Lena Dunham Slams Kanye West’s 'Famous' Video For Its Portrayal of Women — And She’s Right

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Lena Dunham isn't giving Kanye West a pass.

This weekend, West debuted the video for his recent single, "Famous," featuring a who's who of American celebrities. There's Rihanna, Bill Cosby, Ray-J, Kanye and Kim, Anna Wintour,  Amber Rose, Donald Trump, Caitlyn Jenner and Taylor Swift. Each celebrity poses as a wax figure laying nude in bed in what is supposed to be a recreation of Vincent Desiderio's painting, "Sleep."

It's certainly art as spectacle. But as Dunham pointed out on Facebook, the video's disturbing display of female objectification is deeply sexist. 

"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," Dunham writes. 

Certainly, not every song or video West makes has to be a bourgie-backpacker call-to-arms, but the video is shocking for its own sake. What message are we supposed to take away from a wax figure of Rihanna, one of the most famous survivors of domestic violence, laying within proximity of Bill Cosby, one of the most infamous men to be accused of preying on women? It's just throwing shit against the wall, hoping it shocks, praying it sticks. 

At his best, West can provoke for the sake of meaningful discussion. Take his infamous "George-Bush-doesn't-care-about-black-people" quote, or virtually any track from his first three albums. But at his worst, Kanye West gets lost in Kanye West, knowing that we'll consume anything he makes. Wax figures of celebrities — some sexual-assault survivors, others perpetrators, all given equal treatment — might be art in his eyes. For the rest of us, it's trolling. 


Read more: 
Kanye West's 'Famous' Video Featuring a Naked Celebrity Pantheon Broke the Internet 
Ray-J's Manager Responds to Kanye West's 'Famous' Video With Sexist Kim Kardashian Diss 
Kanye West Just Explained the Meaning Behind the 'Famous' Video in the Most Kanye Way Ever

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Jamilah King

Jamilah King is a senior staff writer at Mic. She was previously an editor at Colorlines.

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