The HBO Max series Generation, which is written by Girls creator Lena Dunham, recently featured a scene in which a young child asked two teen boys who were on a date, “are you going to touch penises?”
This would be unsettling from any television series; it is made all the more so by the fact that Dunham has apologized in the past for an autobiography after being accused of describing behavior she’d engaged in as a child with her own sister that many would characterize as sexual molestation.
The episode, entitled “Deepfake,” aired on June 16 according to Newsbusters. In it, two teen boys, Chester, played by actor Justice Smith, and his character’s new boyfriend, Bo (Marwan Salama), are on a date at a roller rink.
As they are skating hand-in-hand, a child, who looks to be as young as 7 or 8, asks the two boys if they are brothers.
“No. Do we look like we’re brothers? We’re on a date,” Chester replies.
“Oh, so are you gonna touch penises?” the little girl asks before skating off.
Newsbusters recalls that, in Dunham’s book Not That Kind of Girl, some of the accounts of her childhood interactions with her sister caused some to accuse her of sexual molestation.
The book included candid scenes about exploring her sister’s anatomy when they were young children and trying to lure the younger girl into kissing her.
“Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl, I was trying,” she wrote.
While she initially responded with indignation when critics attacked these passages of her 2014 book, Dunham later issued an apology.
“First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances,” she wrote, according to The Guardian. “Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention.”
The actress and writer also noted that she was “also aware that the comic use of the term ‘sexual predator’ was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well”.
“As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval,” she concluded. Grace also defended Dunham herself at the time.
While many defended Dunham’s childhood curiosity as normal and harmless, there is nothing harmless about having a young actress memorize and recite a line about teen sex for the sake of cheap laughs and entertainment. This all took careful planning and premeditation.
To say nothing of the fact that the show is already about the sex lives of teenagers, something which is not appropriate for either children or adults to watch.
How has sexualizing children become so incredibly normalized that Dunham didn’t even think it was a bad move to include this inappropriate line from a child actor in her new show?
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