Lena Dunham says ‘Girls’ is a feminist show: ‘Feminism isn’t a dirty word’

Lena Dunham did the “20 Questions” thing in Playboy’s April issue, and… I don’t hate her. I know that I’m supposed to have all of these complicated feelings about Lena Dunham and Girls, but I’ve only seen a few episodes and while I didn’t think it was groundbreaking TV or anything, I admire Lena from a distance for many different reasons. And I seriously didn’t hate this interview. You can read the whole thing here and here are some of the most interesting quotes:

On the gender divide: “I never chalk up anything to the gender divide and say, “Well, that’s just a male thing.” I hate the conventional wisdom that men are supposedly complete pieces of s–t and it’s our job as women to put up with them. Men are just as sensitive and easily victimized as women are, but there’s not as much of an infrastructure for expressing it. That drives me nuts. We’re all humans and doing human stuff. We’d have a better world if everyone had someone they could pay for talk therapy.”

Writing male roles: “Just as careful as when writing female roles. Saying that women have been written as sassy best friends or slutty girlfriends since the beginning of time so now guys deserve whatever comes to them is not an acceptable excuse—even though it’s amazing to me that Hollywood persists in writing these two-dimensional female characters who don’t really exist. No wonder it’s hard for actresses to find parts that are meaty enough to connect with. It’s important to me to create fully formed characters who don’t feel just like good guys, villains, creeps or sluts. I want it to feel real. I want my male friends to feel just as much of a connection to my work as my female friends do.”

The feminism of Girls: “On Girls I like being a mouthpiece for the issues I think young females face today. It’s always shocking when people question whether it’s a feminist show. How could a show about women exploring women not be? Feminism isn’t a dirty word. It’s not like we’re a deranged group who think women should take over the planet, raise our young on our own and eliminate men from the picture. Feminism is about women having all the rights that men have.”

What if she woke up and had the body of a Victoria’s Secret model: “I’d be really disoriented and wonder what had happened in the night. Which enemy had dragged me to the doctor? I don’t think I’d like it very much. There would be all kinds of weird challenges to deal with that I don’t have to deal with now. I don’t want to go through life wondering if people are talking to me because I have a big rack. Not being the babest person in the world creates a nice barrier. The people who talk to you are the people who are interested in you. It must be a big burden in some ways to look that way and be in public. That said, I probably would want to see if I could get free food at restaurants. Then I’d call a doctor and see if she could return me to my former situation.”

She’s a romantic: “When I was younger I liked men who gave me some guff. I liked badasses with hearts of gold, though they often ended up not having a heart of gold. They were a little like the Adam character on Girls. Now I’m much more into someone who is interesting and open with his emotions, has a really good sense of humor and a passion for what he does, wants to hang out with my parents and doesn’t want to stay out too late. If I can get excited imagining funny things he did as a kid, there’s a pretty good chance I’m in love with him. It’s a sad day when you stop believing in the idea of having a soul mate or having someone who understands you deeply and loves you eternally. I’m a pretty unorthodox girl, but I guess people might be surprised to learn that despite what some of the characters on the show are doing, I remain an eternal romantic with a desire to hear all the things girls like to hear said to them.”

Her favorite items at the grocery store: “I cannot get out of the market without six trashy magazines and seven packs of gum. I wish I could resist those things. Oh, and sometimes a Cadbury Creme Egg, if it’s in season.”

How she learned about sex: “I think I was five. A girl at school explained it to me. I didn’t believe her because it seemed so barbaric, so I went home and asked my parents if it was true. They sat down together and explained sex to me. My parents were sensitive. They said, “Your dad and I did this so that you could get made.” They gave me the male and female perspective. That was the traumatic part. I remember thinking, I don’t want to learn this, and I definitely don’t want to learn this looking at the faces of both of you. I wish one of them had taken the job and come into my bedroom alone. But I asked. It was because Amanda DiLauro told me, so it was really her fault.

On Girls not being representative of a wider demographic: “I think that’s a valid criticism, but we can’t let that erase someone’s ability to tell a personal story. While being racist and promoting inequality are crimes that should be punished, the sin of writing two Jewish girl characters and two Waspy characters feels less egregious to me. I’ve tried to be elegant about it and receive the criticism, and I understand what’s hard about it. At the same time I’m like, Really?”

What’s in her purse: “I still keep a paper date planner, which seems pretty old-school. I always have a novel. The stray-vitamin situation is pretty out of hand. But most surprising? A spoon. I’m always dragging one around. It’s a metal spoon. A plastic spoon makes sense. A metal spoon from your house makes it look like you’re going to commit a spoon murder.”

[From Playboy]

I think she’s funny and clever. Is that wrong? I know I would probably feel differently about her if I actually sat down and watched all of the episodes of Girls – like, I’m pretty sure I would find her annoying – but I take Lena in small doses, and I enjoy her. She’s an interesting voice added to the conversation about media, television and entertainment. And she’s right about this: “we can’t let that erase someone’s ability to tell a personal story…” While I don’t really relate to Lena or her life or her show, why is that such an all-or-nothing criticism?

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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131 Responses to “Lena Dunham says ‘Girls’ is a feminist show: ‘Feminism isn’t a dirty word’”

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  1. Rhea says:

    Is it just me or lately the word “feminist” comes out a lot from celebrities? Interesting. Not that it’s a bad thing, but talking about feminism seems to be a new trend in celebrities now.

    • Alexandra Bananarama says:

      It is and everyone has their own spin on it. Used to defend of insult. The word is being dropped more than usual.

      I don’t love or hate Lena or Girls. I dislike the entitled hipsters in my area (it’s their east coast mecca) so I stay away from her and her show for the most part.

      • MsAubra says:


        Hurry up and “stop happening”

      • bigt says:

        I don’t find her funny or clever. Have seen the show a few times, think it’s terrible. Am turning 30 next month so am saying this as still a 20 something. (barely) 🙂

    • *unf* Joan Jett says:

      I wish they would speak about intersectional feminism though.

      • duchessofhazard says:

        IA. I’m all for the, “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be BS”- a lot of the run of the mill feminism is the latter, I’m afraid.

