Life is hard when you’re a quasi-famous person. You maybe have your TV show, sure, but you need social media to stay relevant. Enter Girls creator and star Lena Dunham, who says she’s dunzo with twitter because people are just too mean. Or reading it, at least — don’t worry, she’ll write tweets, she just won’t read anyone else’s or any responses. She revealed that and more to re/code’s Tara Swisher on their podcast.
“It really, truly wasn’t a safe space for me,” she said. She also lamented the discussion that ensued in the comments on a two-week-old Instagram post demonstrating that she had to wear her boyfriend’s underpants after her shitbag dog ate all of hers. The post was of her in a sports bra and the aforementioned underwear, and it went over about as well as you could imagine.
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.)
“My Instagram page was somehow the hub for misogynists for the afternoon,” she recalls.
Now, I don’t begrudge Lena Dunham for getting annoyed with shithead internet commenters. I hate her, but I get that it would wear you down. That said, Lena Dunham clearly does not understand social media. Of course it’s not a “safe space.” It’s not designed to be — the whole point of social media (as opposed to content provided by content providers) is that anything can happen. In a way, shitty commenters are the engine that powers social media. It tells you a lot about someone when, upon entering a place where they can interact freely with their fans, they quickly withdraw when they learn from the first time that, hey, not everyone fucking likes you.
Dunham also said she’s quit reading the blog Jezebel (too much snark), and that her dumbfuck newsletter called “Lenny” won’t have comments, also because of snark. Fuck that, and fuck anyone who doesn’t like snark. Snark is the internet. As Gawker’s Tom Scocca wrote, snark is a reaction to (and defense against) smarm, which is the sort of overly positive, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” attitude that powers sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy. By complaining mew pew pew, I don’t like all this snark, you’re really saying that you prefer a world glossed over with a thick veneer of bullshit faux-positivity. She can’t handle that the world is full of rotten, terrible trolls, which gives her no more business being on social media than the girl who burns through an entire cell phone battery trying to get the perfect lighting for a fucking selfie.
I bet she’ll write a really cool article about it in The New Yorker.