My Two Cents on Lena Dunham

My Two Cents on Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham’s Vogue cover has everyone talking. She’s the second non-skinny Minnie to have ever graced the periodical bastion of uber thin young women who worship at the altar of fashion.
Oprah was the only other non-stick-figure who I can recall being allowed to pose, though legend has it that Anna Wintour (a Mastic Beach resident–not in the Hamptons but fairly close) even admonished the great and powerful O to lose 20 pounds before appearing on the cover back in 1998.
Anyway, last January I devoted one of my columns to my musings on Lena. It’s not like I had particularly unique or prescient thoughts but I’m glad that they seem to be validated. Here they are:

By Dawn Watson Jan 15, 2013 9:29 AM

There were many great moments during the Golden Globes on Sunday night but it was a first-time nominee who made the biggest impact on the cultural zeitgeist, in my opinion.

Lena Dunham, the 26-year-old wunderkind creator of the HBO series “Girls” is a lighting rod for controversy.

She’s an envelope pusher and a boundary crosser. She’s whip-smart and not afraid to let us know it. She’s also, via her character, Hannah Horvath, navel-gazing, self-involved in the extreme and a complete mess.

Ms. Dunham’s show, which is about 20-somethings trying to make it in the city, is both riveting and repugnant. It makes the older viewer (at least this one) grateful to be past that gritty, awful and yet still wonderful time when having $20 in the bank account and days fraught with uncertainty is a fact of life.

And then there’s the nudity.

If she was a conventional beauty, a Hollywood bad boy or a reality show bimbo, Ms. Dunham would be lauded for showing off her body. Most would be screaming for more. But since she just happens to be a fairly plain and chubby girl with small breasts, a belly pooch and oversize thighs, she’s become on object of derision for many and a firebrand for others.

Not long ago, Howard Stern called her “a little fat girl who kind of looks like Jonah Hill.” On Monday, after Ms. Dunham won Golden Globes for herself and for her series, Mr. Stern apologized and called himself a “superfan.”

In her defense, Ms. Dunham has said that she is proud of who she is, saying she wants her headstone to read “She was a little fat chick and she got it going.” Of her thighs, she’s said, “Get used to it because I am going to live to be 100, and I am going to show my thighs every day till I die.”

Either this girl is a narcissist and exhibitionist in the extreme or she’s making a very important point. I’m not sure if it’s one, the other, or both.

On one hand, I’m repelled by her seemingly endless choices to walk around naked as a jaybird on her show and in real life. On the other, I applaud this girl for her guts. She’s on to something and she knows it.

In the series pilot this past year, Ms. Dunham’s character called herself the voice of a generation. As cringe-worthy as the moment was on screen, it’s becoming more and more true for the real-life young woman who wrote that line. I’m interested to see what she tackles next.

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