    • V4Real says:

      I just wish people would stop throwing the word hispter around like it’s such a new term. That word has been around since the 1940’s and appeared again in the 90’s. All these so called new hipsters just mildly gave it a different meaning. I don’t see them living any kind of lifestyle that hasn’t already been lived.

      Lena just needs to go away period; she’s insufferable and brings nothing new to the table.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I’ve never seen Girls but my friend Jen
        (who’s opinion I VERY much trust) said it was virtually unwatchable.

      • Marty says:

        How can that show be watchable when ALL of the characters are so damn unlikeable? I just really don’t see the appeal.

      • Tiffany says:

        I watch Girls and I enjoy it. You are right that the characters can be unlikeable…but they are trying to become better people. They are all at a point where they are trying to figure out who they want to be, and as they induldge and make choices, their concept of an ideal self changes too.

        I like the small realism of the show. I also feel like Lena is really breaking ground by showing so many average looking people naked having freaky (yet normal?) sex. I saw a blog written by a man, and he admitted Girls made him uncomfortable because so often the nude images you see of women are slender perfection.

      • KC says:

        I can verify that both the characters and the show are completely unwatchable.

  2. poppy says:

    i finally watched an episode and have a sincere question:
    is it supposed to be funny?
    make it 2:
    are the lives of 20 something women really so depressing?

    • Rhea says:


    • moon says:

      As a twenty something girl…the answer to that is: Yes

    • ptitesirna says:

      Another 20-something girl here. And although I do/did really detest this show, the answer is yes.

    • Amelia says:

      Another 20-something girl, here.
      Aw, heck, you know what’s coming – yes.
      Only with less nudity.
      Seriously, why is Lena always naked?
      And (I like to think) my friends and I aren’t quite so self-involved as the characters. Most of us have full-time jobs with plenty of career prospects, although there have been occasions where we’ve been left hanging in limbo, wondering ‘wtf are we actually doing here’?

    • Ari says:

      I am almost 40 and I clearly remember being more depressed in my early 20s than even in my formative teenage years…I have no idea why because I wish I had my 20 year old body right now lol

      • Cirque28 says:

        Totally agree. I cannot believe how much happier I am in my early 40s than I was in my 20s. It doesn’t correlate to external or material things either. It’s an internal sense of calm and joy that I kinda never thought I’d have.

        So hang on, pretty young things. If you’re already happy, that’s awesome– it will probably only get better. If you’re not happy– OMG your 30s will be so much better and your 40s will be better still. 🙂

    • Brown says:

      Wow, I did not expect this many “yes” responses to your question! I am 24 and I am loving my 20s. I know it’s different for everyone, but I don’t think many of my friends find it depressing either. I hate to hear so many people do!! 🙁 MORE ALCOHOL, always the answer! 🙂

      • Amelia says:

        Haha, nothing a shot or two of tequila can’t fix!
        For me, I’d have to say it’s money that’s the major factor that makes for a depressing time. Student loads + living in central London + a crap economy = not a lot of dosh left over at the end of the month.
        But hey ho. In the immortal words of Danny Butterman from Hot Fuzz – “Pub?”

    • Tiffany says:

      I think it is supposed to be amusing but not “funny” in that set-up/punchline format.

    • Amanda says:

      I’ve never actually seen the show, but I’m in my twenties too and the answer is yes.

    • poppy says:

      thank you all for your responses!
      i wish the answers had all been resoundingly NO but i can understand.
      what i found so depressing (i watched only the 1st episode of the first season) was how lena’s character would degrade/demean/disparage herself with that dude that could give two sh¡ts about her. guess it is part of the development of character and story?
      being self centered and unsure of self+future is par for the course. some things will get better, some worse.
      thanks for helping the old lady learn!

  3. Zoid says:

    I can’t get myself to like her after her comments from earlier about how pretty women don’t write, and we all hate her for her cake eating abilities. Meh.

    • bluecalling says:

      no way? really? te he.

      never saw her show but never got the riff about that either. she is talking about her life which is very very white with crazy antics and sex without condoms (apparently). let her tell her story. we don’t have to watch it.

      but i think the problem with her she is that she gets to tell her story (through her connections, network, talent, whatever) while others don’t (lack the connections, network)… and people tell them everyday that no one wants to hear their personal experience… so how come she gets the YES to tell her personal experience?

      • Mamasita says:

        THIS! EXACTLY THIS! Plus, she actually really gets up my nose; her smug face just annoys me.

      • lee says:

        I totally agree that it’s insane and unacceptable that more people (specifically marginalized people) don’t get to tell their stories, but I still think it’s important that we have someone like Lena who is telling her story. Having successful female writers and directors and producers is still shockingly rare and the seemingly wide-spread desire to deride the ones that we have blows my mind sometimes.

        Do I wish we had women of color, queer women, working class women writing their own stories and getting the attention they deserve and others desperately need to see? Of course! But progress is made in baby steps and hopefully the women who have the social advantages that may allow them to get their stuff out there will pave the way for those who don’t.

        Also, I really like Girls. It’s not the greatest show in the world and I don’t rush to watch it every Sunday night, but I keep more or less up to date on it and while it often makes me very uncomfortable (last week’s episode was painful and I actually had to look away several times), I enjoy it anyways.

        It’s funny when it wants to be and I DO know girls like that. It’s a world that doesn’t represent everyone, and doesn’t try to, but I think it does a good job of what it sets out to do. And it definitely hits the nail on the head as far as the narcissism and painful realization of one’s own mediocrity that often hits shortly after university.

        Granted, the characters ARE unlikeable (not all of the time, but very often), so I understand why people dislike the show. I just don’t understand the sheer amount of hatred it seems to generate.

      • Melissa says:

        I’m with you, lee.

        There’s finally a female writer/director/star of a TV show (I know there have been others, but it’s still a rarity), and people just slam on her all of the time. Because she’s young? Because she has connections? Because she’s not writing about poor disenfranchised women but about people she has more experience with?

