If Lena Dunham gets naked and no one’s there to see it…

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.

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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.

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3 thoughts on “If Lena Dunham gets naked and no one’s there to see it…

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more here. I don’t even know that much about her, but the micro second I have been exposed to her makes me feel like a grumpy old man, and I am only 40. Kids these days eh? Something in my gut is repulsed by her and I can’t vocalize it, but you did a great job at it.

  2. As a reader who exists and regularly enjoys the points made on this blog, I will also have to agree with the assessment that Dunham is a pathological exhibitionist. She is surely a pathological something. I have made the mistake of viewing this program…never have I seen something that so stretched the parameters of what’s considered subversive in order to satisfy the ego of the creator of the show. It’s hipster trash, the butt-end of post modernist tv-hell. I decided to curb my masochistic tendencies and not torture myself any longer by watching it. I think your true point is that the show isn’t actually subversive, the POV isn’t from a fresh, female-centered perspective, it’s just major network mandated dreck and a vanity project for it’s privileged creator.

  3. I’m so grateful for this blog. I was a women’s studies major in college. I am, and have always been, a feminist. I’m also bi-sexual, though I generally prefer women, and have dated, and of course slept with, women of all different ethnicities and many different body types. Also, I was chronically bulimic in high school, but I wasn’t cured by a therapist, I was cured by strippers. Seriously. The first time I really sat in a strip club and watched, I noticed all these different kinds of girls – from size 0 to 14 – dancing provocatively and smiling and the audience seemed equally attracted to the both the petite and the curvy girls! What’s more I was wowed by the confidence of those women! I decided I wanted to do it – I wanted to feel what they were feeling, wanted to feel comfortable in nothing but my own skin, despite my personnel imperfections. So I did. Getting up on that stage and taking my clothes off and feeling beautiful naked for the first time in my life saved my life in a very real way. So that’s where I’m coming from. I do believe that there should be more variety body- type wise when it comes to nudity on tv. I’d love for girls to grow up feeling comfortable in their own skin, instead of wishing they were stick thin like I did when I grew up during the 90’s heroin chic phase. If all the girls on Girls got naked during times when one would get naked in real life that would be great! If, like most 20-something’s they seemed to care about their appearance in a healthy way and usually tried to find cute undergarments or clothing, lingerie, swimsuits, etc. that flattered their body-types, whatever that type may be, that’d be even better, and more realistic as well. Celebrate those curves! That , however, isn’t what happens on Girls. Most of the nude scenes seem to be Lena, who’s often naked when it doesn’t seem important for a story or scene, or occasionally, even really rational. What’s more, I often get the sense that she’s TRYING to look unattractive. Look at my granny panties! Look at me posing at the worst angle possible! Look at me looking like I lack basic personal hygiene and don’t take any pride whatsoever in my appearance! And the worst part of all of it for me is simply this : if you or anyone else is ever uncomfortable, or perplexed, or wants to know why she doesn’t just have Hannah brush her hair and throw on some lipstick and a cute pair of lacy boyshorts, then you’re somehow a bad feminist, have huge body issues, or are even a misogynist. Forcing people to look at your naked body episode after episode when it’s unnecessary and when it often seems as if you don’t take loving care of it isn’t “brave” or “feminist” though. It’s just strange, sad, boring, and frankly, kind of gross both physically and, more important, emotionally.

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