Anybody who watches Lena Dunham’s Girls or has read her memoir know she’s all for nudity when it comes to artistic expression. The one exception? Kanye West’s new video for “Famous,” which premiered Friday (June 24) and is currently streaming on Tidal.
If you haven’t seen it, TL;DR — there are a bunch of wax figure celebrities, including Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, George Bush, sleeping butt-ass naked next to each other. That’s it. That’s literally the entire video.
Three days after its release, Dunham shared her concerns on Facebook. She began by praising the Kardashian family for being “masters of their own destiny” and commending ’Ye for his “next level shit.” Then she called the video “one of the more disturbing ’artistic’ efforts in recent memory.”
“I know that art’s job is to make us think in ways that aren’t always tidy or comfortable,” she wrote. “But this feels different.”
Her explanation is raw and powerful: “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… 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? It gives me such a sickening sense of dis-ease.”
Seeing her one of her best friends, Taylor Swift — who’s also the subject of “Famous”’s controversial “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex” lyric — in the video was especially painful for Dunham.
“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 continued. “I can’t watch it, don’t want to watch it, 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.”
Read Dunham’s full response below.