        White men with connections get to tell most of our stories, and they don’t get the grief that Lena Durham gets.

        I’m 41-years old and watch the show. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes not. I have nothing in common with these characters, and nearly every single sex scene is just absolutely cringeworthy, but I love watching it because it makes me think. I want to know what happens to these characters. The show also makes me feel so much better about my own sex life!

    • anonymous fan says:

      I am sorry but I think you took that the wrong way.What Lena was saying is that she knows she isn’t pretty and she accepts that she is okay with not being pretty and she likes to eat cake and beautiful girls can’t.I hate to defend her but I like to see a regular looking woman make it in a Hollywood sea of tall blonde skinny Goop looking bitches. lol

      • Zoid says:

        I don’t think I did. ‘Pretty girls get written about, they don’t write.’ Along with how she eats cake and every woman in the restaurant watches and is jealous. It wasn’t cute.

    • Nina W says:

      I watched an episode of Girls and didn’t like it. She seems hyper-sensitive to criticism and I recall she made a nasty remark about 50-something women on-line being mean to her and I thought it was really ageist. She’s lucky, she’s doing well but I don’t have to like her just because there aren’t enough women writers in Hollywood.

  4. T.Fanty says:

    I found that interview charming and real. I might start to like her.

    I never had the energy to watch Girls, though – I was just worried that it would be like listening to an hour of the chatter I hear before I start my classes, which is already enough to make my brain bleed.

    • j.eyre says:

      I really liked this interview a lot too – enough to sway me in her favor as well (or at least willing to overlook her absurd interviews around Emmy time.) I don’t watch Girls because I don’t like it – not because I think it’s a bad show, it simply does not appeal to me.

      That said, I would LOVE to wake up having a Victoria Secrets body. I could care less why people talk to me. My adjustment period would take as long as the shopping spree I would go on to find pretty things for my fabulous new @$$. Just one day with their abs – that’s all I want.

      • Nina W says:

        I’m with you on this, maybe it makes me superficial but I would not mind a genie make-over to hot girl status. I think I would enjoy the hell out of it and still read books.

  5. Launicaangelina says:

    I like Girls. I think it speaks to people, especially young women, on a larger scale. I’m Latina but grew up both poor and eventually we moved to the middle class. The confusion and horribly embarrassing things that happens in your twenties happens no matter where you come from or your racial/ethnic background.

    I relate to the stories about the confusion after college and the dating stories. After graduating college, I continued bartending for another year so I relate to what Marnie’s going through regarding the confusion of what’s next. Also, I have some funny and embarrassing dating/hooking up stories too. All of it is relatable to me.

    • nikki says:

      I completely agree, although my life is very different from the ones in girls I can relate to a lot of the feelings, situations and conversations that take place.

    • Tiffany says:

      I completely agree. Well written, Launicaangelina! It is hard to describe why I like this show, but I think you explained it very well.

      • Launicaangelina says:

        Thank you both! I just don’t get all the hate. Yes, it would be great if they would diversify the race/ethnicity of the cast and I hope it happens soon, but the stories are not very off-base about people in their twenties. To further emphasize how different I am from the characters, I live in Texas and the City where all my college/post college experiences took place is around 110,000. Yet, the stories are relatable.

    • Becky1 says:

      I like “Girls” too (at least the first season-I haven’t seen the second season yet). Even though the young women on the show come from different backgrounds than I did it reminds me to some degree of being in my early 20’s and trying to figure things out. I like a lot of the humor on the show-it’s quirky. Plus, it’s nice to see normal looking people on TV.

  6. Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

    She is grating.

  7. Jenna says:

    Eh, I still don’t like her or the show. *shrug*

  8. annabelle says:

    Exactly, the key to enjoying Lena is small doses.

    I like Girls if I am in the mood for that specific genre and voice. It’s nice to have on Demand for lazy day of folding laundry and watching TV.

  9. Daisy says:

    Okay so I don’t know if anyone has watched the second season but what she said about the characters being more than two-dimensional is spot on and that’s why I love it. I think the second season is a lot better and I especially enjoyed this past episode. People have so many parts to them and I think this show really shows that. In other shows a girl is given like a main personality type like the slutty one or the good friend one and then that’s it, that’s their character. But real people aren’t like that. This show shows that people can be a bit mental and super embarrassing, even if they are the pretty one (last episode with Marnie). People can be unexpected and they aren’t a character. I just like that about this show.

    • Tiffany says:

      “In other shows a girl is given like a main personality type like the slutty one or the good friend one and then that’s it, that’s their character. But real people aren’t like that. This show shows that people can be a bit mental and super embarrassing, even if they are the pretty one”

      EXACTLY!! Well said. It does take more than one episode to feel out the characters, but as time goes by you peel back more layers.

  10. anonymous fan says:

    I really like Lena.I love the fact that she found a way to be a success in a town that only wants to cast 5’10 blondes like JLaw in lead roles.And she did it by writing her own show and with her own talent! I have to admit I watched Girls and don’t like it for the same reason I don’t like SATC.But I still like her and her moxy.

    • SallyJay says:

      Yes!! Love her. Love that she has talent, guts, a unique voice and you know what, she did it! Whether you enjoy Girls or not (and I do) you have to give her credit. She deserves the praise she’s getting, IMO.

    • Sofia says:

      “I love the fact that she found a way to be a success in a town that only wants to cast 5’10 blondes like JLaw in lead roles.And she did it by writing her own show and with her own talent!”

      Oh please, she became a success because her mom has famous friends and she got them to pull strings for her special snowflake. Lena is not incredibly talented, just well connected.

      • lee says:

        Ugh, I’m so tired of this argument. What connections? Her parents are artists. Their not the f***ing CEO of the network. Did she have advantages? yes. Her parents could afford to send her to good schools and help fund her early works, etc. But her film was celebrated at independent film festivals for it’s quality, not for her connections. And Apatow liked what he saw, so he supported her efforts and helped get her show the greenlight.

