/code interview, she mentioned that her decision was partly influenced by reactions to a photo she posted to Instagram wherein she is shown wearing a sports bra and her boyfriend's boxers. The photo drew comments from users who were critical of Dunham's body and her willingness to bare all online.
As an cultural influencer in the broader communities of young feminists and millennials alike, Dunham's decision speaks loudly on behalf of other women who have noted that open forums online are particularly unsafe places for women to express themselves. Last month I considered the arguments for and against putting an end to online comments sections. Writing for the Guardian, Jessica Valenti wrote:
It's the never-ending stream of derision that women, people of color and other marginalized communities endure; the constant insistence that you or what you write is stupid or that your platform is undeserved. Yes, I'm sure straight, white, male writers get this kind of response too - but it's not nearly as often and not nearly as nasty.
Dunham says she now no longer knows her Twitter password. Her account has been updated this week with messages in support of Planned Parenthood as the organization fights for funding in Congress. Perhaps the posts are written by Dunham but posted by an assistant so that she does not have to see the responses they draw.
According to USA Today, Dunham says:
"Even if you think, like, 'Oh I can read, like, ten mentions that say I should be stoned to death' and kind of, like, laugh and move on, that's verbal abuse," Dunham said. "Those aren't words that should be directed at you ever. And so, for me personally, it was safer to stop."