All weekend, we felt as though we wanted to write something about Kanye’s new video for “Famous,” which features naked wax figures of everyone from Bill Cosby to Taylor Swift lying in one big bed together. We knew we didn’t like it, we knew it made us feel violated and gross on behalf of those exploited within its frames without permission, but we also wondered if we were being too sensitive, and if our negative feelings were outsize or too conservative. Then, Lena Dunham came out and said everything we were feeling about “Famous,” including our reservations.
In a Facebook post yesterday, she wrote: “Like many pop-culture-addicted Americans, I wait with bated breath for what Kanye West will do next. I could also happily watch Kim Kardashian West chip the paint off a window ledge for hours and be fascinated. I admire that whole family, love the way they depict women as better in numbers and masters of their own destiny. But it’s possible to hold two competing thoughts in your mind, and the ‘Famous’ video is one of the more disturbing ‘artistic’ efforts in recent memory.”
She went on to say, “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? It gives me such a sickening sense of dis-ease.”
Finally, Dunham expressed the same insecurities we’ve been experiencing around our own feelings for “Famous:” “I’m sure that Bill Cosby doll being in the bed alongside Donald Trump is some kind of statement. I know that there’s a hipper or cooler reaction to have than the one I’m currently having. But guess what? I don’t have a hip, cool reaction, because seeing a woman I love like Taylor Swift, a woman I admire like Rihanna or Anna, reduced to a pair of waxy breasts made by some special effects guy in the Valley, it makes me feel sad and unsafe.”
Our thoughts exactly. Kanye has yet to respond, but kudos to Lena for taking on a man known for using his art as a means for seeking revenge, and for saying what we could not.