Ever since Lena Dunham’s Girls came on the scene, I have been hooked. I cannot say enough nice things about Lena Dunham. My heart bursts with joy when I watch the witty, touching, emotional, and funny escapades featured on Girls. It is exactly what I need in my life and I am so glad that HBO and Judd Apatow are making this happen.
I am flummoxed when I see the vitriol surrounding Dunham and Girls. Some of it is just typical player hating, but a lot of it is below the belt. People think Dunham is too neurotic, too fat, too whiny, too _____. The show is a busted up version of Sex and the City. Perhaps. Everyone is entitled to think what they think, but the fact is that Dunham is a 27 year old wunderkind. She is hip and fresh. Beautiful and relevant. Smart and self-aware. She is exactly the role model that us twenty somethings need.
I love the exchanges she has in the show with other people. In season two, Dunham’s character, Hannah, is spiraling out of control. Her obsessive-compulsive disorder is becoming unmanageable. After meeting an older man in a coffee shop and having a heated exchange, she tracks him down to apologize. The apology leads to a weekend of sex, intimacy, and a longing which Hannah expresses beautifully to her weekend lover:
“Please don’t tell anyone this, but I want to be happy. I didn’t think that I did. I made a promise such a long time ago that I was going to take in experiences, all of them, so I could tell other people about them and make me save them. But it gets so tiring, trying to take in all the experiences for everybody, letting anyone say anything to me. Then I came here, and I see you… and you’ve got the fruit in the bowl and the fridge with the stuff. And I realize I’m not different, I want what everyone wants, I want what they all want, I want all the things. I just want to be happy.”
When this episode aired, I watched it twice and cried both times. I don’t know if everyone can relate, but there is something about forcing yourself to be on the fringes of happiness. You look on at certain people who look so deserving of happiness, and you tell yourself that it is not meant for you. But you really do want it, whether or not you believe you are deserving of it.
There is Dunham’s emotional nudity, and then there is her physical nudity. Hannah Horvath/Lena Dunham prances around unabashedly. Dunham displays tattoos of famous illustrations from children’s books. She is small chested and has ample hips. She wears her hair short, and her shorts even shorter. Her bold defiance of societal expectations and standards is refreshing.
In last week’s episode called “Beach House”, Hannah wears a green string bikini. There is no glossing over of Dunham’s “imperfections”. She does not wear a cover-up. The lighting captures her cellulite (beautifully, I might add). I watched in admiration and thought to myself that my body would look like that in a bikini (except for the bigger breasts complication). If she can sport a string bikini and have so much fun, why can’t I? Again, I reference a LA Times article about this episode.
“Dunham is the physical antidote to the poisonous Hollywood rule that a successful actress must appear to be on the verge of starvation at all times. Dunham is a pear-shaped chubette. She is zaftig. She is pleasantly plump. And she embodies the kind of self love we’d all like to see in our daughters.”
I couldn’t have said it better. Yet, I implore you to google search Lena Dunham and you will see a lot of hatred toward her body. She is healthy and happy. Why does it matter?
That, in a nutshell, is why I love Lena Dunham. She proves to us that it doesn’t matter. She is fabulous with her thick thighs, tattoos, and successful career. And I am envious of her green string bikini. I think I am now bikini ready.