Girls creator Lena Dunham is never one to shy away from controversial subject matter. She's especially likely to speak her mind when it comes to feminism. So when she saw Kanye West's new music video for his song "Famous," she couldn't stay silent.
The video is a recreation of a Vincent Desiderio painting in which the likenesses of various celebrities, from West himself to public figures like Donald Trump and Taylor Swift, lie naked together in bed.
Dunham points to current rape culture as a disturbing backdrop for the images presented in West's video. Particularly problematic is the fact that one of the celebrities included in the tableau is accused rapist Bill Cosby.
"Let's break it down: at the same time Brock Turner is getting off with a light tap for raping an unconscious woman and photographing her breasts for a group chat... As assaults are Periscoped across the web and girls commit suicide after being exposed in ways they never imagined... While Bill Cosby's crimes are still being uncovered and understood as traumas for the women he assaulted but also massive bruises to our national consciousness... Now I have to see the prone, unconscious, waxy bodies of famous women, twisted like they've been drugged and chucked aside at a rager?"
Dunham also says it bothered her to see her friend Taylor Swift included in the video. Swift was already the subject of an offensive lyric in the song itself, in which West discusses the possibility of them having sex and boasts that he made Swift famous. In the video, Swift's lookalike is positioned directly beside West with her breasts exposed.
"I don't have a hip cool reaction, because seeing a woman I love like Taylor Swift (fuck that one hurt to look at, I couldn't look), a woman I admire like Rihanna or Anna [Wintour], reduced to a pair of waxy breasts made by some special effects guy in the Valley, it makes me feel sad and unsafe and worried for the teenage girls who watch this and may not understand that grainy roving camera as the stuff of snuff films."
Dunham acknowledges that she's no stranger to uncomfortable depictions of sexuality, having grown up with artist parents and having created some eyebrow-raising work of her own. She also adds that she usually enjoys and even looks forward to what West has to share.
"But I can't watch it, don't want to watch it," she writes, "if it feels informed and inspired by the aspects of our culture that make women feel unsafe even in their own beds, in their own bodies."