        Why are people do quick to call out ‘nepotism’ when it comes to women like Dunham and Sophia Coppola, but when a man gets his foot in the door because of his connections, the reaction is usually ‘it must run in the family!’. Ron Howard’s parents were in the business, does that make him a lesser director? Should Kiefer give back the SAG awards because his father was Donald Sutherland? Rob Reiner’s father was an Emmy winner, but he’s still a successful writer/producer/etc.

        I’m sorry, I’m not even trying to make this exclusively about sexism either, because there are plenty of women who are given a pass too. But just because you personally dislike someone doesn’t mean they’re a hack who only got where they are because of nepotism.

        And I’ll decide for myself, as an actual viewer of her show, whether of not I think she’s talented, okthanks.

      • KC says:

        Well her mom is friends with Meryl Streep so I would imagine she knows a few people to call that could get her daughter’s script noticed. Just because you had never heard of her parents before doesn’t mean that they don’t know people.

        I thought Lena Dunham was overrated before I knew her parents knew people (I think Judd Appetow decided to mentor her so he could exploit the gimmick of a young writer), so that isn’t my issue with her, but personally I give anyone that got a big boost from their parents less credit, male or female. And I’ve seen plenty of people write off Armie Hammer or Scott Caan because their parents were connected so it isn’t just a female phenomenon.

        You like her, that’s fine. But you need to get used to the idea that people find her overrated, because a lot of people do. And I say that as someone who tried to watch her show, not someone who is just blindly hating her work.

      • lee says:

        I’m well aware and fine with the fact that some people can’t stand her or her show. She is a very divisive person and her characters are unlikeable. But I’m really just absolutely exhausted by having the same (in my opinion, mostly invalid) complaints regurgitated over and over again.

        I’m also actually in agreement that she’s overrated, but the reactions of anger that it seems to inspire honestly worry me.

        I know it’s not exclusively a female thing (I even expressly said that in my previous post), but I feel like people are a lot quicker to jump to that conclusion with women. And I seriously question the assumption that the fact that her mom knows Meryl is what got her a tv show.

  11. A says:

    Who? Is she an american thing?

    • V4Real says:

      Yes she is an American thing but you can have her. Take her please and never send her back.

  12. snappyfish says:

    i watched the first season of girls but really did not like it. i couldn’t put my finger on why, and then it hit me: ALL the characters speak in the same voice. so irritating. that and the upper class white problems they all whine about: i’m 23 years old and my parents are cutting me off…whah! it’s like sex & the city only without the fun shoes and cocktails. as for lena’s assertion that pretty women don’t write? see fey, tina.

    • Tiffany says:

      “upper class white problems they all whine about: i’m 23 years old and my parents are cutting me off…whah!”

      That isn’t just an “upper class white” problem. In this economy, we have more people living off help from their parents than ever before. People aren’t living off mommie and daddy because they are upper class, it is because they are dependent and would be homeless otherwise. Rent can be a scary thing when you are a college grad with only un-paid internships available to you.

      • snappyfish says:

        why couldn’t hannah just keep her crappy internship, get a part time job at blockbuster or whatever and offer to pay her parents rent? lots of real college grads have done that, including me when i was in grad school.

  13. Hyuga says:

    I’ve lost patience with the show. I FF all the Hannah scenes (that OCD stuff was so tedious. Are we supposed to laugh at her or sympathise?) and Shoshannah is really getting on my nerves.
    I genuinely don’t know any 20-somethings who are remotely like any of these two.
    Marnie is more realistic, in a pretty spoilt I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-life way.

  14. RobN says:

    I love it when women with rich daddies start waving the feminist flag. Never been denied a single opportunity in her entire life but all of a sudden she thinks she knows what life is like for the rest of us. She grates, probably because she tries so very hard.

    • *unf* Joan Jett says:

      I just want to pat you on your shoulder and be all: “I know. I know.”

      But remember: “we can’t let that erase someone’s ability to tell a personal story…” Because stories about young, straight, white middle-class women have never been told before. Unlike the masses of personal stories about queer women. Or women of color. Or disabled people. Or [insert minority that is constantly getting erased by popular media].

      • Jazz Fabulous says:

        yes, yes, yes. thank you for stating what I wanted to say, but couldn’t find the right words to write.

    • Jeane says:

      Oh come on… I’ve seen this brought up a lot when it comes to Lena Dunham and it’s such a ridiculous point of criticism. So if you’re white and (upper) middle class you are not allowed to tell your story or talk about your life because you’re just so privileged? Wow, as someone who fits that discription somewhat I do not appreciate being told by some stranger on the internet that I can not possibly have anything interesting to say about my life.

      I agree there are other stories to be told, but are you really putting the burden of that responsibility on her shoulders? You do have to realize that every woman’s succes paves the way for other women to tell their stories, and will hopefully ultimately result in a greater diversity of female voices in mainstream film and television. When such a time comes, you won’t have to bitch about how this one show about this one girl is totally not representative of all the experiences of all the women who ever existed ever.

      As for the feminism part, really?? What magical world do you live in where white privileged women no longer need feminism because they apparently never experience any kind of sexism? I want to go to there.

      • Tiffany says:

        I agree. It is like people are blaming Lena because Showtime, HBO, and the networks don’t air shows with minority leads.

        Lena does not run a network, folks.

      • Rodarte says:

        I don’t think people mean to take out their anger and frustration on her, I just think people are tired and frustrated that nothing is changing.
        I’m not from America but I’m an outsider looking in and I can understand that frustration….America isn’t a white only country, and it is as much African American (and others) country as it is European Americans. And to be ignored and made to be invisible must be so annoying.

        Especially African Americans and Native Americans. I mean geez, they have ancestors who probably have been in America longer than some of your own ancestors unless you’re a descendant from a mayflower. Sometimes I wonder if you never get tired of seeing the same faces on your television, and hearing the same voice and perspective…as much as you like to think Lena is a new voice, really, she isn’t. The privilege, whiny, European American girl is nothing new.
        I speak for many when I say a lot of us are tired of it. Please, give space for others. There are more interesting people I’d like to see and hear. Please

  15. Dani says:

    She’s more insufferable than Anne Hathaway. Nothing worse than a rich girl getting her way in because her parents were able to fund it, then trash talking people who write for a living as ‘weird.’ Girls is to date one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen. Sure it speaks to some but I can’t relate to it at all. She actually makes me uncomfortable.

