5 Reasons why Lena Dunham is Brilliant.
While my belief is that kick ass women should be celebrated on a daily basis, let me go ahead and say it: Happy International Womens Day. I have been thinking a lot about all the women that I love, cherish and admire. While there are those personally in my life like my Mom and all of my amazing girlfriends, as well as my artistic muses (Tori Amos for the win), a woman I am really looking to for inspiration lately is Lena Dunham. You probably are familiar with Lena as the creator, writer and star of HBO’s series, Girls. If not, that’s ok. I am here to tell you a few reasons why Lena is an extraordinary figure for us millennials.
1) She writes a damn great show.
Girls might appear as a cliché series about single chicks living in New York, yet, dig a bit deeper and dive into the realms of Dunham’s characters and what you will find is a heartbreaking and accurate account of what it means to be in your 20’s or early 30s, trying to hustle it in a city of post grads, dreamers, over achievers and actors out of work.
In the pilot, we’re introduced to Hannah (Dunham’s alter-ego character) as she is enjoying a pasta dinner with her parents who drop the bombshell news on her that they’re cutting her off from financial support. Slaving as an Intern with her English degree, Hannah quickly learns what it is like to be dropped from a fantasy world with your insurance and cell phone plans are paid for you. Turning to her friends for moral support, we discover that life is not coming up with roses for her gal pals (Marnie, Shoshana and Jessa), either.
2) She hits home hard about dating.
On Girls, Hannah spends many of the seasons trying to make it work with Adam; a wanna-be actor who is emotionally unavailable a lot of the time, laughs at really inappropriate times, depends on the $800 his Grandma sends him monthly and may or may not have Aspergers tendencies. Did Lena secretly stalk me and take dating tales from my life when she wrote this plot? Ask any woman around my age and I guarantee you that they will have had an ‘Adam’ in their own life. Dating in this day and age is BRUTAL. Lena gets it and is not afraid to tell it like it is.
3) She is open about her health struggles.
Hormone and menstrual issues are not for the faint of heart. Ask any woman. Lena suffers from Endometriosis, a debilitating disorder where tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus; causing horrific pain and can literally ruin a female’s life. With season 5 of Girls having just premiered, Dunham had to come clean on her social media outlets that she would be unable to do press for her new season as her condition is in a flare up. Lena is currently in the hospital dealing with a ruptured ovarian cyst.
If she can accomplish so much awesome-ness in between feeling like her lady parts are going to literally blow up in pain, that gives me hope for me and my PMS days.
4) Her portrayal of anxiety struggles and panic attacks were devastatingly accurate.
I suffer from depression and anxiety. Most days, I am extremely fortunate to be fully functioning and able. Some days? The struggle feels like an elephant is on my chest killing me slowly. While my behavioral patterns are different from Dunham’s portrayal of Hannah in full-blown panic mode, it still was like watching me. Lena has accomplished covering so much of what women go through, and the bulk of these characteristics are told all through her alter-ego. It gives me hope that its OK some days I feel like a train wreck with too many problems.
5) She gets pissed if you Photoshop her.
Lena is not afraid of being naked. Watch a few episodes of Girls and you will see what I mean. Hannah is often seen sans clothes and the sexual scenes in the show have full on nudity. I find this exhilarating and refreshing that Dunham is breaking boundaries that the only girls who should be naked on-screen are that of a size 2 nature. Lena celebrates all body types, from the size 2’s to the size 10s and I always feel more confidant with my rollie-pollie body after watching an episode of Girls.
Recently, a picture surfaced of Lena that appeared to be very photo shopped. Dunham wrote this insightful article with her thoughts, that included:
Something snapped when I saw that Spanish cover. Maybe it was the feeling of barely recognizing myself and then being told it was 100 percent me but knowing it probably wasn’t and studying the picture closely for clues. Maybe it was realizing that was an image I had at some point seen, approved, and most likely loved. Maybe it was the fact that I no longer understand what my own thighs look like. But I knew that I was done.
Not done with getting my picture taken (once an insufferable ham, always an insufferable ham) but done with allowing images that retouch and reconfigure my face and body to be released into the world. The gap between what I believe and what I allow to be done to my image has to close now. If that means no more fashion-magazine covers, so be it. I respect the people who create those magazines and the job they have to do. I thank them for letting me make a few appearances and for making me feel gorgeous along the way. But I bid farewell to an era when my body was fair game.
So, yeah, Lena Dunham really rocks my socks. Shes the bee’s knees. The cats pajamas. Check out Girls, and make sure to read her memoir (Not That Kind of Girl).
Get well soon, Lena. xo