We’ve been taking a lot of flak in our invisible comments from imaginary readers who think we want Lena Dunham to put her clothes on because she is flabby and pear-shaped, and not tanned and toned and perfect like everyone else in Hollywood. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
We are big fans of women with realistic, womanly bodies — women who have curves, flab, wrinkles, donkey booties — baring it all on screen, embracing their distinctive characteristics, and looking different and often beautiful and memorable. Emmanuelle Riva courageously and poignantly displayed her beautiful 85-year-old figure in Amour. Rebel Wilson lived up to her name as a mermaid-of-size in a revelatory New York Times video. And Kathy Bates may have reached the pinnacle of her badassery when she boldly bore her middle-aged melons in About Schmidt.
But celebrating the diversity of female forms is not what Lena Dunham is doing. She is, to quote Linda Stasi, a pathological exhibitionist. It’s her chutzpah she wants to impress us with, not her body. And so, instead of trying to accentuate whatever physical beauty she may have, she goes out of her way to make herself look more unappealing than she probably really is.
In fact, she revels in repulsing us with her nakedness. It’s a gimmick, a ploy for even more attention, rooted in a hipster desire to embrace what no one else does for effect. The over-the-top, unrealistic, degrading sex scenes she did in Season 1 only deepened our disgust. Creating a foil character for yourself who is cartoonishly unlikeable and then debasing her in every conceivable way — all while showing your tits! — is pointless and self-congratulatory, and we see no bravery in this crass self-promotion.
Lena Dunham getting naked for attention is not empowering to women, and it does nothing to counter the grossly unrealistic ideal to which too many women hold themselves. If anything, it does the opposite. We want to eat nothing but celery and raw almonds for the next month after looking at that picture for too long.
Feel free, non-existent readers, to disagree with us in comments.