    • Jazz Fabulous says:

      ^^^^ this, a thousand times over.

    • EmmaStoneWannabe says:

      ‘Uncomfortable’ is a good way to describe this show. There is such awkward tension in almost every scene that you’re left cringing with embarrassment for the characters…for me, I hate the show, but it’s a train wreck I cant stop watching so it has turned into a terrible, unhealthy habit I cant really stop at this point. It is just horrible though…all the nudity, narcissism and overall blahness…ughh

  16. LadyMTL says:

    I still don’t like this entitled hipster queen but I’ll give her points for the Cadbury Creme Eggs thing. I love those and I always get some when I’m at the store.

    Other than that…meh. I find her vaguely annoying, like a mosquito bite in a hard to reach place.

  17. Jazz Fabulous says:

    No, but RACISM is a dirty word for her. Can’t stand this self-pretentious racist twat.

  18. Faye says:

    Of course she is being interviewed in Playboy — what a an empowering, feminist magazine!

    The little I saw of Girls made me feel so much better about my 20’s, which were spent working, studying, volunteering, and taking care of a sick grandparent (which was almost a full-time job by itself), and which previously had made me feel like such a boring person. Is that really what life is like for twenty-somethings these days?

    I just feel like she is so try-hard. I could be wrong, but I think some part of her *wants* to be the bimbo types that Playboy presumably displays, and since her body type doesn’t match that, she “ironically” does things like get naked all the time in her show, give interviews to Playboy, etc.

  19. heatheradair says:

    I have to separate Lena the writer/producer from Lena the actor.

    I like Lena’s brain. She’s exceptionally articulate, she’s able to accept loads of criticism with surprising grace, and she’s been successful in a field where precious few young women are making significant inroads these days.

    But I don’t *like* the show. I don’t *like* most of the characters she’s created, it just doesn’t appeal to me.

    But just because I don’t like the show doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate that she’s accomplished a lot that I admire.

  20. Andrie says:

    “I never chalk up anything to the gender divide and say, “Well, that’s just a male thing.”

    and then

    “I’m a pretty unorthodox girl, but I guess people might be surprised to learn that despite what some of the characters on the show are doing, I remain an eternal romantic with a desire to hear all the things girls like to hear said to them.”

    This is what I dislike so much about her – she’s pretentious and lacks substance. All lip service to these ideas that she doesn’t actually understand.

    I must have had a sad life, because I’ve never believed in “soul mates” or being eternally understood (???) yet I’ve still been happily married for 13 years.

    • Tiffany says:

      Where does she say or even imply that you have to believe in soul mates to have a happy life? I am so confused as to how you feel insulted by her comments.

  21. lisa says:

    i dont get that show. is it a comedy? is it a drama? it looks like an incomplete workshop play at a student union to me.

  22. someChick says:

    She’s a smart girl, but she’s no feminist. Quite the opposite, she tends to divide women in 2 categories:good looking and smart. That is misogynistic. And what she’s saying about not wanting to look like a Victoria’s Secret model…come on! That is BS. The way she dresses and styles herself in such an unflattering way(both in the show and in public appearances)is so carefully planned. In a business were most women spend a lot of money trying to look good, doing the opposite will get you noticed.

  23. Bijlee says:

    The girl is like the feminists of lore. Priveleged, white, upper class, educated, liberal, etc etc. my problem is that I dont think she sees that privelege. She’s VERY lucky to be where she’s at and VERY lucky to have the contacts that she does. For chrissakes beyonce bought one of her mothers paintings, Meryl is good friends with her mom. The girl made a whole feature film after she graduated and had time during school to write all these things. The girl is ambitious no doubt, but she had time, a stress free life, and stability.

    The girl had money for an agent who coincidentally knew (she does come from money!) apatow. And apatow had just come off the bridesmaids high so he was like female driven “comedy” that’s where it’s at.

    Meanwhile, I’m considering responding to a Craigslist ad where some guy will pay $200 dollars to take pictures of my feet. I’ll be able to get my tag renewed (a few months expired), pay for my car insurance, and have a little leftover for the gas in my piece of crap car. It’s been like this my whole damn life.

    So she annoys me and i hate her stupid show because what the hell does she know about struggling in this economy? Living a life where you have no idea what youre gonna do, but you better figure it out because you dnt have the privelege of taking time off to think about it. She grates me with her experiences.

    That being said I like hearing her talk about her show. She does these YouTube segments where she just talks about and explains her show I love her on those. But I can’t stand her in the show, at awards functions, or in interviews. I Iike her talking about her show on YouTube. She’s very engaging, warm, and well spoken in those segments.

    …sorry for the rant, just a lot more money problems these days.

    • TheyPromisedMeBeer says:

      *standing ovation*

      You’ve said beautifully one of the main reasons why I can’t hop on the Lena Train. I can respect that she is breaking through a male-dominated world, but she is never going to know what it’s like to not have opportunities handed to her.

      p.s. If you do respond to that craigslist ad, tell the guy you want $200 per foot, because you’re worth it. 😉

  24. Simmy says:

    My problem with her is what seems like her total blindless of her own privilege. Yes, lots of things are difficult about being a woman, even when you’re rich and white. But she seems unwilling to admit that being rich and white help her out A LOT.

  25. truthful says:


    I have been watching season 2, but I like some epi’s better than others..

    I am not crazy about it but I still watch it occasionally.

    I guess I cannot relate because I was working a full time job w/benefits, tending to my grandmother in hospice and then later transported to my house before she passed.

    I’ve never really had any esteem issues/or confusion in my career or life because I’ve always had to be a serious adult early, after my parents died and never had time to even think about it.

    I partied a lil but being an only child, I had to make things happen because there was no one to fall back on…unless I wanted to leave my town and move in w/an aunt or uncle.

    but its fun to sometimes look at their perspective and/or experiences…LOL

  26. Pandora says:

    I just read the word “annoying” at least 8 times.


