Friday, March 22, 2013

The Defiant One

All this to do about Lena Dunham taking her clothes off too often! The media attention it has generated not to mention the snide commentary. Why does she do it? More importantly for some, why won't she stop doing it?

For those living in a monastery with no TV or Internet, Lena Dunham is the creator, writer and sometime director of the hit HBO series Girls. It has just concluded its second season and has elicited a great deal of praise, derision and media scrutiny. 

Dunham, as the character Hannah, has been accused of liking to take off her clothes on camera a little too much. Generally, I find, men like when women take off their clothes. Not so much with Lena it seems. 

Let me hazard a guess. Could it be because Lena is not thin, not conventionally attractive nor fit? Could it be, as one TV critic noted that a body type like Dunham's would be a more suitable fit on a show like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (oh, the howls of disbelief when Hannah bedded the dishy Patrick Wilson in one episode) than on a show about a quartet of girls looking for love and sex in the big city?

I think it could be that. So why why why does Dunham keep doing this? I think I know Dunham's secret ... I think she does it because it annoys you. Because it makes you uncomfortable, seeing a not so thin girl bear it all, unselfconsciously, without apology. Because let's face it ... it's not pretty by today's beauty standards. Not ... at ... all. 

Few and far between are the sensitively written critiques by men that admit their discomfort such as Dustin Rowles' article that you may read here.

And I get it. I understand her defiance - I perceive it as defiance - because in many instances Dunham controls the script and the direction of the episodes. She makes virtually no attempt to shoot herself from flattering angles or look pretty in all the episodes. 

I'm sure, as all young women do, she cares what people think of her to a certain extent but not enough to cloak her reality. She is not particularly pretty, not skinny, often awkward, badly dressed, slovenly, annoyingly neurotic and ... she doesn't care what you think. What she is: funny and brave and intelligent.

I wrote this post before I read the quote below but it all made sense to me ... Dunham was asked why she was nude so often in the series. “Not ‘Fuck you,’ but a way of saying, with these bodies, you know: Don’t silence them. I say I’m not a political person, but it’s a political statement in a way. I know it’s going to gross some people out. There’s people who don’t want to see bodies like mine or bodies like their own bodies.” Amen girl amen.

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