Why Lena Dunham's Time 100 Dedication to Constance Wu Is Problematic
Constance Wu is one of the most deserving people to be named on Time magazine's 100 Most Influential this year. She's a rising screen star and an outspoken activist for marginalized voices — she famously called out Scarlett Johansson's whitewashing casting in the film adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, and she spoke out against Casey Affleck's awards nominations after he was accused of sexual harassing women on set, for just a few examples.
What is surprising about Wu's inclusion on the list is that Lena Dunham wrote her entry.
In stark contrast to Wu's intersectional activism, Dunham is the epitome of a white feminist. She's been called out over and over for how her HBO series Girls fails to represent the racial diversity of New York City. She's blocked the black women on Twitter who have tried to point that out to her.
Most egregiously, Dunham wrote an essay about being ignored by NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. when they were seated together at the Met Gala. She claimed — with no evidence — that Beckham ignored her because she doesn't fit the Hollywood standard of female beauty and called him out for allegedly not wanting to fuck her, even though the two never even spoke. Her rant had toxic racist overtones, perpetuating the idea that black men are sexual predators. Dunham later apologized, but for most instances of her problematic behavior, she fails to do so.
It's worth noting that Wu tweeted about the entry, thanking Dunham for writing it and calling Dunham her friend.
Still, the fact that Dunham has been called out time and time again for her toxic white feminism shows her resistance to intersectionality, something Wu represents entirely. It makes Time's decision to have Dunham write about Wu, at best, confusing.