    Saying Lena Dunham is annoying is the new “watching porn just makes me laugh”.

    It doesn’t matter if she’s annoying, if you’re watching it, you are being exposed to a new way of SEEING women on screen.

    Anyone who wants to whine about white/Jewish/middle class/hipster/entitled can screw off, no woman on TV today gets the kind of scrutiny she does, and the reason why is because every other woman in TV and film not withstanding a rare few, are so skinny toned highlighted and perky they have become invisible through omnipresence.

    She does full body square on shots wearing a thong, she deserves a fucking award.

    • Jeane says:

      Yes, thank you!

      I just do not get the exessive amount of hate and criticism she is getting. I totally get why people do not like the show or can’t relate to it, but I feel like bashing Lena Dunham and holding her privilege against her has become a new sport. Oh but make sure to mention in your criticism how many HARDSHIPS!! you have endured in your life, don’t you know it’s a contest?

    • Tiffany says:

      “you are being exposed to a new way of SEEING women on screen.”

      I completely agree.

    • Nina W says:

      How about seeing something good instead of just new? I agree some people are too harsh on her but that’s life. I don’t have to find her running around in a thong appealing just because it’s “real”. I certainly don’t dress that way and know very few people who do. I don’t see that she is striking a blow for real women so much as angling to shock and get attention. More power to her but it’s not particularly ground breaking to me.

    • KC says:

      This idea that people deserve awards for narcissistic navel-gazing is exactly what is wrong with the world today.

  27. BravoCueen says:

    I like it. I’m in my 40s and it reminds me of those younger days when it seemed everything was so complicated and we overthought every issue. I think it is funny and very true for a lot of people. I admire Lena’s sense of self and her ability to put her thoughts out there, knowing some people are judgmental and caustic, but also knowing there is a whole generation of people who “get” her and appreciate her work.

  28. Frenchie says:

    Overrated and overexposed! And I’m not just a jealous or envious woman. She’s successful…good for her! But people are just sick of being told how amazing and great she is puhleasseeeee! Another product of the well oiled HBO machine!

  29. Bored suburbanhousewife says:

    If I knew absolutely zero about Lena or the chatter around the show, I would assume it was created and written by a woman hating male. I’ve watched every episode. All the main guys like Adam, Charlie & Ray, are quirky but sweet, sincere and loving. The girls are all self absorbed, whining bitches with messed up lives who routinely f***k over the sweet guys. It seems more misogynist than feminist.

    • lee says:

      I guess I view the characters differently. I mean, Adam very nearly raped a girl last week (it was an admittedly grey area, but seriously crossed major boundaries). Ray is a 33 year old man dating a 19 year old and he’s the one who can’t get his shit together, yet he still talks down to her all the time. And Charlie always struck me as the type from those ‘nice guy’ memes.

      I think all of the characters are fairly well developed and have shown their good and horrifying sides, but since the primary focus is on the girls we get a lot MORE of their crazy.

      I still appreciate your opinion though. I’ll definitely think about it the next time I’m watching an episode.

  30. Velouria says:

    Is feminism even a big deal or “dirty word” any more? This isn’t 40 years ago. Why does she think it’s cutting edge to talk about it? Just shows how lame and sheltered she really is.

  31. Agnes says:

    How is it “conventional wisdom” that men are pieces of shit? She’s being sexist by saying that. And anti-feminist, dumping all women, and all women who are feminists, into “men haters”. Ugh.

  32. Gemini08 says:

    Having watched multiple episodes of her show I seriously question her calling herself a feminist.

  33. HappyJoyJoy says:

    There’s something about her that just rubs me the wrong way. I mean, yeah, it’s kind of cool that she’s super aware of herself but I don’t think her stuff is ground breaking or anything. I stopped watching specifically because the way she wrote the characters; mainly Hannah. I can’t with this girl. I also would be ok if I never saw her naked again.

    • Gemini08 says:

      I agree. I think she has an incredibly over rated sense of the importance of her own writing and I think all of the adoration she has gotten has only perpetuated that. I find the characters on her show obnoxious and self-absorbed and not as bright or clever as thinks they are. I just an incredibly “elitist” vibe from her. And I am a writer myself so I don’t say that flippantly or lightly.

  34. stellalovejoydiver says:

    I liked Lena in this interview, I´m German and have never seen Girls because I only have cable TV, but I think one of the reasons this show can be annoying is the media hype spinning it and Lena as the voice of our generation when it always was a show about white educated girls from a rich family who got cut off living in a big city on the East Coast.

    I can´t hate on her for being privileged and using her connections, I would do the same as do a lot of people in Hollywood, e.g. Jason Reitman:
    Walter Kirn wrote Up in the Air, the book on which the film is based, during a snowbound winter on a ranch in rural Montana, while thinking about airports, airplanes and first-class passengers he had met who would strongly resemble Ryan Bingham.[9] The novel was published in 2001 and, shortly after, Sheldon Turner discovered the book and wrote a screenplay adaptation, which he sold to DreamWorks in 2003.[10]
    Canadian-American filmmaker Jason Reitman later came upon the novel (initially attracted by the Christopher Buckley blurb on the cover) while browsing in the Los Angeles bookstore Book Soup.[11][12] Reitman persuaded his father, Canadian-American filmmaker Ivan Reitman, to purchase the book’s film rights, and the elder Reitman commissioned a screenplay from Ted Griffin and Nicholas Griffin, who used some elements from Turner’s script in their own work.

  35. anneesezz says:

    I tried watching the show because my sister likes it but the only thing realistic is their sh*tty apartments. Lena Dunham is insufferable and her faux outrage at Seth McFarlane’s Oscar song about boobs when she is naked every week on her show was the last straw for me. She is overexposed in every sense of the word. Honestly, I don’t know any college educated women less self-aware than the characters on her show.

    • Gemini08 says:

      Thank you! I thought I was the only who called BS on her outrage about that song. I just think it’s hysterical that she calls herself a feminist while running around naked on her show for no reason and writing such inane, vapid and flat out dumb female characters.

