Lena Dunham’s sparked some controversy after saying men don’t like Serena Williams and Ronda Rousey because they’re intimidated by their bodies.
In an interview with ESPN’s Alison Glock, in which she also chatted about her exercise regime and newfound love of running, the Girls star spoke about the misogynistic basis of body-shaming – something she, Williams and Rousey are all too familiar with.
“Fixating on bodies is a way to police women,” she said. “We can no longer keep women from owning property. We can no longer keep women from voting. But we will find a way to police and repress powerful women and let them know that they do not matter to us and that they are not in control of their own destiny.”
“With Serena Williams and Ronda Rousey, men are thinking, ‘You could beat me up, that f—ing scares me, you have achieved more than I ever will in my lifetime, so I’m going to get online and tell you that you don’t look like someone I want to f—.’ That is where I believe it comes from. And it’s so unenlightened. And man, it’s a bummer.”
When Glock asked why “nonconforming” bodies like Williams and Rousey’s are so threatening, Dunham went further, fascinatingly outlining how both athletes represent an affront to patriarchal control.
“The fact is, Ronda Rousey could punch you in the face anytime she wanted, and she has completely created her own life and she’s having an incredible career that most of us could only dream of and she doesn’t give a s—- what you think. And that point of view is really, really threatening to certain people, especially when it comes in the form of a woman, because to a man, a woman not caring what you think means that all your power is gone. You can’t control her anymore,” she said.
While Dunham’s outspoken theory is sure to spark angry retorts from UFC dudes who are all like, “But I’ve loved Rowdy Ronda since that time she armbar’d Gomes at King Of The Cage!”, and, you know, Drake, there’s clearly truth to her real-talk about the way female athletes’ bodies are ridiculously scrutinised.
Both Williams and Rousey have had to respond to online body-shamers who’ve criticised their physiques for being ‘too masculine’.
“I’ve been like this my whole life and I embrace me. I love that I am a full woman and I’m strong and I’m powerful and I’m beautiful at the same time,” Williams said as she prepared for her US Open defence last month, while Rousey famously went viral – and even inspired Beyonce – when she threw shade on ‘do-nothing bitches’ who criticised her body.
“Just because my body was developed for a purpose other than f—ing millionaires, doesn’t mean it’s masculine. I think it’s femininely badass as f—. Because there’s not a single muscle on my body that isn’t for a purpose,” she said.