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Joan Rivers, Chill Out About Lena Dunham’s Body

Just-turned 81-year-old joker Joan Rivers has a new book due out July 1st, the not-a-Tyler-Perry movie Diary of a Mad Diva, and she’s making headlines because of offensive content within: namely, that Girls creator, director, and star Lena Dunham is committing crimes against nudity by showing her body on television. According to the New York Daily News, Rivers claims that people watch Girls with “their hands over their eyes,” because Dunham is “the first fat girl naked on television.” She even suggests that Dunham could have a salad once in while, crudely.

None of this is new, or shocking: Rivers has talked shit about Dunham before in March 2014 on the Howard Stern Show, claiming that Dunham’s acceptance — and use of – her body on Girls sends out a message that it’s okay for people to “Stay fat, get diabetes.” Which is all patently ridiculous. Of course it’s annoying to hear Joan Rivers’ insecurities about somebody else’s body played out in the public realm. She’s a professional shit-talker (particularly with E!’s execrable, unfunny, plagued by union problems Fashion Police), she’s old school as hell, and she seems to feel that the only way for her to stay relevant these days is to attack and to be cruel in the name of “roasting” and insults. But this particular harping on Dunham’s body feels like a part of a generational disconnect with two comedians — or raging insecurity disguised as “comedy” from a trailblazing woman who has probably had to deal with lots of uncouth and terrible comments about her looks and her body.

It’s also amazing — and not in a good way — that any woman in the public eye who is not a size 0 – 2 these days is referred to as “fat,” with her body as a fair target for jokes, and that comedians are calling themselves chubby at a size 10 or so, which is pretty average when you walk down the street, just not in a Hollywood casting room. Everyone’s fat these days, and guess what? Making fat jokes about other people’s bodies is mean. It’s part of a toxic culture that wants to critique women’s bodies, a culture that’s perpetuated in products like Fashion Police and websites that go after celebrity women’s fashion.

Dunham is a comedian, and she has shown a remarkable ability to publicly handle the slings and arrows of media and publicity — questions like, ‘Who the fuck are you and why do you feel the need to do art?’ — with grace. At the end of the day, she can paraphrase Max Fischer from Rushmore, because she wrote a hit show and a big upcoming book and was on the cover of Vogue, because of her brain. There are girls watching Girls who feel more comfortable with their bodies because of the show’s approach. She wins, obviously.

In her WTF interview with Mark Maron from March, Dunham told a funny story about going to a party that Howard Stern invited her to (the guy that called her a “little fat chick” and then apologized). At the party, Joan Rivers gets up and does a comedy routine that’s mostly racist jokes, but when she makes a joke about the late Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker, that’s when the room is like “Too soon!” Dunham is appalled at the room’s turn towards moral outrage, and she notes that Rivers still is like, I’m 80 and I don’t care. Dunham seems well aware of Rivers’ old school attitude and that she’s not going to change, like a crazy grandma. And, ultimately, she still wins: she’ll get the last word, as she told Maron: “With love, the day that Joan Rivers dies, I’m going to make a killer zing. I’m going to zing the shit out of her.”

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7 comments
groverwatts
groverwatts

surpised she wont stop being mean.  shes going to die very soon. then we can laugh at HER body type: nonexistent. :drops mic:

yesisaidyes
yesisaidyes

It seems like Joan Rivers is probably projecting onto Lena Dunham her latent anger that she spent most of her life struggling against insane beauty standards and it's now very late in her life and young women are living freer lives than she ever could.  I'm sympathetic to that in theory - it would suck to live your whole life under a constraint only to watch it slowly be lifted.  However that doesn't give her any license to hate on Lena Dunham for something as trivial as her body.  Dunham is doing huge things for body acceptance and hopefully because of that will be remembered as a feminist revolutionary. 

Ashley Rose
Ashley Rose

I mean, this is so NOT PC, but if I'm being honest, seeing Lena Dunham's body naked on the show does make me a little squeamish. It is unhealthy, and just... blubbery. and "blubbery" stems from eating an excess amount of food than your body is burning for energy. So, yeah she could stand to eat a salad every now and then. To say that is the norm now is true, but that doesnt mean we should be ok with it. Im sitting here at a desk at work, feeling like a have fat rolls, and I certainly wouldnt feel confident being naked on tv. I might be in the minority here, but I would much rather see thin girls that remind me of what I could be, than fellow chubby girls that allow me to be complacent with how I look now.

thebooksluts
thebooksluts

@Ashley Rose Maybe you couldn't be those thin girls. Maybe Lena couldn't. What people accept as "attractive" isn't necessarily healthy at all; see also, very thin people have higher mortality rates than overweight people. This is fact. This is science, not prejudice.

groverwatts
groverwatts

@Ashley Rose BUT THEY HAVENT MOTIVATED YOU TO BE ANY THINNER YET, SO WHATS THE POINT?  TO KEEP DREAMING ABOUT LOOKING LIKE SOMEBODY ELSE?

yesisaidyes
yesisaidyes

@Ashley Rose You have no idea if Lena Dunham's body is unhealthy.  Different people have different body types, and some naturally carry more weight.