  36. Larissa says:

    Wow, talk about up tight! I mean, I have watched a few episodes and don’t find the characters likable all the time, neither am I, I can relate to a lot of things in my early 20’s and to my friends experiences as well. Are you all married virgin church goers??? That is just not possible.

    • Gemini08 says:

      Not at all. But I am recently just out of my twenties and so are my friends and none us acted like the moronic chicks on that show. Sorry- but if that’s her idea of feminist writing then she needs to go have a sit down with Gloria Steinam and find out what that word really means.

      • garvels says:

        I agree….maybe this show appeals to the girls that grew up on Park Avenue. I grew up on a farm in rural America,studied engineering at a State University and I simply can not relate to these people.I think this show appeals to a very narrow demographic.

  37. Hyuga says:

    None of the guys on this show are sweet. They’re as self-obsessed and unpleasant as the girls.
    This show was marketed as the modern SATC and is supposed to ‘talk to’ women. Quite frankly it does none of that. It’s just a dull sitcom with dramatic pretensions.

  38. meg says:

    after this interview i think i just fell in love with lena dunham

  39. erika says:

    ok.thanks for enlightening me AGAIN lena…before i read this article on celebitchy i was nothing but an illiterate wench….but now, i’m a smart, chubby, arrogant, feminist/GIRLS girl like you!

    enjoy that $1MILL – but you’re still like, all about the writing and living a non comformist hipster life

  40. alex says:

    One of the reasons the femminist movement has stalled is because women cant stop blasting other women. Just look at these comments. Women are pushed down by women and men. Until we support each other there is no chance for true equality. (And no I am not talking about taylor swift/ tina fay thing- that was a harmless joke. However the crap she gets from the media and outside people about the boys she dates and calling her a slut is part of the issue.)

    All women, rich and poor, encounter the same problems. “Entitled women” may make more money than other women. But they still make less than their male counterparts. They still get raped, shamed, harassed and belittled.

    Also, it is unfair to blame Lena and girls for lack of diversity on the show when other shows don’t get the same sustained criticism. More diversity would be great but quit using it as an excuse to bash her and the show. Friends, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, gossip girl, Fraiser etc didn’t get this.

    • pfeiffer87 says:

      I’m so tired of any successful/talented woman getting bashed by other women on sites like these. See Beyonce, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Anne Hathaway, Lena Dunham etc etc. It’s so cliche and frustrating. I don’t think she’s the female messiah or anything but I do enjoy her show. I’m a 22 year old Brit and I can relate to a lot of the subject matter the show covers. Can’t we for once support a woman who is successful in a field where so few women are? By bashing these people and not supporting their work we make it harder for other women to follow in their footsteps.

    • Jeane says:


      I can not think of 1 male celebrity who is vilified and scrutinized the way female celebrities are. Well, except for Chris Brown. It’s crazy that that celebs like Taylor Swift, Anne Hathaway and Lena Dunham receive the same amount of hate and judgement as the guy who beat up his girlfriend.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      You ladies must not spend much time around here. Here are their male counterparts that I would argue are bashed just as much, if not more:

      Anne Hathaway=Ben Affleck
      Lena Dunham=Seth McFarlane

      I could go on and on..hell, Ian Somerhalder was pretty much CRUCIFIED in the post from yesterday because he “looks like a serial killer”. Like the poor dude can help how he looks…
      It’s not some feminist-related issue, it’s simply celeb gossip, an arena where people gather to make fun of the rich and famous, which includes, unfortunately, snarking on their appearance. It transcends gender IMO.

      There are always going to be women that criticize other women for their appearance (that is NOT me by the way) but these women are likely just critical and mean-spirited by nature. When I read harsh comments, I think it just makes the commenter look like an ahole. No need to get outraged over it-they’re digging their own graves.

      As far as Lena, she’s not exempt because she’s a woman nor are women obligated to like or applaud her show simply because we share the same gender.
      Most of the comments above are criticisms of the show, not her appearance. She puts the show out there ya know? Not everyone is gonna love it.

      Also, Sex & The City was VERY harshly criticized. Surprised you don’t remember that? That show was consistently slammed for being “too vapid”, not representing women well, or (the most common one) the fact that it was created by a gay man, many women questioned the authenticity/truthfulness of the writing.

      • garvels says:

        Thank you…I completely agree.

      • Tiffany says:

        So essentially, there is a lot of hate going on here. Agreed.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Oh come on Tiffany! You’re being unfair here-and I say that out of love 😉
        It’s not hate. I don’t “hate” anyone but would the women here take issue with a man criticizing Lena’s show or is it just because we’re women we’re *expected* to automatically greenlight everything that is attached to a vadge? So I should love Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin and applaud their success because we’re all “sisters”? Come on now…

        That’s just a distortion of feminism and nothing beyond that.

      • Tiffany says:

        Woahhhh, Kitten! I never said anything about having to universally praise all women because we are women. IMO, feminism is about equality and would include honest evaluations of pros and cons no matter the gender.

        I think your posts are very thoughtful and well written…but unfortunately not everyone comments as thoughfully as you. Dont you think the comments section here gets a little bit horrific at times? There are catty comments about stars of all stripes on here, but many times the comments go far beyond catty and get vitriolic. I find it gets a lot darker on here than some other sites. Like your Ian example above…should a person really be “crucified” as you said for what they look like? I can see saying that someone doesn’t do it for you, but they went so far beyond that.

        It gets a little Lord of the Flies in here sometimes, that’s all I’m saying.

      • Nina W says:

        The site is Celebitchy, you might read some bitchy comments. And as it’s a free space on the Internet all sorts of people turn up and post whatever and some of it is pretty awful but that’s modern times. Don’t take it personally. I’m really tired of this girls unite BS, I don’t have to like and support all the crap churned out by women. FWIW I don’t like SATC anymore than I like Girls.

      • minime says:

        Kitten: always a pleasure to read your comments. I totally agree with your take on this subject.

        Tiffany: I just love your reference to “lord of the flies” and I guess that sometimes it goes like that, but still I find celebitchy to have a lot more interesting commenters that the usual gossip websites. There are always some trolls but usually you can discuss different ideas in a nice way…

  41. BravoCueen says:

    Wow, Alex. Very good. I couldn’t agree more.

  42. WendyNerd says:

    I’ve never watched “Girls” but I like her a lot. I plan on watching “Girls” this summer (my college doesn’t get HBO). I think she’s able to talk about important issues without getting preachy or taking herself too seriously. I really hope she has a long and successful career because she seems like the type of person who can really make a positive change in Hollywood. I mean, she’s a full on creative, writing, directing, acting, producing, doesn’t look Kate Moss, and is still insanely successful. I think she could end up being a huge groundbreaker. Of course, since I haven’t seen her show, I’m not totally 100% on that.

  43. A says:

    Women are so mean to each other. Whether you like the show or not, can’t you be excited to see a young women succeed? Especially one who isn’t interested in being the typical cookie cutter barbie that “us women” usually complain about? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t… How depressing… 🙁

    • Nina W says:

      I really don’t understand coming onto a site named Celebitchy to make this comment.

  44. amazing! says:

    yes! yes to everybody who commented, i am amazed by how valid (and articulate, love CB for that!) all of your points are, even when in contradiction. that goes to show that diversity is a value and respect is the way to breach any divide.

    to me it also shows that this show, however limited in its portrayal of “a generation” captures just enough to makes us think about us, our sometimes unnoticed privilege (i’m from eastern europe, (class) privilege is not as openly a topic as it is in the US, i’m sensing), about young women in different countries, from different social backgrounds, sexual preferences, body types…

    the fact that this show triggers such arguments is in itself amazing. while i find it irritating and have watched only a few episodes because i feel i want to slap every character (except maybe that shoshanna girl), i appreciate the fact that it’s getting air time and giving this opportunity to talk about women’s issues today.

  45. I Choose Me says:

    Have never seen Girls so can’t comment on the show or whether the criticisms are warranted but I really like what she had to say in this interview.

  46. LittleDeadGirl says:

    I really liked her in this interview and I’m not a big fan of her show. She seemed likeable and down to earth. Maybe she’s growing up or maybe they just painted her in a better light this time or asked the right questions? Who knows. Either way good interview.

  47. Daahling says:

    Writers should stick to writing, models modeling, Kim Kartrashian______, and yeah. Less talking from all of them please!

  48. garvels says:

    I can only take her in very very small doses and I do find her to be very very shallow.

  49. Gigi says:

    She got a show on HBO at age 25. Tell me more about your struggles in Hollywood because you aren’t a classic beauty. Shut up you spoiled brat.

  50. lbeees says:

    I honestly can’t understand how much people apparently dislike her. This exemplifies the spectrum of negative reactions we see when a woman is outspoken, unapologetic, and successful.

    People, STFU or get out of the way. You can dislike her show, but be grateful there are women like her putting themselves on the line and making inroads into the TV/movie industry.

  51. eggnog says:

    She said in the interview that she carries a metal spoon around in her purse.

    Presumably for the purpose of showing how twee and eccentric she is. And for shoveling in cake.

  52. LAK says:

    So this is what I get from reading the comments: politics of envy are truly alive and well.

    Having connections and money will open doors, but talent will keep you there.

    So many people whether they be plumbers or hollywood or business community use their connections to get the interview if not the job. It’s pretty naïve to assume that only the rich use this sort of net-working.

  53. Jay says:

    Okay, fair enough, everyone has the right to tell their personal story. But there are an awful lot of “personal stories” about uber-privileged white folks who are very blind to their privilege and how it makes their lives easier, and not so many personal stories about black women, gay women, trans women or disabled women and their lives.

    Is “Girls” the whole problem? Of course not. But it’s part of a trend where the only personal stories the media cares about are those of privileged people. I’m tired of it being heralded as some groundbreaking paragon of feminist storytelling when it’s really just the same shit with different actors.

  54. Adrien says:

    People hate on Lena the same way they hate on Lana del Rey and the Strokes though I wouldn’t mind seeing Lana or Julian Casablancas naked all the time.
    People hate on the show ‘Girls’ the same way they hate on the movie ‘Reality Bites’. I’m sure I’m not the first one who akin the characters to the girl in the song “Common People” by Pulp.
    I personally love the show. I am bothered by Lena’s incessant disrobing but overall it’s an ok show. They say the show is relatable. I dunno, I have yet to meet someone from NY who talks like Juno. I find ‘Enlightened’ more relatable (and better written). I am more Mike White/Laura Dern awkward than directionless but body confident ladies of Girls. If you have not seen Girls, I say give it a shot.

  55. KC says:

    There is literally not one single original thing about her. She is a walking cliche.

  56. geneva says:

    I am old (52) but I really like the show Girls because – although its not always this way – being in ones early 20s is such a deflating time as much as it is an exciting time. It is sort of the true end of innocence but it is also a reckless, bold, edgy, dumb time. she seems to capture it. I can see it from a distance and Girls has at its basic level nailed that experience of being in ones 20s (from about age 23-25)…things..in my opinion..usually get better after that. But, I think it is a very hard time for young women..that age. that is what the show feels like to me.

  57. skeptical says:

    Yay lenafor showing that selling cringey awkward sex is just as profitable as selling run of the mill sex. Because when you take your clothes off that often how can I think you’re not selling sex (in terms of showing it) being naked so often reinforces the idea that the main thing a woman has to offer is her body. How is that feminist?
    Furthermore it seems to me that you deliberatly dress in unflattering ways. Womens’ clothes do come in all sorts of shapes and sizes yet you find the unflattering.
    I suspect you use the awkward-cringy schtick the same way taylor swift uses the oh-gosh-golly schtick. You *need* to be called ugly because the Hollywood role you’re playing is “akward normal girl” who of course must sell “awkward normal girl sex” so you take your clothes off every week and only appear to be edgy.
    You’re not doing anything new. What’s sad is you don’t seem to know this.
    Yea this girl gets me going. I’m tired of hearing, in so many ways, that offering up nakedness is how I show I’m empowered.